Review: The Mother by Yvvette Edwards

Title: The Mother by Yvvette Edwards
Publisher: Amistad
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 256 pages
Book Rating: A

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


The author of the critically acclaimed A Cupboard Full of Coats makes her hardcover debut with a provocative and timely novel about an emotionally devastated mother’s struggle to understand her teenage son’s death, and her search for meaning and hope in the wake of incomprehensible loss.

The unimaginable has happened to Marcia Williams. Her bright and beautiful sixteen-year-old son, Ryan, has been brutally murdered. Consumed by grief and rage, she must bridle her dark feelings and endure something no mother should ever have to experience: she must go to court for the trial of the killer—another teenage boy—accused of taking her son’s life.

How could her son be dead? Ryan should have been safe—he wasn’t the kind of boy to find himself on the wrong end of a knife carried by a dangerous young man like Tyson Manley. But as the trial proceeds, Marcia finds her beliefs and assumptions challenged as she learns more about Ryan’s death and Tyson’s life, including his dysfunctional family. She also discovers troubling truths about her own. As the strain of Ryan’s death tests their marriage, Lloydie, her husband, pulls farther away, hiding behind a wall of secrets that masks his grief, while Marcia draws closer to her sister, who is becoming her prime confidant.

One person seems to hold the answers—and the hope—Marcia needs: Tyson’s scared young girlfriend, Sweetie. But as this anguished mother has learned, nothing in life is certain. Not anymore.

A beautiful, engrossing novel that illuminates some of the most important and troubling issues of our time, The Motheris a moving portrait of love, tragedy, and survival—and the aftershocks from a momentary act of cruel violence that transforms the lives of everyone it touches.


Deeply moving, The Mother by Yvvette Edwards is an emotionally compelling novel of healing.

Seven months following her sixteen year old son Ryan’s murder, Marcia Williams remains grief stricken and desperately trying understand why his accused killer Tyson Manley took Ryan’s life.  With the murder trial now underway, Marcia attends the proceedings hoping to get answers to the questions that haunt her.  As evidence is presented to the court, she is surprised by her sometimes compassionate response as she learns about Tyson’s dysfunctional home life. Marcia is also forced to admit that she might have misjudged Sweetie Nelson, the young woman whom Ryan was involved with in the weeks preceeding his death. With her marriage crumbling under the weight of anger and unresolved grief, Marcia cannot help but lash out at her husband Lloydie as he continues to withdraw from her as he struggles to cope with his loss on his own.

It is impossible not feel sympathy for Marcia as she tries to make sense of a senseless act of violence.  Her hopelessness, her desperate need for answers and her desire to assign blame are palpable as she goes through her day to day life, locked in mourning.  Despite her understanding that LLoydie is doing the best he can, Marcia cannot help but feel angry and resentful over his desertion just when she needs his support the most.  While completely aware how deeply she is hurting him by her furious outbursts, Marcia is unable to keep her feelings to herself as the strain of the trial weighs heavily on her.  Trying, yet failing, to bridge the ever widening gap between them, Marcia despairs her marriage will survive the unbearable loss of their son.

Lloydie is a quiet man who shows his love through his actions and he withdraws not only from Marcia, but life in general, after Ryan’s murder.  While he cannot give his wife the emotional support she craves, he quietly goes about taking care of her the only way he knows how.  In the face of her unrelenting anger, Lloydie pulls deeper into himself and begins changing his routine in order to avoid her.  Unable to accept the tentative olive branch she extends to him, their marriage continues to deteriorate and it is soon teetering on the brink of collapse.

The one person who could possibly provide some answers to Marcia’s questions is the one person she avoids at all costs: Sweetie.  Marcia made no effort to hide her disapproval of the young woman who captured Ryan’s heart and she blames Sweetie for indirectly putting him in the path of a killer.  Unable to avoid meeting with Sweetie, Marcia learns shocking information that she encourages Sweetie to reveal.  Once Sweetie takes the stand during Tyson’s trial, a stunning revelation gives Marcia unexpected hope and a new purpose that will honor Ryan memory.

The Mother by Yvvette Edwards is a raw, gritty novel that is heartbreaking, yet ultimately, uplifting.  This powerful story will move readers to tears as Marcia tries to come to terms with an unbearable loss that no parent should ever have to experience. Although not all of the loose ends are completely wrapped up by the novel’s conclusion, the ending is hopeful as Marcia, Lloydie and Sweetie find an unexpected bit of optimism that they can and will eventually move past this tragedy.

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1 Comment

Filed under Amistad, Contemporary, Rated A, Review, The Mother, Women's Fiction, Yvvette Edwards

One Response to Review: The Mother by Yvvette Edwards

  1. Timitra

    Sounds good…Thanks for sharing your thoughts Kathy