Her One Mistake

Her One Mistake

by Heidi Perks

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501194221
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 01/08/2019
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 12,365
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Heidi Perks was born and raised in the seaside town of Bournemouth on the south coast of England. After moving up to London for a short stint, she has since moved back to Bournemouth where she now lives with her husband and two children. Heidi has been writing since she was small, though for too many years her day time job and career in marketing got in the way. Now she writes full time and cannot think of anything she would rather be doing.

Reading Group Guide

This readers group guide for Her One Mistake 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 Harriet Hodder asks a favor of her best friend, Charlotte Reynolds, Charlotte is happy to oblige. Harriet’s young daughter, Alice, will join Charlotte and her three children at the school fair while Harriet attends an accounting seminar. Since Harriet has never left Alice with anyone before, Charlotte encourages her friend to enjoy her time away.

But when Alice goes missing at the fair, the police investigating the case uncover conflicting evidence relevant to the girl’s disappearance. Could Alice’s vanishing have anything to do with the abduction of a young boy in a nearby village? Does the fact that Charlotte was looking at social media on her phone when Alice disappeared point to her unsuitability as a caregiver? Why doesn’t the alibi of Alice’s father, Brian Hodder, hold up under scrutiny? Is Harriet’s absentmindedness a figment of her husband’s imagination, or proof of something more sinister at work?

Topics and Questions for Discussion

1. Compare and contrast Harriet Hodder and Charlotte Reynolds. How does Harriet view Charlotte, and vice versa? In what ways does their friendship seem out of the ordinary?

2. How does Charlotte’s momentary distraction implicate her in Alice’s unexplained disappearance? How does her behavior appear in light of her willingness to supervise four children at a crowded school fair? In your opinion, to what extent does Charlotte seem deserving of the attacks she receives from strangers on social media, and, to some extent, her friends?

3. “It pained [Harriet] to be away from Alice. It made her heart quite literally burn, but no one understood that” (p. 23). How does the intensity of Harriet’s attachment to Alice relate to her own upbringing as a child? Given that Harriet has never before been separated from four-year-old Alice, how typical does her level of anxiety seem?

4. How does the specter of Mason Harbridge, the little boy missing from a nearby village, hang over Alice Hodder’s disappearance? Why do the characters in the novel continually reflect on his alleged abduction?

5. “I need to know what [Charlotte] was doing when our daughter went missing . . . because she obviously wasn’t watching Alice” (p. 56). To what extent does Brian Hodder’s fury at Charlotte Reynolds seem justifiable? What does Alice’s disappearance reveal about the nature of Brian’s marriage to Harriet?

6. How does the author’s decision to narrate the novel through both the present- and past-tense perspectives of Charlotte and Harriet complicate the story the reader must unravel? Of the two perspectives, which did you find more compelling, and why?

7. “Harriet liked having Angela in her life. She thought they could have been friends in very different circumstances” (p. 121) Describe Detective Angela Baker, the family liaison officer assigned to Harriet and Brian Hodder. How does Brian feel about Angela’s presence in his home? What does Angela think of their marriage?

8. In what ways does Charlotte’s friendship with Audrey differ from her friendship with Harriet? Of the two women, whom would you say is Charlotte’s closer friend, and why?

9. The depictions of fatherhood in Her One Mistake span a spectrum from abject neglect to selfless sacrifice. In your discussion, compare and contrast the paternal instincts of Tom Reynolds, Brian Hodder, and Les Matthews. How do their behaviors compare to the book’s depictions of motherhood?

10. At what point in the novel did you become aware of disputed facts that called into question the reliability of the narrator? Whose version of the truth did you find more credible? Why?

11. How does Brian’s concern for Harriet’s mental health undermine her self-confidence and sanity? To what extent does his ongoing characterization of events qualify as gaslighting? What possible motive would Brian have for this behavior? How else might one interpret the bizarre and inconsistent things happening to Harriet?

12. “Harriet read through her notes and the discrepancies between what Brian said and what he tried to make her believe, until she was confident she knew the truth” (p. 146) How do Harriet’s entries in her journal enable her to reject her husband’s version of events? To what extent is her contemporaneous written account persuasive for you as a reader?

