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9 Reviews
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling read, 6 Mar. 2008
By 
kehs (Hertfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Mothernight (Paperback)
This is an intense but compelling read. Seventeen-year-old Leila Hartley attends a boarding school and hasn't been home to her family for years. Leila begins a very close relationship with another girl, Olivia, and takes her to visit her family after her father invites her to stay with them for the summer. However, Olivia soon realises that Leila has a deep, dark secret that has driven a wedge between her and her stepmother, and that is why she was sent away from the family home to attend boarding school. The shocking truth about what happened 9 years ago on Winter Solstice is about to be revealed and the lead up to it is breathtaking.

I could not put this book down and was gripped from the beginning to end. A fantastic first novel by Stovell and I look forward to reading more by her.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story that sucks you in, 21 April 2008
By 
Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mothernight (Paperback)
I got to a point where I really wanted to stop reading, but somehow I felt compelled to return and finish it. There are several narrators and I was left with the feeling I almost couldn't trust any of them. Leila forms intense friendships with Rosie and Olivia at different times in her life. Leila's father remarries after the tragic death of her mother and Leila finds it difficult to come to terms with her stepmother, Katherine. The tragedy which leads to Leila being sent away to school and not allowed home for holidays, dominates the whole of the book and the lives of everyone in it. The writing is taut and atmospheric, giving a very clear idea of the claustrophobic nature of all the relationships. A haunting story which stayed in my mind long after I'd finished reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He loves me, She loves me not ..., 9 Jun. 2008
By 
Annabel Gaskell "gaskella2" (Nr Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mothernight (Paperback)
A tragic tale of grief and jealousy, rage, resentment, manipulation and raw emotions.
Leila lost her Mum when she was five. She's now 17 and has been living at boarding school, and is now returning to the home she left nine years ago and to a new set of half-siblings and a stepmother who doesn't want her there. Leila's best friend Olivia comes with her and gradually finds out why Leila was banished when baby Alfie died.
Compelling writing draws you in, and you really need to find out what happened and why the old and new families can't survive together.
I would have given 5 stars but for a slightly predictable ending; but for a first novel, its strengths are many and I look forward to more gripping stories from the author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable, 5 Mar. 2008
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This review is from: Mothernight (Paperback)
It's been a long time since I've read a novel that grips me so much I can't put it down. Mothernight grabbed me right from the opening line and didn't let go until I finished reading the last page. The 'Did Leila do it?' mystery drives this novel but it's about much more than that. It's about relationships: between two young women who meet at boarding school and start a lesbian relationship, a daughter and her parents, and a couple bound by shared grief. It's about how the past governs what we do, what we say (and don't say) and what we become. And how that past refuses to stay buried, no matter how much we want it to.

Often claustrophic and occasionally disturbing this is a novel that will stay with you long after you've read it. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery thriller - love story, 31 Mar. 2009
This review is from: Mothernight (Paperback)
I read this book when I was on holiday last year, and finished it almost in one go. Stovell's book is both a mystery thriller and a love story. Told from a number of different perspectives, she creates an intricate narrative that really hooks you - to find out both what happens, and what happenned. Perfectly written, and the emotions of all the characters are delicately handled - a very moving story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully told story of family tragedy piled on family tragedy, 27 Dec. 2009
By 
Mr. D. Hazel "davidhazel" (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mothernight (Paperback)
This is a very beautifully crafted novel which touches on a number of difficult subjects - the death of a mother, a father who often seems to palm off his daughter's emotional/psychological problems onto others to deal with, the death of a new-born baby, and lesbian love. The subject matter is dealt with sensitively, yet without becoming overly sentimental or judgemental about any of it.

The narrative is mostly told from the first person, alternating between Leila and her friend Olivia. There are some other passages which are told from the third person, and these all concern Katherine, Leila's stepmother. This switching of viewpoints could easily become confusing for the reader, yet Sarah Stovell handles it well, and I believe manages to pull it off successfully with little confusion, by keeping each chapter's viewpoint constant and heading the chapters with the name of the person from whose viewpoint it is told. The third person narratives are especially effective in making Katherine seem a more distant and less fathomable person than either Leila or Olivia.

This is a story which deserves a wide readership, and I hope that its ranking improves accordingly.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Crazy stepmother or evil step daughter?, 28 Aug. 2009
By 
LucyW (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mothernight (Paperback)
After the death of her younger step-brother, Leila is sent to boarding school. Leila's stepmother believes that she had something to do with little Alfie's death, but is the stepmother just crazy and unable to get over her loss or is there any truth in her beliefs?

Leila, who might also have been grieving the loss of her step-brother, finds herself isolated at school, with no support from anyone except her best school friend Charlotte. Leila doesn't usually go home for the school holidays because of her step-mother's hostility towards her. However, the truth eventually comes out when one year Leila takes her best friend from school home for their summer holidays.

This was a very enjoyable read, although perhaps an obvious debut novel, resulting in a very good rather than excellent rating.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed, 9 April 2013
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This review is from: Mothernight (Paperback)
From Start to finish I enjoyed this book, it was something I had wanted to read for a while, this book distracted me enough to complete in an evening, highly recommend it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgetable, 1 Mar. 2008
By 
This review is from: Mothernight (Paperback)
Wonderful novel, really leaves a remarkable impression. Tackles a sensitive topic delicately yet perfectly.

Absolutely recommended.
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Mothernight
Mothernight by Sarah Stovell (Paperback - 3 Mar. 2008)
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