Book Review: Just Like Mother by Anne Heltzel

Just Like Mother by Anne Heltzel had me staying up late at night, enticing me to continue to the next chapter every time I ended one. On the surface, it’s a thriller circling around a set of cousins and the after-effects of unwillingly being part of a cult and the diverging paths they took after their adoptions. On the other hand, it also seemed to question what it means to be a woman and their responsibility to the world and population.


Buy/Preorder Just Like Mother on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3pgvX9R


Just Like Mother by Anne Heltzel had me staying up late at night, enticing me to continue to the next chapter every time I ended one. On the surface, it’s a thriller circling around a set of cousins and the after-effects of unwillingly being part of a cult and the diverging paths they took after their adoptions. On the other hand, it also seemed to question what it means to be a woman and their responsibility to the world and population.


Maeve is a single woman living in the city, working in the publishing world, avoiding any real attachment to anyone. Her cousin, Andrea, suddenly comes back into her life after being separated, a successful woman floating in wealth who wants her cousin's help in launching her line of robotic infants for women who have lost children or can’t conceive. There, of course, is something else she wants from her cousin, which leads to unfortunate events revolving around Maeve’s work and love life.


The idea of being thrown into a circumstance and a home where people who disagree with your lifestyle stay close to a loved one you believed you would never see again is a curious and terrifying premise. I was enamored by the cover to this book, but do not judge it by its cover. The use of the dolls, or creepy baby bots, as I call them, are few and far between and serve as set pieces to unnerve you when utilized. When I think of certain moments in the book as if it were a film, the dolls gave me the shivers. But to be fair, I think dolls are eerie anyways.

I can see where some people will have an issue with some of the characters and their belief systems regarding reproduction. If you do get offended, I encourage you to push through because it all makes sense in the end. That’s just one possible issue with the book that many may have—I want to put a trigger warning in this review for anyone dealing with sexual trauma. There was a chapter where I questioned the need to include a very detailed sex scene, but after going through the novel, I can see how the author, or an editor, felt like it needed to be included for character depth.


Just Like Mother is a page-turning thriller that deals with trauma and how it can keep us isolated from others and what happens when we hold onto guilt from the past and how it can be manipulated. Heltzel has written my favorite book of 2022 so far, and I will keep an eye out for more by her in the future.


4.5 Stars Out of 5

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