Mother Island, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


This is the story of two women, Nula and Maggie, joined by old family history and love for the same little boy.

Nula, struggling with her new baby and feeling alone in her marriage, employs her cousin Maggie as a nanny when she returns to work.

But it's not long before Nula finds herself threatened by Maggie's close bond with her son, Samuel.

Nula's outwardly perfect house crackles with unspoken jealousies and rivalry until Maggie's intense love for Samuel tips into obsession and she decides her only option is to abduct the child.

As Maggie makes her desperate bid for safety, the women's shared past of trauma and loss comes to the fore once more.

Winner of The Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize 2015.




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Having read The Pools and My Policeman and enjoyed them, I was keen to read this latest book by Bethan Roberts. Mother Island tells the story of Nula and Maggie, and Nula's 2 year old son, Samuel. Nula and Maggie are cousins. Nula is a career woman and hires Maggie, who she hasn't seen for many years, to look after Samuel as his nanny. But the past together with Maggie's strong feelings about Samuel lead to her abducting him (this isn't a spoiler as it's in the blurb).The front cover contains a quote saying that the book is creepy but I definitely don't think it was that. There's nothing sinister about it, just a woman who can't let her past go. I would have liked a bit more information about Nula and a bit more from her side of things, but this is ultimately Maggie's story, both of the summer that she remembers as causing problems in her past, and also in the present, as she becomes more obsessed with Samuel. Bethan Roberts' writing is understated and quite intense at times. None of her books have managed to beat The Pools for me yet, but I do like her style.

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