13. Why does Harriet deliberately conceal her ability to swim and her father’s existence from her husband?

14. To whom and to what do you think the “one mistake” in the book’s title refers?

15. What does Charlotte’s willingness to help Harriet in Cornwall, despite learning about her friend’s ongoing deception, suggest about her character? What compels Charlotte to ignore her instincts to help Harriet?

16. “She’d never have been able to consider that she could be capable of murder, but then being a mother can make you go to extraordinary lengths” (p. 307) Discuss whether you believe Harriet is innocent or guilty of murder. Why does her unplanned pregnancy with George serve as the catalyst for her plan?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. Trust is a recurring theme in Her One Mistake. Ask members of your book group to consider times in their lives when they have entrusted friends and family with significant responsibilities. Discuss whether they considered the many possible consequences or outcomes of those arrangements. You might want to use the central example of the novel—the disappearance of a friend’s child on one’s watch—as a starting point for your discussion.

2. Brian Hodder’s repeated, deliberate attempts to manipulate Harriet’s recollection of events and to compromise her ability to tell fact from fiction exemplify gaslighting, a word whose meaning was established in popular culture after the 1939 play Gas Light by Patrick Hamilton, and two subsequent film adaptations. With members of your book group, discuss how Brian’s efforts jeopardize Harriet’s sanity and her personal integrity. If your book group wants to explore the subject further, consider holding a screening party of the 1944 film Gaslight starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. Alternatively, ask members of your group to consider how the contemporary phrase “fake news” in social media connects to gaslighting.

3. Innocent or guilty? Ask your book club to imagine that Harriet Hodder is the defendant in a criminal trial in which she is accused of having caused the death of her husband, Brian. Divide members of your book group into two teams, one of which represents Harriet and the other of which prepares to prosecute her. What arguments or evidence from the novel would each team use to persuade the jury?

4. The friendship between Harriet and Charlotte gets irreparably damaged by Harriet’s scheme. Encourage members of your group to reflect on friendships in their lives that have become broken. If they’re comfortable being candid in sharing their recollections, collectively explore the sorts of problems that can commonly emerge in the course of female friendships. Your book club may want to distinguish between childhood and adult friendships in its dialogue.

