The Perfect Mother

The first novel from nonfiction author Aimee Molloy (However Long the Night) unravels the secrets of an outwardly normal mommy group when disaster strikes.
They call themselves the May Mothers, a Brooklyn, N.Y., meetup group who delivered babies in the same month and still get together for adult conversation: Winnie, the gorgeous single mom; Francie, the Southern goody-two-shoes; cool British mum Nell; pretty and poised Colette; and "Token," the stay-at-home dad whose real name no one remembers. When the stress of adjusting to life as parents weighs them down, the May Mothers decide to leave the babies home and have a proper evening out. Worried about her lack of a support system, they insist Winnie join them, even helping her hire a sitter.
Their fun takes a terrible turn when someone kidnaps Winnie's son, Midas, from his crib. Blame flies in all directions as the media runs exposés, law enforcement bungles the investigation and the strain of the tragedy pushes the Mothers to confront their own secrets and woes. As they each work in their own separate ways to reconstruct the night of the kidnapping, the women also struggle with their post-baby careers, marriages and identities. Whether Midas returns or not, all of their lives will change forever.
Molloy explores the isolation and tension of first-time parenting, using the frenzy surrounding the kidnapping to examine expectations of motherhood. Some of the Mothers' investigative breakthroughs stretch credibility, but the nuanced portrayal of the pressure that falls on child-rearing women rings true. --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth services manager, main branch, Dayton Metro Library
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