Hush By Kate Maxwell – A Review

Publisher: Virago Press

Publication Date: 12th May 2022

I feel like a bit of stuck record, but if there is book that deals with the subject of a struggling mother I will be there in a flash with bells on!

When I read the synopsis for Hush by Kate Maxwell I knew it would be a book for me and let me tell you, it very much was!

We meet Stevie who is quite a driven, successful and hard working woman who has moved back from New York where she went to help set up a new business. She’s back home in London having made the decision to embark on having a baby on her own terms via artificial insemination using a sperm donor.

The book opens at the point that Stevie has not long since had her new baby son, Ash. She is deep in throws of post natal depression and is struggling to bond with her baby despite wanting him in her life so desperately.

Stevie has two older sisters, Rebecca at home in London and Jess working in New York. Both sisters look out for her in their own ways, however she finds it difficult to open up to them about how she’s feeling. We travel back and forth in time from watching Stevie building her career and relationships in New York, her success in her role and her attachment to her sister, to her current life with the baby.

In the present day Stevie struggles with not having a tight and controlled hold on her life, and she feels lost and wonders where she now fits and what her purpose is other than to keep this small human alive. She makes some questionable choices whilst in the exhausting fugue of sleep deprivation.

We also find out details of Steve’s family dynamic, not only her two much older sisters but her detached and unemotional father and her coddling mother. I really enjoyed the exploration of family and the various strains and tensions.

I suppose for me, (the woman who loves to read about a struggling mother!) the chapters in the present day dealing with Stevies day to day inertia surrounding her new baby were the most pertinent to me. This is a woman who was so adamant that she wanted to forge ahead with her plan to have a baby under her own rules and raise it alone, only to find that it’s not as easy as that!

The writing is fresh and the scene setting in New York is vibrant and bustling. There’s a clean contemporary sharpness which I loved. The two timelines really compliment each other and I enjoyed the building of an important backstory which inevitably shapes the story in the present day.

If you want to read about motherhood, family, ambition, identity and love then this book really is for you.

I can’t recommend it enough.

Thank you to Kate Maxwell and Virago Press for my review copy.

See you all soon.

Amanda xx @bookishchat

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