Customer Reviews

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Her One Mistake 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous 11 days ago
Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks is a psychological thriller that will suck you in. Lives are irrevocably changed when Alice, Charlotte's best friends daughter, goes missing on Charlotte's watch. This has to be everyone's worst nightmare. This book and these characters will grab you by your heart, it is completely engrossing. Your heart will break for these characters. The dark and twisted secrets are an added bonus. This was the first book by Heidi Perks that I have read and it wont be the last.
diane92345 1 days ago
Her One Mistake was leaving her daughter with her best friend, Charlotte. Harriet and Brian have one four-year-old daughter named Alice. As Harriet is a stay-at-home mom, Alice has never been away from Harriet’s side. However, Harriet’s family is struggling to make ends meet. Harriet decides to take a bookkeeping class one Saturday when her husband is fishing. She asks her best, and only, friend Charlotte to watch Alice for the day. Charlotte is planning to take her three kids to the church fair anyway so she is happy to oblige and take Alice too. However, an unthinkable thing happens at the fair and Alice disappears. The action and twists don’t stop in Her One Mistake. It is an interesting blend of two types of thrillers but saying which two would spoil one of the excellent surprises in the book. 4 stars! Thanks to Gallery Books for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
SardisYS 3 days ago
This was a psychological thriller that really dug deeply into the emotional aspects; gaslighting, confusion and mind games had someone doubting their sanity. Highly recommend this devious plotting. It’s a wicked read!
thecolumbusdarling 4 days ago
This book isn't what you think it is...in the very best way. You start out reading it like any other story, taking it all in; you start forming your opinions of the characters and what you think may happen next. Then little hints start making you think to yourself, "wait, this isn't what I thought was going to happen!" Imagine letting your best friend take your child out for the day and finding out that she's gone missing. I couldn't imagine the panic I'd be going through, but I definitely felt it while reading this book! And that's what this book is the whole way through - a story that puts you on the edge while it takes you through twists and turns. I won't go into detail, because it's easy to give them away in this book, so you'll have to read it for yourself!
Fredreeca2001 6 days ago
Charlotte agrees to take Alice to the fair. She promises Harriet she will watch her closely. When Alice disappears it is devastating to both women in different ways. Then secrets start to emerge. Where is Alice and who has taken her? The author did a fantastic job with Charlotte and Harriet. I can feel their pain coming through the pages. I mean…what would you do if you were the mother….what would you do if you were the friend who lost the child? The feelings I had for both these women were remarkable. Then there is Brian, Harriet’s husband. You know something is not right. You just can’t put your finger on it. Is he abusive, overprotective, or something else entirely? Well! This book is pretty dang twisted! It did start a little slow…but that is just building for the wicked ending! I received this novel from Gallery Books via Netgalley for a honest review.
Persephonereads 6 days ago
Thank you to Netgalley and Gallery Books for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book for an honest review. A solid 4.75 star rating from me! Charlotte's longtime friend Harriet has always been overly protective of her 4 year old daughter Alice. So protective she seems to never allow Alice out of her site. So when Harriet approaches Charlotte to ask her to watch after Alice and take her to a school faire so that Harriet attend a bookkeeping course Charlotte is honored to be asked. It seems like an easy task, after all she has been planning to take her three children to the faire anyway. What could go wrong? It turns out a lot actually. As Charlotte waits outside a bouncy run with her littlest daughter for her son,eldest daughter and Alice to finish it ends up only her children come out. Alice is nowhere to be found. As Harriet begins to live through the worse nightmare a parent can live through and things are not much easier for Charlotte. None of Charlotte's friends seem to trust her anymore, rumours begin to spread about her and how she had lost track of her own sons years ago. "Her One Mistake" is the kind of thriller I really enjoy. One of my favorite genres is British thrillers and this was written very well. I do believe that you will be able to figure out the twists but I would be shocked if it ruined your enjoyment of the novel.
CCinME 7 days ago
Twisty thriller which keeps you guessing all the way through. The biggest twist is in the middle which turns the whole story back on itself. There are many revelations within the story which surprise and keep you moving along at a brisk pace. Totally recommend!
Anonymous 11 days ago
Charlotte Reynolds is separated from Tom and is the busy mother of three children. Today, she has agreed to take Alice, age 4, with her own children to the school fair. Harriet is going to take a class today to help prepare her to look for a job soon. She is a bit nervous about leaving Alice because it is the first time she has ever been away from her. Harriet’s husband, Brian, goes fishing every Saturday so he is not home to watch Alice. Both Alice and Charlotte are a bit edgy because a 9-year-old boy had gone missing from the park the previous fall and has not been found. The fair is packed with people and it is a hot day. The children all want to go on a big inflatable slide, so Charlotte asks her older son, Jack, to be sure and keep an eye on Alice. But when the children return, Alice is not with them. The police are called and they search everywhere but cannot find Alice. Harriet is devastated and in a state of shock. Her husband, Brian, is very harsh and almost vicious toward Charlotte who is also devastated and feels so guilty. The police send a Family Liaison Officer to stay with Harriet and Brian while they search for Alice. This story encompasses Harriet’s emotions and Brian’s reaction to her. In addition, we see how Charlotte is almost ostracized by her friends for having “lost” Alice. Emotions are running very high. What happened to Alice? Oh wow! This is a very good story with lots of twists and turns that the reader would not expect. It will keep you on the edge of your seat chewing your nails. I love how the author fully describes the emotions of Harriet and Charlotte that you almost feel them yourself. Don’t miss this one. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
