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Sometimes motherhood is not like you expect it to be, your head full of expectations and dreams. The Push by Ashley Audrain explores generational dysfunction and the fears of new mother Blythe Connor.

Blythe comes from a family of women suffering from both mental health issues and trauma. She never knew the warmth of a mother’s love, only from her neighbour, Mrs Ellington. The story centres around Blythe, her childhood, meeting Fox and marrying him, and falling pregnant with their first child Violet. 

Throughout the book, we have flashbacks to Blythe’s grandmother Etta and Blythe’s mother, Cecilia, and their dark childhoods. While reading these flashbacks we can understand why Blythe is fearful of being a mother. The women in her family are different, not maternal. Not mother material.

When Violet is born Blythe waits for that connection, that maternal instinct to kick in but instead, she feels unease. Her husband is smitten, and in his eyes his daughter is perfect. With the pressure of a new baby, their marriage changes over the first year and Blythe feels hollow and exhausted. Violet is always unsettled with her and she feels that something is not right with her daughter. 

Incidents happen over the years as Violet grows and Blythe starts to question if it is all in her head. Or, is her child capable of these deeds? Her concerns fall on her husband’s deaf ears.

When her second child Sam is born, the bond and the connection she dreamt of is there and she finally finds contentment as a mother.  While her love blossoms with Baby Sam she still struggles with Violet. Can she trust her around Sam?

This is a dark novel in places and very confronting, so some readers may find it triggering.  I found the storyline flowed well and it was easy to read it in a day, but it did have you feeling so many emotions throughout. 

I have tried to not give too much away but I recommend this page-turner. They are already saying it will be a book to watch in 2021 and I am sure most that read it will agree.

Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read and review this book.

ISBN: 9780241434567 / Publisher Penguin

9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Push

  1. There are those of us that are born to be Mothers and there are those that become Mothers simply because its what they feel is expected of them. Even with the best of intensions the loving, caring Mother inside them just wont appear. The struggle to bond with their new baby is on going. Sometimes you follow the example of your own Mother and sometimes you try so hard not to be like your mother and to be more loving towards your child but what happens if you feel that this child is smarter then anyone understands and they simply have it in for you. No matter how many times you try to explain to your husband that this kid is evil he just wont beleive you and he feels its all in your head and you are the one that needs help. This is where Blythe is with her daughter Violet. Everything that is wrong in Blythe’s life she blames on Violet.

    This book is seriously awesome. Its one of those books that once you start you just wont be able to put it down. Ashley Audrain will grab you and drag you into her book and even after you have finished the last page she wont let go. You will find that your head is spinning.
    This is the must read book for 2021.

  2. Wow ! The Push by Ashley Audrain, and published by Penguin is an incredibly intense and emotional read with an enthralling story! It is very addictive and very well written.

    Be prepared when you read it, however, as it challenges all those cutesy, romanticised versions of motherhood and angelic children that we normally see. Instead The Push gives a very real, unsanitised look at the harsh side of motherhood – when that bond between mother and baby doesn’t come so easily, when there is little enjoyment, when things just don’t seem right…

    In this case, the main character of the story Blyth is even more severely challenged than many, having had little positive maternal influence throughout her life, and a family history of emotional instability. So from the start Blyth finds mothering her first child Violet, very hard.

    In recounting Blyth’s struggles, this book considers all the unrealistic expectations put on mothers – pressures not just from partners, relatives and friends but also by mothers on themselves.

    The Push paints a very raw picture indeed, even to the point of showing how motherhood can undermine your own judgement and identity. Exhausted snd overwhelmed Blyth wonders if maybe she is just not a good mother. I’m sure most mothers have questioned their own abilities at some point…and this book really does hone in on that insecurity.

    This is an excellent book and an incredible debut for a talented writer.

  3. Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Penguin Books for this ARC to read and review.
    The Push by Ashley Audrain.
    Mother hood can be challenging but for Blythe and her mother and grandmother, nothing came naturally for them with their children. It was a struggle to connect with their offspring.
    It was especially hard when Blythe had her first child, Violet, as she always felt there was something wrong with her daughter but nobody believed Blythe. She tried so had to be the mother her ancestors were not. Once her son was born, Sam, she actually felt like she was a mother. The connection was real between mother and son.
    The book changed between the three women in the family and at times I got confused as to who was who but it didn’t take long to pick up what was going on.

    I really enjoyed this book. After finishing it I couldn’t stop thinking about how it played out. It really left an impact on me. For a debut novel I am really impressed and look forward to more in the future from this author. Five stars from me!

  4. Such a thought provoking book! At first I was worried it would be too depressing, but it was more reflective then depressing, and I would encourage people to read it!

    Motherhood is complex, and ever-changing and this novel provides an excellent and entertaining commentary on motherhood!

  5. Thankyou to Beauty and Lace and Penguin Randon House for the opportunity to read The Push by Ashley Audrain.

    Once you start reading this brilliant psychological thriller, you will not be able to put this book down!

    We meet Blythe and her husband Fox.They have a daughter Violet. Blythe is determined to be a better mother to Violet than her own mother was to her.Motherhood isn’t turning out the way she expected, nor is it easy.

