just like mother review: creepy dolls & cults

just like mother

Are you looking for your next horror book release to read? This year, there are some truly spine-tingling titles to choose from, including Anne Heltzel’s Just Like Mother.

If you’re looking for a heart-pounding read that will keep you up at night, look no further than this chilling debut novel. Just Like Mother tells the story of a woman who moves in with her cousin – only to find that something sinister is lurking. With an unpredictable plot and plenty of twists and turns, this book is sure to send chills down your spine.

synopsis of anne heltzel’s Just like mother

A girl would be such a blessing…

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…

Review of Just Like Mother

Holy shitballs! 😳 What did I just read? This book was oppressive, creepy AF, and downright satisfying!


Can we start with the disturbing cover? A creepy doll’s head. No. Nope! I don’t like dolls. And YOU won’t like the dolls in this book.

Anne Heltzel’s debut book is for fans of creepy cults, family drama, and thrill lovers!

The story starts with a glimpse at the cult Motherhood Collective that raised Maeve for the first decade of her life. Maeve escapes but leaves behind her beloved cousin Andrea. 20+ years later, Maeve reconnects with Andrea after finding a DNA match on 23 & Me. The story spirals from there….🌀

Heltzel handles the pacing of Just Like Mother well. She teases us with some backstory with Maeve at the Cult. To be honest, I would have liked more of that backstory. And the men of the story were quite literally sniveling cowards. These dudes left me shaking my head 🤦🏻‍♀️


I binged this one in 48 hours. Didn’t move my rear from the couch for so much as a sip of water. Couldn’t put it down! You’re going to need a stiff drink once you put down this one.

My only criticism is the character development of Andrea. Something felt amiss with her actions. No spoilers ahead, but I would have liked more depth with her character.

And that ending!!!! OMG 🔥

I don’t usually post trigger warnings, but this one needs them. Triggers: rape, abortion, abandonment, infertility, and loss of a baby.

If you like Just like mother, read…

If you like fiction about cults, family drama, and thrills and chills, read:

final thoughts…

I’m telling you this book is full of twists and turns! If you love horror and thrillers, you’ll love this one. If you’re looking for more reading inspiration and book suggestions, consider subscribing to my newsletter! Each month, I send out two emails with lots of tips, lists, and fun. Thank you for reading!