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What a Mother Knows [Kindle Edition]

Leslie Lehr
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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Things You Won't Say
After police officer Mike's partner is seriously injured in the line of duty, some of Mike's wife's worst fears begin to be realized. Learn more about the book | Read more about the author Sarah Pekkanen

Book Description

"A fast-paced and gripping exploration of a mother's love. A powerful affecting novel."—Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and One Breath Away

How Far Will a Mother Go to Find Her Daughter?

Michelle Mason can't remember that day, that drive, that horrible crash that killed the young man in her car. All she knows is she's being held responsible, and her daughter is missing.

Despite a shaky marriage, a threatening lawsuit, and troubling flashbacks pressing in on her, Michelle throws herself into searching. Her daughter in the one person who might know what really happened that day, but the deeper Michelle digs, the more she questions the innocence of those closest to her, even herself. As her search hurtles toward a shattering revelation, Michelle must face the biggest challenge of her life.

A poignant story of the unshakable bond between mother and child, What a Mother Knows is about finding the truth that can set love free.

"Her characters are so real...They'll stick with you long after the book ends."—Hope Edelman, Motherless Daughters

"A poignant, powerful novel."—Jillian Medoff, bestselling author of I Couldn't Love You More and Hunger Point

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Michelle Mason wakes up from an 18-month coma to a lawsuit holding her responsible for the death of Noah Butler, a promising young rock star. More disturbingly, nobody will tell her where her teenage daughter, Nikki, is. As she struggles to recover physically—her arm is virtually useless, never mind the Hollywood power-broker look she used to rock—she follows tenuous clues to Nikki, who may have had more of a connection to Noah than Michelle remembers. Michelle’s distance from her husband and son, her contentious relationship with her depressed mother, and her, frankly, bitchy friends inspire sympathy, especially since she is repeatedly stonewalled for information on Nikki. Why isn’t her husband looking for their daughter? Why did he pack up her room, including a memory card that might be the key to the accident? Why was Noah in the car with Michelle on the rainy night of the car accident? Here the elements of Hollywood moviemaking and tabloid hedonism blend nicely with the desperate franticness of, say, S. J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep (2011). --Susan Maguire


"The elements of Hollywood moviemaking and tabloid hedonism blend nicely with the desperate franticness of, say, S. J. Watson's Before I Go to Sleep" - Booklist

"Poignantly written with a mystery at its center, Lehr's latest explores the lengths a mother will go for her child. ... a worthwhile read." - RT Book Reviews

""Almost impossible to put down. ... What a Mother Knows is an intense and emotional rollercoaster ride." - Long and Short Reviews" - Long and Short Reviews

"The story of the strong and unwavering bond between a mother and her child, What a Mother Knows is the perfect novel to give to mom." - SheKnows

"A strong suspenser" - The Toronto Star

Product Details

  • File Size: 652 KB
  • Print Length: 379 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1402279566
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (May 7, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B2AO76U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,482 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This mother wants to know... May 24, 2013
The premise was good -- woman wakes from year-long coma after an automobile accident. She can't remember anything. She goes home and finds out that everything has changed AND her daughter is missing.

Unfortunately, the unlikeable characters, unbelievable scenarios and ludicrous dialogue made this novel less than a winner for me. The notion that a woman who'd had that severe of a brain injury - and has no use of one arm - could come home and immediately start running all around the country (in designer heels, no less) searching for a missing teenager was preposterous. I didn't like this mom, Michelle, and the rest of the characters were straight out of central casting as they portrayed their roles in this melodrama. Frankly, I didn't care if Michelle ever found her daughter, Nikki, and the climax of the story filling in the missing pieces was quite a letdown and really made no sense.

So, give this one a pass. It is definitely NOT comparable to "Before I Go To Sleep" or many of the other novels out there that deal with comas, head injuries, resultant memory loss, and missing persons searches.

Ebook from NetGalley.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read May 9, 2013
After months in the hospital following a horrendous car accident, Michelle Mason is finally able to come home. The trouble is, nothing is as how she remembered it. And is that due to her faulty memory or is there something else at work? When Michelle discovers that one of the things missing is her daughter, all hell breaks loose. There isn't anything she wouldn't do for her girl.

The struggles that Michelle endures throughout the course of this novel almost ripped my heart out. She's made to feel feeble, inferior, and pretty much made to believe she's losing her mind. But she knows better. She knows her daughter like no one else and knows she wouldn't up and disappear without a darn good reason. I have to hope that I'd be as dedicated, determined and ballsy as Michelle was if anything ever happened to either of my girls. I'd love to have her on my side, penchant for recklessness aside.

About a third of the way into this book, I began to realize that this might be my first interaction with an unreliable narrator. For me, I usually go in knowing the narrator is a crackpot or just a liar, but in this case, you really don't know for sure. Michelle has had a serious brain trauma and, although she's beginning to remember bits and pieces, you're never really sure what's real and what might be imagined. That bit of doubt made the story, for me, that much more enjoyable. That absolute need to find out what happened intensified and made it almost impossible to put down.

