This reading group guide for
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The Other Mothers includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book. Introduction
When a young nanny is found dead in mysterious circumstances, new mom Tash is intrigued. She has been searching for a story to launch her career as a freelance journalist. But she has also been searching for something else—new friends to help her navigate motherhood.
She sees them at her son’s new playgroup. The other mothers. A group of sleek, sophisticated women who live in a neighborhood of tree-lined avenues and stunning houses. The sort of mother Tash herself would like to be. When the mothers welcome her into their circle, Tash discovers the kind of life she has always dreamed of—their elegant London town houses a far cry from her cramped basement flat and endless bills. She is quickly swept up into their wealthy world via coffees, cocktails, and playdates.
But when another young woman is found dead, it’s clear there’s much more to the community than meets the eye. The more Tash investigates, the more she’s led uncomfortably close to the other mothers. Are these women really her friends? Or is there another, more dangerous reason why she has been so quickly accepted into their exclusive world? Who, exactly, is investigating whom? Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. How (if at all) do you think Sophie’s relationship with her mom affects her actions?
2. Do you think Sophie is a good person? How did your thoughts about her change throughout the book?
3. Discuss the aspects of Sophie’s and Tash’s lives that mirror each other. How do you think their shared traits affected Tash’s investigation? How would the story have been different if they didn’t have these similarities?
4. Discuss Jude’s Stick Man
bedtime story. Why do you think it comes up when it does in the novel? And how do you think it ends?
5. Do you think the accusations against Ed at his job are true? Discuss evidence for both sides.
6. Nicole goes very far to protect her friends despite not being directly involved in the situation they are covering up. Why do you think she goes so far out of her way? What would you risk for your friends?
7. Who is the villain in this story? Is there a hero?
8. Tash often associates beauty with power. She talks about thinking people seem powerful because of how they are dressed, what they look like, etc. How true do you think this is? And how is it relevant at different points throughout the book?
9. On page 370, Tash thinks about who she is. She says she is “not a bad person, I do believe that, though I suppose everybody does.” Do you agree with the idea that everyone thinks they are a good person? Does every character in this book have reason to believe that they are a good person?
10. Were you surprised by the ending? Satisfied? Why or why not?
11. What do you think Tash decides to tell Christina in the end? What would you do in this situation?
12. Do you agree with the sentiment of the closing line, that truth is subjective?
13. The idea of an exclusive group bringing in an outsider is popular in media. In order to feel accepted by the other mothers, Tash starts spending more money, wearing different clothes, and changing her eating habits, among other things. Talk about this phenomenon. Does it ever work? Talk about other examples from movies, TV, books, etc. Enhance Your Book Club
1. There are a few possibilities for Tash’s immediate future after the book ends, depending on what she chooses to share with Christina. Split into groups and discuss different possible ways the situation could play out if she tells Christina what she did on the cliffs or if she goes along with Christina’s belief about Laura. Come together and discuss the possibilities.
2. The Other Mothers
is told from two points of view and in two different time lines. Everyone choose a character (other than Tash or Sophie) and talk about what the book would have been like from their point of view. Would it have been told in Tash’s time line or Sophie’s? Which scenes would you want to see from their POV?
3. In the end of the book, Tash makes the decision not to move forward with submitting her story about Sophie’s death to be published. If she had decided to publish it, what do you think it would have looked like? Discuss what the format of the article could be and what evidence she might have included. You could even try to write a sample of what the article might’ve looked like, with the help of others in your reading group.