"I tore through this urgent, timely, and deeply disturbing tale.”—Andrea Bartz, New York Times bestselling author of We Were Never Here
Spine-chilling and sharp, Anne Heltzel's Just Like Mother is a modern gothic from a fresh new voice in horror, and “will disturb readers to their core.” (Library Journal) A GoodReads Choice Award Finalist for Best Horror, and named one of the Best Books of 2022 by LitReactor!
The last time Maeve saw her cousin was the night she escaped the cult they were raised in. For the past two decades, Maeve has worked hard to build a normal life in New York City, where she keeps everything—and everyone—at a safe distance.
When Andrea suddenly reappears, Maeve regains the only true friend she’s ever had. Soon she’s spending more time at Andrea’s remote Catskills estate than in her own cramped apartment. Maeve doesn’t even mind that her cousin’s wealthy work friends clearly disapprove of her single lifestyle. After all, Andrea has made her fortune in the fertility industry—baby fever comes with the territory.
The more Maeve immerses herself in Andrea’s world, the more disconnected she feels from her life back in the city; and the cousins’ increasing attachment triggers memories Maeve has fought hard to bury. But confronting the terrors of her childhood may be the only way for Maeve to transcend the nightmare still to come…
"A fierce, frightening novel."—Rachel Harrison, author of Cackle
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Heltzel's adult debut (after YA novel Charlie, Presumed Dead) offers an eerie, fast-paced critique of society's obsession with motherhood. Heroine Maeve's early life was shaped by a matriarchal cult where she and her cousin, Andrea, were raised by a radical feminist group called the Mothers. Her escape brought the cult down and the fallout saw her separated from Andrea by the foster system. Decades later, a struggling Maeve finally manages to reconnect with Andrea, only to discover that she has grown rich off the success of her company, which supplies hyperrealistic baby dolls to women to either assist them in preparing for motherhood or help them grieve a lost child. As the two grow closer again, Andrea's company and her network of baby-minded women unsettle Maeve, forcing her to confront what she and Andrea really mean to one another and the grip the cult still has on them both. Heltzel builds an incredibly ominous atmosphere through the first two acts, but the payoff disappoints, delivering a series of repetitive and predictable twists. Still, Maeve's tenacity and realistically depicted trauma will keep readers invested in her story to the end. Heltzel's probing exploration of women's bodily autonomy or lack thereof makes this a solid choice for those who like their horror close to home.