Book Review: Sins of the Mother

SINS OF THE MOTHER | August Norman
(Caitlin Bergman #2)
09.08.2020 | Crooked Lane Books
Rating: 4.5/5 stars


Caitlin Bergman’s mother is dead. That’s what the award-winning journalist has been telling everyone for the past forty years. It’s easier to explain death than how Maya abandoned her as an infant and then fell off the map. A  rural sheriff has reached out to Caitlin to invite her to coastal Oregon to identify a body believed to be the remains of her mother. Unfortunately, the body has been maimed to a level that makes it hard to identify. The investigation isn’t hopeless, as Caitlin is given access to the diary of her mother and learns about her life in a cult known as the Daughters of God. The very same cult whose property was the land on which the body was found and which has been accused of kidnapping a local teenage girl. What was Caitlin’s mother a part of? How did she end up dead?

I absolutely love a good cult-based story and August Norman has hit a homerun with SINS OF THE MOTHER!

Let’s start with the question everyone has for books in a series…can this one be read as a stand-alone? Most definitely! I did not read the first book in this series and never felt any gaps in the story as a result of this. I do believe there were a few hints to the events of the first book, but nothing that needed explaining past their mention. 


August Norman has chosen to headline this series with the main character of Caitlin Bergman who is incredibly strong-willed, passionate, and filled with a desire to find the truth in any situation. She is a journalist interested in telling stories that help others and point out injustices in society that need to be fixed. Caitlin is the type of woman crime fiction needs more representation from. She is not meek or mild. She is strong and driven. Despite having a history with losing her mother, Norman does not use this element as a downfall to Caitlin’s character, but something that drives her to be better each and every day. Tying such a defining character aspect to this story’s main plot serves to truly highlight Caitlin’s personality and past all at the same time. 

In addition to shining a light on Caitlin’s personal life, Norman gifts the reader an all out entertaining story surrounding a cult brimming with deception and mystery. I loved learning the origins of the Daughters of God and how they got to their modern day state of affairs. I felt like multiple members of the cult were represented and portrayed to give the reader a well-rounded view of the organization. As with most cult stories, there is an eccentric leader at the core and this one has quite a character! 

SINS OF THE MOTHER is a fantastic read that feels like it was ripped from the screen. This is the fictional documentary mixed with crime fiction you didn’t realize you needed in your life!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

A huge thank you to Books Forward PR and Crooked Lane Books for my gifted copy!

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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