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The Mother Fault

The Mother Fault 1

by Kate Mildenhall
Publication Date: 02/09/2020
5/5 Rating 1 Reviews
RRP  $32.99 $24.50

You will not recognise me, she thinks, when I find you . . .

Mim’s husband is missing. No one knows where Ben is, but everyone wants to find him – especially The Department. And they should know, the all-seeing government body has fitted the entire population with a universal tracking chip to keep them ‘safe’.

But suddenly Ben can’t be tracked. And Mim is questioned, made to surrender her passport and threatened with the unthinkable – her two children being taken into care at the notorious BestLife.

Cornered, Mim risks everything to go on the run to find her husband – and a part of herself, long gone, that is brave enough to tackle the journey ahead.

From the stark backroads of the Australian outback to a terrifying sea voyage, Mim is forced to shuck off who she was – mother, daughter, wife, sister – and become the woman she needs to be to save her family and herself.

Thriller / suspense
Publication Date:
Simon & Schuster Australia
Country of origin:
Dimensions (mm):

‘From the first few pages, I knew I was going to be finishing The Mother Fault the same day I had started. Kate Mildenhall has imagined a world as terrifying and visionary as Margaret Atwood’s Gilead, with the pace of the best thrillers – and characters I’ll never forget. This is a novel of rare insight from a rising literary star.’
J.P. Pomare, author of Call Me Evie and In the Clearing

‘The Mother Fault is a clarion call, wrapped in vivid prose, inside a truly thrilling read. Mildenhall has written a page-turner that also delivers on beautiful language, vivid characterisation and emotional complexity. It is a sensual delight. When I wasn’t gasping in suspense, I was sighing with pleasure at the dazzling prose. I felt so close to Mim, I wanted alternately to shout at her and cheer her on. A novel for our times.’
Angela Savage, author of Mother of Pearl and Behind the Night Bazaar

‘In The Mother Fault, Kate Mildenhall has achieved that rare thing – a book that at once tackles the big issues and is an addictive page-turner. The near-future Mildenhall has created is not only believable but disturbingly familiar. At its heart is a timeless story of motherhood – an expert and moving portrayal of the lengths a mother will go to in order to save her family. A smart, confronting and compelling read.’
Melanie Cheng, author of Australia Day and Room for a Stranger

‘Kate Mildenhall raises big questions in this riveting thriller about the moral reckoning that will be demanded of us by future generations for our actions and inaction. But at the heart of The Mother Fault is a deeply human tale, one that prevails against and rises above political agendas: the need to protect those we love. This is exactly the kind of story we need right now; one that observes with lacerating honesty what we risk becoming.
Sally Piper, author of The Geography of Friendship and Grace’s Table

‘The Mother Fault looks unflinchingly into a terrifyingly plausible future. I could barely catch my breath while reading . . . The Australia Mildenhall conjures is at once recognisable and destabilising, beautiful and horrific, taut and emotionally resonant. It shook me to my core. I could not put it down.’
Alice Robinson, author of Anchor Point and The Glad Shout

‘A shattering lightning bolt of a book.’
Karen Viggers, author of The Lightkeeper’s Wife

Kate Mildenhall

Kate Mildenhall is a writer and teacher. Her debut novel, Skylarking, was named in Readings Top Ten Fiction Books of 2016 and longlisted for Best Debut Fiction in The Indie Book Awards 2017 and the 2017 Voss Literary Prize.

Kate teaches creative writing to young writers and co-hosts The First Time, a podcast about the first time you publish a book. The Mother Fault is her second novel. Kate lives with her partner and two daughters in Hurstbridge, Victoria.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • Brilliant speculative fiction.

    by on

    The Mother Fault is the second novel by Australian author, Kate Mildenhall. Engineer Benjamin Elliott is missing. His wife Miriam is concerned. Neither his employer GeoTech nor The Department know where Ben is, or are not saying if they do. Which is bizarre as they are all chipped: how can they not know?

    Representatives of The Department warn Mim not to tell anyone, confiscate her passport, and those of her children, and tell her to stay put. They offer to care for Essie and Sam in BestLife until the situation is resolved, but Mim isn’t that naïve: after her brother’s experience with BestLife, she knows that it’s no better than detention, and probably much worse.

    A hydrogeologist herself, Mim doesn’t reveal that she has already mentioned it to an international journalist, but uses the pretext of sounding out a return to work with a former colleague to take her children to the family farm, and her mother. Mim determines she will have to remove her small family from the compulsory scrutiny of The Department, and find a way to the Indonesian island where Ben has disappeared.

    She quickly learns just how seriously The Department considers the situation when she hears of their threats at the farm, and the fate of the friend who helped her go off-grid. She understands that they have to remain, quite literally, under the radar, but she has no idea what will be required of her before she has tracked Ben down and discovered what really happened.

    The near-future that Mildenhall describes is highly plausible and the subject matter is extremely topical: the technology aspect, the influence of multi-nationals, and the government attitude to refugees will all feel familiar. Mildenhall gives the reader a strong female protagonist who is no saint but has the welfare of her children as a firm priority, especially when the going gets tough. A gripping plot and a nail-biting climax will keep the pages turning. Brilliant speculative fiction.
    This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Australia.