whatthebook 11 days ago
Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks is a story about Harriet and Charlotte’s friendship and how well they really know each other. Harriet has never let her four year old daughter out of her sight, but she needs a babysitter. Charlotte is bringing her three kids to the school fair and is more than happy to bring Alice along with them. Charlotte only took her eyes off the kids for a minute when Alice disappears. How can Harriet and Charlotte’s friendship survive this tragedy? In order to find Alice, Harriet and Charlotte must trust each other even though one of them is hiding something. This book was a quick read- it had a few slow parts but the pace really picked up near the end.
Anonymous 11 days ago
Her One Mistake, a psychological thriller, a book that takes you on a suspenseful and twisted journey. Harriet leaves her 4 year old daughter, Alice, for the first time, with her best friend Charlotte. Is this a decision she will soon regret? Charlotte eager to watch her friends daughter, takes Alice and her three children to the school fair, where she makes the mistake of taking her eyes of the children for a brief minute. Alice vanishes is the blink of an eye. Nowhere to be found. Is Charlotte to blame? She is now having to live with this guilt, while Harriet and her husband, Brian, are having to deal with a parent's worse nightmare. Will Alice be found? Although some of the twists were not too hard to figure out there is plenty of wondering and guessing that makes you want to keep reading. It was a book I found hard to put down, I had to get to the end to know how it all played out. A very well written book! I will be looking forward to reading more from Heidi Perks. Thanks #NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review
Anonymous 11 days ago
I absolutely loved this book! If anyone is looking for a great psychological thriller....this would be the one to pick up next! The story is every parent’s nightmare......where is my child and who took her? And its also every caregiver’s nightmare.......how could this happen while I was watching her? It’s about “friends” who we find out as the story unfolds, have a very complicated relationship. Charlotte is divorced and has three children. Harriet is married and has one child who she has never left in the care of someone else before... and now her Alice has disappeared. The story takes you from present to past and back throughout the book in order to learn about the relationships of the characters and how they got to where they are today. As usual in this type of book, things just ARE NOT what you think they are, and i had to quit trying to figure it out as I went and just enjoy the words! The story has all the components of a great psychological thriller.....I do wish there would have been a bit more character development for me....who always wants more details! And i liked the way the story ended too...it probably wasn’t exactly what I expected...and that was a good thing! Many thanks to the author, the publisher, and Net Galley for allowing me to have an ARC of this book in return for an honest review, which this was.
lee2staes 12 days ago
Loved it! Fantastic read, I couldn’t put it down. I was hooked from beginning to end. Great story line with very believable characters. It’s a fantastic psychological thriller that keeps you guessing. I’ll be looking for more of this authors work.
Nanna51 12 days ago
This is not the typical missing child book. It is so much more! From the beginning, I was drawn into this clever and unique plot. Charlotte is Harriet’s only friend, so when Harriet decides to take a bookkeeping class, Charlotte is the one that she naturally turns to for a caregiver for her young daughter Alice. The plan is established that Harriet will go to her class and Charlotte will take Alice, along with her own three children, to the school fair. When Charlotte goes on Facebook for a few minutes, she looks up and Alice is gone. Okay, the stage is set for the increasing drama. Harriet isolates herself and mourns the loss of her daughter, but she also has carefully guarded secrets. Charlotte has her own secrets, and the police just want to uncover everything so that they can find the missing child. The story is told via narration by both Charlotte and Harriet and on a dual timeline of now and before Alice disappeared. The drama was intense, as befits a psychological thriller. The conclusion was satstfyingly surprising. Readers of thrillers wil enjoy this book and hope for more from this author! Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Fedral Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Conceirng the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
Nanna51 12 days ago
This is not the typical missing child book. It is so much more! From the beginning, I was drawn into this clever and unique plot. Charlotte is Harriet’s only friend, so when Harriet decides to take a bookkeeping class, Charlotte is the one that she naturally turns to for a caregiver for her young daughter Alice. The plan is established that Harriet will go to her class and Charlotte will take Alice, along with her own three children, to the school fair. When Charlotte goes on Facebook for a few minutes, she looks up and Alice is gone. Okay, the stage is set for the increasing drama. Harriet isolates herself and mourns the loss of her daughter, but she also has carefully guarded secrets. Charlotte has her own secrets, and the police just want to uncover everything so that they can find the missing child. The story is told via narration by both Charlotte and Harriet and on a dual timeline of now and before Alice disappeared. The drama was intense, as befits a psychological thriller. The conclusion was satstfyingly surprising. Readers of thrillers wil enjoy this book and hope for more from this author! Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Fedral Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Conceirng the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”