#aww2021 · 2021 Reviews · contemporary fiction · new release

New Release Book Review: The Mistake by Katie McMahon

Title: The Mistake

Author: Katie McMahon

Published: March 2nd 2021

Publisher: Echo Publishing

Pages: 400

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 4 stars

I couldn’t believe that Bec would, after all these years, bring the whole thing up so … casually.

Bec and Kate are sisters, but they couldn’t be less alike.

Bec lives the domestic dream with her surgeon husband Stuart and three perfect children. So why is she so attracted to free-spirited Ryan?

Kate’s life is hardly a dream. But when she meets Adam — tall, kind, funny — things start looking up. Until she finds out he’s been keeping secrets from her.

Then there is the incident both sisters are desperate to ignore …

Will they discover that some mistakes can’t be put right?

For fans of Liane Moriarty and Marian Keyes comes a tantalising, suspenseful read that will have you addictively turning the pages.


The Mistake is the sensational debut from a fresh new voice in Australian contemporary fiction, Katie McMahon. A story of sisterhood, secrets, the past, relationships, choices and personal struggles, The Mistake is an illuminating read that I found really entertaining.

The Mistake provides an imitate portrait of the lives of two very different sisters, Bec and Kate. While Bec lives quite the privileged existence as a doctor’s wife, with her perfect home and family, she still longs for some excitement in her life. Is she willing to risk it all for a dalliance? On the other hand, Bec’s sister Kate has been single for years, choosing to dedicate her life to academic work. However, Kate is tempted to enter into a relationship with Adam, a man with charms she cannot resist. But Adam is hiding something from Kate. What will Kate do when she discovers his secrets? This debut offering by Katie McMahon takes a penetrating look at right versus wrong and the impact of personal errors.

The Mistake was written by author Katie McMahon after she attended one of bestselling author Fiona McIntosh’s highly regarded writing masterclass courses. I have enjoyed the books of a number of other authors who have graduated from this class, so I was naturally very interested in The Mistake. With a glowing front cover endorsement from Liane Moriarty, I was super keen to read this one. There were no regrets attached to picking up The Mistake, it was a riveting read!

I continue to be fascinated by sister based dynamics and I think this can be attributed to my own family circumstances growing up with only a younger brother and no sisters. It was interesting to see such vastly different siblings in this novel. McMahon has a clear understanding of the intricate relations between sisters and she is also able to examine their separate identities. Within the pages of The Mistake we as the reader are presented with two polar opposite individuals in terms of thoughts, feelings, actions and life situations, but the family connection is still there. Through the use of a shifting first-person style narrative, we are privy to the inner mindset and emotions of both sisters. I enjoyed the company of both these women for the duration of the novel.

The Mistake is a sort of hybrid style novel that pulls in genres such as women’s fiction, romance, suspense and psychological elements to direct the narrative. Themes of family, marriage, sibling relationships, parenting, careers, trust, the past, trauma, health crisis, infidelity, trust and identity are prevalent. Many of these thought-provoking themes throw up some revealing moments and interesting situations for the characters in The Mistake to contend with. I am sure Katie McMahon’s novel would work well with book clubs as there is plenty to discuss due to the issues raised.

Overall, I connected to this novel. I liked the characters, the storyline was intriguing and unpredictable. The pace is even and McMahon works hard to build the tension level throughout. I thought it was all closed off in a believable manner. Please do take a chance on this debut author and her first novel, The Mistake is an edgy read that I would happily pass onto others to enjoy.

The Mistake by Katie McMahon was published on 2nd March 2021 by Echo Publishing. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Mistake, Katie McMahon, visit here.

*Thanks extended to Echo Publishing for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.

The Mistake is book #25 of the 2021 Australian Women Writers Challenge

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