Mother Knows Best by Kira Peikoff, 4 Stars

Genetic modification of embryos. Such a hot topic! Well, I suppose one we don’t talk about all that much. Still, science is advancing and the capabilities are astounding. But just because we can do it doesn’t always mean we should.

It just seems so strange to me that prospective parents in the future may have the chance to choose their child’s gender, eye color, hair color, you name it. And what happens when the person selecting these things makes a mistake? Plus diversity can be a really good thing. And just as we can’t choose the people our children become, it seems that choosing those other details could lead to lots of issues.

I’m definitely not the judge of what is morally right and wrong. But the whole thing makes my skin crawl just a little bit.

Mother Knows Best is a work of fiction, based on that idea that what if we could change our child’s genes. In this case, it’s to avoid that child inheriting a deadly disease, which does make a lot of sense. But again, is it up to us?

From the Publisher:

Claire Abrams’s dreams became a nightmare when she passed on a genetic mutation that killed her little boy. Now she wants a second chance to be a mother, and finds it in Robert Nash, a maverick fertility doctor who works under the radar with Jillian Hendricks, a cunning young scientist bent on making her mark–and seducing her boss.

Claire, Robert, and Jillian work together to create the world’s first baby with three genetic parents–an unprecedented feat that could eliminate inherited disease. But when word of their illegal experiment leaks to the wrong person, Robert escapes into hiding with the now-pregnant Claire, leaving Jillian to serve out a prison sentence that destroys her future.

Ten years later, a spunky girl named Abigail begins to understand that all is not right with the reclusive man and woman she knows as her parents. But the family’s problems are only beginning. Jillian, hardened by a decade of jealousy and loss, has returned–and nothing will stop her from reuniting with the man and daughter who should have been hers.

Past, present, and future converge in this mesmerizing psychological thriller from critically acclaimed author Kira Peikoff.

My Review:

The premise of Mother Knows Best got me right away. It’s kind of a domestic thriller with a bit of sci-fi mixed in. Except I’m not quite sure it’s sci-fi if it’s actually possible to do. And I think it’s either possible or realistically possible soon. Of course I’m totally uneducated in this area so don’t hold me to that!

Claire is a very determined woman. And she’s a cavalier journalist who has taken chances and even broken at least moral laws to get the story. So after losing her son to a genetic disease, she is bound and determined to become a mother again. Only thing is, she can’t risk passing her genes on to the new child. But she still wants that child to be hers. Do you see the dilemma?

She researches and finds Dr. Nash, who she knows has the capability to genetically modify the pre-fertilized egg to avoid passing along the genes that could cause the disease her son had. Only problem? He can’t because it’s illegal. But Claire finds a way.

It’s kind of interesting then when a similar scientific advancement–the ability to get a summary of your genetic make-up and heritage, leads the baby, Abby, down a road where she begins to question her parents.

In Mother Knows Best, Peikoff spins what can sometimes be the scariest tale–those that are actually quite realistic. This one is not only a fast read, but it makes you think. What would you do?

I would recommend this read to fans of John Saul (for me it was a bit reminiscent of Creature) or Karen Thompson Walker’s The Dreamers: A Novel, which is also a gentle blend of science and fiction.

Special thanks to Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for an e-galley in exchange for my honest review. This one is available September 10. Pre-order your copy!


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