What a Mother Knows is an intense and emotional rollercoaster ride. Never knowing where Michelle's instincts might take her next, you're brought along to find out when she does.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a Mother Knows June 11, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In my opinion, a book not worth the price. The premise of the plot is unrealistic. The character development does not make sense. The writing is fragmented.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good if you like plot-driven fiction, 3.5 stars May 21, 2013
I enjoyed this novel for the plot, but I felt that the pacing or the writing was off in places. That said, for me, sometimes all I want is a book that will just carry me away to a different place, and I definitely got this from this book. In the suspense genre, that's what is expected -- a great plot with some twists and turns.

Michelle Mason is returning home after two years. She's been in a medically induced coma and then in rehab recovering from her numerous injuries. Because everyone thought she needed to stay calm and not worry, they've kept secrets from her -- secrets about her daughter, who she thinks is being an exchange student in Australia, but is really missing; secrets about the accident, in which a passenger was killed; secrets about her husband, who has been working on the other side of the country.

Michelle is ready to go home, and her past success as a Hollywood exec means that she's not going quietly. She refuses to accept the vague answers that she's getting and the insistence from her disconnected husband and her overbearing (and mostly unhelpful) mother that she just rest. She takes on the law suit head on, even though with her traumatic brain injury she doesn't remember everything. But as her memory comes back in bits and pieces, the reader is forced to reevaluate her true involvement in the wreck, which really made the story pop.

The ending was tied up nicely, ending with a bit of emotional relief after the intensity of the previous pages.

NOTE ON THE COVER: I don't like covers that are misleading. This cover features what looks like an 8-year-old girl, when this mother has two teenagers. It's also quite happy and springy for such a fast-paced and sometimes-dark read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars don't bother January 4, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
the prolougue i definitely the best part of this book. The rest of it is awful. There are toooo many details to follow and just plain doesn't make sense. Like, supposedly she is broke and cannot use her right arm, and yet she goes to Hawaii and Florida? Navigating a plane ride is difficult with two arms, much less one. Waste of time, and the conclusion is ridiculous.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Last Was the Best
This story was compelling enough that I kept on reading, even as I judged it to be mediocre. I would have rated it as a 3 for most of the story. Read more
Published 12 days ago by D. Windover
2.0 out of 5 stars Predictable.
After reading the reviews, I thought this was going to be a suspenseful novel with unexpected twists. Instead, I found it to be very predictable. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Doro
3.0 out of 5 stars Actual Review
While this book was fairly well written and contained an interesting plot, the execution wasn't the best to put it nicely. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Emily
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Sometimes I wasn't sure where the story was headed, which I happen to love. Great mix of characters. Well written.
Published 2 months ago by Cindy
4.0 out of 5 stars Page Turner
Michelle wakes up from a coma and all she wants is to see her daughter. But when she returns home, she finds that her daughter has disappeared. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Megan
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved the fact that it depicted three generations of women ...
Starting with an intriguing premise -- a mother wakes up from a coma and learns her daughter is missing -- this book keeps pages turning and unforeseen twists coming. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Lindsay 7981
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Liked the s Tory, liked the surprises
Published 7 months ago by bonnie kornblatt
1.0 out of 5 stars Not For Me!
If this had been a movie, it would have been one of those 4 hour ones!! It took me forever to finish the book. There was absolutely nothing drawing me back in! Read more
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Tale
A wonderful tale that keeps you guessing until the very end. Love, loss, finding and forgiving. It's what a mother knows.
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars What a mother Knows by Leslie Lehr
It was a great read. The mystery of what happened the night of the accident and where Nikki was, was intriguing. I had to keep reading to find out.
Published 10 months ago by Karla Chavers
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More About the Author

How far would you go to protect your child? That's the question that inspired Lehr to write her new novel, What a Mother Knows. Visit Leslie at and contact her at

Following the book club favorite, Wife Goes On, Lehr's new literary thriller is the culmination of her experience in the film business and the what-ifs of modern motherhood. Her debut novel, 66 Laps, won the Pirates Alley Faulkner Society Gold Medal. Lehr also wrote the screenplay for the romantic thriller, Heartless. Her writing career began with the humorous nonfiction books, Welcome to Mom, The Happy Helpful Grandma Guide, and Wendy Bellissimo: Nesting, featured on Oprah.

Her popular essays include the New York Times Modern Love Column "How I Got to Here," from Mommy Wars, "I Hate Everybody" lauded on the Today Show, "Parenting Paranoia," excerpted in Arianna Huffington's On Becoming Fearless, and "Welcome to the Club" in The Honeymoon's Over.

The novel consultant for the world renowned Trubys Writers Studio, Lehr is a popular panelist at literary and film conferences around the country. She is a member of PEN, The Authors Guild, WGA, Women In Film, and The Women's Leadership Council of L.A. She is a contributor to the Tarcher/Penguin Series "Now Write" and teaches in the Writer's Program at UCLA Extension. Lehr earned a B.A. from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University.

Lehr lives in Southern California, where she continues to explore the dark and light sides of contemporary women.

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