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The Push By Ashley Audrain

The Push‘The Push’ is the debut novel by Ashley Audrain.

The arrival of baby Violet was meant to be the happiest day of my life. But as soon as I held her in my arms I knew something wasn’t right. I had always known that the women in my family aren’t meant to be mothers. My husband Fox says I’m imagining it. He tells me I’m nothing like my own mother, and that Violet is the sweetest child. But she’s different with me. Something feels very wrong.

‘The Push’ is Michael Joseph’s most anticipated book of 2021, a dark and chillingly crafted story about motherhood and love goes wrong.

The story is seen through the narrative of 3 generations of women, Cecelia, Etta and Blythe as they experience motherhood for the first time and they wait for the influx of emotions of love and care and are instead left with nothing. They retreat, they become cold and become completely different to the person they were before the babies.

The story is primarily seen through the narrative of Blythe who’s own mother had struggled with motherhood and Blythe is determined to be the perfect mother when her own baby is born. But her daughter Violet is the total opposite to what she expected with a vicious, cold and nasty streak that makes Blythe fearful of her and guilty and frustrated that she’s unable to have a close relationship with her daughter. When, when Blythe has a son, she is overjoyed at the second chance with motherhood and embrace it wholeheartedly, aware that in the background, Violet is watching closely.

‘The Push’ is a chilling and an uncomfortable read. It’s delves deeply into motherhood and the impact of the difficult children and the fear that something bad is going to happen. Throughout the book, it’s riddled with tension and unease as Violet connects with her father and grandparents but constantly pushes Blythe making her doubt her own sanity as well as capability as a mother. Ashley has created a compelling book with intriguing and unsettling characters that made it impossible to put down. The book also slightly reminded me of ‘Good Me, Bad Me’ by Ali Land, which is another fantastic debut. The perspectives of the different mothers throughout the years was a clever addition to the story and kept the reader on their toes, as you piecing the story together.

A book that delves into the insecurities and expectations of motherhood with an unravelling protagonist that makes for sympathetic and gripping reading, ‘The Push’ is a stunning debut that is well worthy of the hype and publicity behind it and was also my first read book of 2021.

You can buy ‘The Push’ from Amazon and other good bookshops.

Claire McGowan

Claire McGowanClaire McGowan is a Northern Ireland author who writes crime under new own name and female fiction as Eva Woods. Her latest thriller called ’The Push’ is out now.

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
    I grew up in Rostrevor Co Down in Northern Ireland and now live in London. I write mostly crime fiction and also women’s fiction, as well as radio drama and scripts.
  2. Tell us about your new book called ‘The Push’.
    ‘The Push’ is about a group of couples, all very different, who are all expecting babies and go to the same antenatal group. When someone dies in a suspicious fall at one of their gatherings, their secrets and lies begin to unravel.
  3. You write both female fiction and crime. Which genre do you find easier to write?
    Definitely crime! I tend to over-plot my women’s fiction as I’m so used to having to write lots of twists and turns.
  4. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    I’d invite Marian Keyes who seems brilliant fun and reads a lot!
  5. You come from a rural village in Northern Ireland, has that been a setting in any of your books?
    It features in some of my Paula Maguire books, though I rarely write about actual real places. I usually give them a different name and change them slightly.
  6. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    ‘The Secret History’ -The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation
  7. Why do you think Northern Ireland is so popular and successful for crime authors?
    I think we have an incredibly rich history of crime and loss here, which we are only now beginning to be able to write about.
  8. The Push

  9. Who’s your favourite villain or hero?
    It’s hard to think of a better or more interesting character than Hannibal Lecter – he’s sometimes a villain and sometimes an ally, at least in ‘The Silence of the Lambs’
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    Something very long – I still have to read the new Hilary Mantel, so probably that, then maybe the complete works of Shakespeare, and the artist’s way so I could work my way through it.
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    I think there needs to be a balance between developing your skills, and almost more important,
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    Giant cup of tea – I drink lots of tea all through the day
  13. And finally, do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
    I’ve just finished my next thriller, ‘I Know You’, and also have a true-crime audiobook coming, which will be announced soon.

    You can find Claire McGowan on Twitter and her website for updates.

You can buy ‘The Push’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.