    The story is told from Blythe’s perspective. The author cleverly portrays how difficult motherhood was for Blythe’s Grandmother and Mother.We see their troubled childhoods and marriages. Unfortunately help was not available back then for these mothers, events took place behind closed doors and were not talked about. It makes you question….is mothering a learnt behaviour…or is it in us?

    Blythe believes something is wrong with Violet’s behaviour.Her husband says she is imagining it.Then their son Sam is born and Blythe finds motherhood easy with him, they have a wonderful connection.Their family is perfect.

    The Push…..Blythe is sure she saw what happened…or did she imagine it?

    As the back of the book says…something feels very wrong. Is it her? Or is it me?Is she the monster? Or am I?
    To find out the answer, you will need to read till the very last page of this brilliant book !

  6. “The Push” is intriguing from its’ first words, and it also defies attempts to slot it into a genre. I loved this; it’s one of the best novels I’ve read in some time.

    I found myself utterly absorbed, even as the back of my mind wondered: is this a novel with an unreliable narrator? Is it a story of a mother with post partum depression, unable to love her child? Perhaps a thriller about a psychotic child? Or maybe an inter-generational story of abuse?

    It’s a little of all of these, perhaps, and it wasn’t till I finished that I was able to place it in a genre; even then I think you could easily argue it into any other. I settled on “domestic thriller”, but this has depths and angles that reflect other genres.

    Blythe was a little hesitant to have a child – the mothers in her family are, well, not good at mothering. But she’s madly in love with her husband Fox, and it doesn’t take him much effort to convince her to become pregnant.

    Blythe soon concludes that Violet is not the perfect child she dreamed of. Violet is cold, distant – and dangerous. But Fox believes it’s Blythe who’s at fault, not filling his version of how a mother should behave, not confident of her own skills, not seeing Violet as he does.

    We follow Blythe’s journey from falling in love with Fox through to Violet’s teenage years. Her story is interspersed with flashbacks to her grandmother and mother, and a picture of substantial intergenerational problems emerge.

    We’re left with the fascinating question: who sees Violet most clearly? Her mother or father? Blythe doubts herself, and we doubt her, even as we disapprove of Fox’s lack of support for his wife.

    This is an extraordinarily well written novel. We spend much of it in Blythe’s head, and the ambiguity surrounding Violet is cleverly written, so that it doesn’t feel manipulative, but a genuine reflection of Blythe’s feelings and thoughts.

    Blythe is also a very sympathetic character, although if I described to you all of her actions in the novel, you probably wouldn’t think so. Yet being in her head, and knowing her feelings and what motivates her, triggers a lot of understanding and sympathy.

    I loved this novel for the cleverly written plot, the emotional impact, and the strong characterisation. It is hard to classify it, and readers of a number of different genres should all enjoy it. I strongly recommend it.

  7. I really enjoyed this book and could not put it down!

    There’s not much I can say without giving too much away but I will say that since reading The Push I haven’t been able to start another book as this one is still on my mind.

    Thank you to Beauty & Lace and Penguin Random House for the oppurtunity to read this fantastic book, I will be on the look out for more books by Ashley!

    5 stars, a must read!

  8. Wow – what a thought provoking and interesting read about Motherhood. Being a Mother is meant to be the most rewarding and happy experience of your life. But for some, motherhood doesn’t come naturally.
    Blythe Connor gives birth to Violet and is determined to warm to her daughter unlike her Mother did to her. But as she trudges through motherhood, exhausted and holding onto childhood emotions, she wonders is there something wrong with her or her daughter?
    Then Sam is born, their son and Blythe develops a warm and wonderful connection with him – even Violet seems to love her little brother. Their life is then turned upside-down and they must navigate through a new set of challenges.
    There are flashbacks to Blythe’s mother and grandmother throughout the book and the way they interacted with their daughters.
    I struggled occasionally with the tense/narration of the book but otherwise it was an ‘enjoyable’ read. It’s difficult to say I enjoyed such a dark book – but readers will know what I mean
    This book is a page-turning psychological drama which takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions. It looks at Motherhood in a very different light, sadly not too far from the truth for some Mothers. I gave my kids an extra cuddle when finishing this. Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  9. The Push bought up a few issues for me as someone who lived with secondary infertility and wanted another child do badly. Once I got over this and just read the book for what it is, things were a lot easier
    I think sadly that sometimes motherd do find mothering difficult: more so I should imagine if they themselves were never mothered in a loving manner
    This story reminded me of a conversation I had once from a woman from The Stolen Generation about the challenges she has as she never knew what it was to be mothered
    This debut novel from Ashley Audrain tells the story of three generations of mothers focusing on the effects they have when it comes time for the main character Blythe to become a mother
    Yes it tackles some difficult and “not talked about at Mother’s Group” issues: yes it is dark at times and I had to read it in short bursts. For all of this though I enjoyed it and found it a very powerful read. The ending (and no don’t peek as it must be read in context) blew my mind for days after.
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace Magazine and Penguin Random Press for the opportunity to discover this talented author

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