Jodie Garrow is a teenager from the wrong side of the tracks when she falls pregnant. Scared, alone and desperate to make something of her life, she makes the decision to adopt out her baby – and tells nobody.
We all have secrets . . .
Jodie Garrow is a teenager from the wrong side of the tracks when she falls pregnant. Scared, alone and desperate to make something of her life, she adopts out the baby illegally – and tells nobody.
Twenty-five years on, Jodie has built a new life and a new family. But when a chance meeting brings the adoption to the notice of the authorities, Jodie becomes caught in a nationwide police investigation, and the centre of a media witch hunt.
What happened to Jodie's baby? And where is she now? The fallout from Jodie's past puts her whole family under the microscope, and her husband and daughter must re-examine everything they believed to be true.
Potent, provocative and compulsively readable, The Mistake is the story of a mother and the media's powerful role in shaping our opinions. With astonishing insight, it cuts to the heart of what makes a family, and asks us whether we can ever truly know another person.
'The kind of novel that will have you second-guessing your own reactions and skilfully exposes the troubling expectations we resort to in the absence of hard evidence.' The Age
'Tense and involving ... credible and accomplished.' The Australian
'A moving book that relentlessly hits the mark.' Sydney Morning Herald
Praise for Wendy James's other books
'James's sure hands leads us through sometimes harrowing, sometimes redemptive moments in her beautifully rounded characters lives.' Who Weekly
'A penetrating picture of our life and times . . . a knockout.' Canberra Times
'Cunning psychological portraits and clean prose make for an absorbing domestic thriller.' The Age
“Compelling, well-paced and suspenseful.”
“A moving book that relentlessly hits the mark. Domestic thriller it may be, but it is also a telling commentary on families, women and the media that judges them.”
The Sydney Morning Herald
“With strong characterisation and a whack of psychological suspense, it is the kind of novel that will have you second-guessing your own reactions and skilfully exposes the troubling expectations we resort to in the absence of hard evidence.”
“James is masterful at seamlessly ratcheting up the tension. Unputdownable.”
Good Reading Magazine
“James tells not just a tense and involving story, but also raises important questions about the role of the media, as the missing baby story becomes a runaway train. The Mistake, credible and accomplished, also asks what happens when family members begin to doubt each other, to wonder how well they know each other.”
“A suspenseful combination of crime, family dynamics and cultural trends ... James's pacing of her plot is masterly. From less than half way through the novel the reader has to fight an overwhelming urge to flick to the end, to take a quick test of their intuition and to assuage the escalating suspense. Resist the temptation: the end has its poignant surprises and James knows exactly where and how to reveal them.”
“A cracker read, almost guaranteed to generate discussion and disparity of opinion amongst its readers ...”
“It's sneakily challenging, disconcerting, compelling, car crash fascinating, and probably one of the best fictional reminders I've had in a while that public and media opinion should never be mistaken for the justice system, regardless of the ultimate outcome.”
“A knockout read ... will haunt you long after the final pages. A compelling, gut-wrenching novel that is not easily categorised. Part family drama, part psychological thriller, it pushes the boundaries of the crime genre, equally intent on revealing consequences of a crime, or mistake, for the suspected perpetrator and her family as it is on resolving the case.”
“Brilliant, haunting and disturbing, with a twist that will leave you gasping, this is both a subtle and closely-observed portrayal of a family under stress, and a gripping thriller that leaves you guessing to the very end.”
“A thought provoking novel that explores themes that provide and insight into contemporary life. Part psychological/crime thriller, part family drama, The Mistake defies genre conventions and simply delivers a compelling story.”
“Exceptionally written, The Mistake is fast-paced, thought provoking and hard to stop thinking about long after the book has ended.”
“Within its suspenseful narrative, The Mistake has important things to say about how we think about motherhood, how the media views women, and how, when it comes to 'the natural relationship between mother and daughter', few can be neutral.”
“An amazing book. The storyline hooks you early one and keeps you turning the pages as fast as you can, hungry to devour more of the narrative. It works on so many levels – including that of the moral dilemma and how we treat people accused of things before they are proven guilty.”
Longlisted • 2013 • Best Adult Crime novel