We’ve been patiently waiting for months and months, and the day has finally come for this year’s most anticipated debut to be shared with the world. Ashley Audrain‘s debut novel, The Push is being published today in the US and Canada (Penguin Random House). The UK publication will follow swiftly, on the 7th January.

From the very start of the book’s journey, it has taken the publishing world by storm. Last year, it broke industry records following its submission, selling into 20 territories in under two weeks. During the summer, the book received a name-check in Caroline Corcoran’s article on the growth of the ‘mum noir’ trend, and more gritty portrayals of motherhood in fiction. And we were delighted to confirm that Film & TV rights have already been snapped up by Heyday Television following a hotly contested nine-way auction.

If the critical response and media attention so far is anything to go by, Ashley is already primed for phenomenal transatlantic success:

Stateside, the book is doing excellently- the American Bookseller’s Association has announced it as one of their ‘Indie Next Great Reads‘ pick for January, and it was featured by Publisher’s Marketplace in their Buzz Books Fall/Winter preview guide, as well as being called “spellbinding”  in a recent BookPage review. Today, Ashley will be joining Politics and Prose Bookstore’s Psychological Suspense Panel to discuss her process behind suspense writing. In terms of popular women’s publications, if you’ve read the latest edition of Harper’s Bazaar, you’ll have seen a gorgeous image of Ashley aside her book, which was crowned “a thrilling debut“; the novel was also highlighted in Marie-Claire’s round-up of 2021 releases to pre-order immediately, and a ‘Best Books for Working Moms‘ feature in Working Mother. Ashley will additionally be gracing the airwaves for her confirmed local radio and podcast tour.

Ashley, a Toronto native, is something of a literary hometown hero, and subsequently has a jam-packed domestic publicity tour. Remarkably, following its Canadian NetGalley e-blast, all 200 download slots had been claimed in the first 2 hours. The Push will be a key title in all major retailer promotions throughout the year during key buyer periods – from Mother’s Day, to ‘Galentines’ Day, to summertime, to Christmas. Alongside this, it will feature in popular outlets including  (but not limited to) Toronto StarGlobe and Mail , Toronto Life and Quill & Quire. Excitingly, Ashley will make a virtual appearance at Canada’s decades-old literary festival, Wordfest, and will give a highly anticipated  talk at the Toronto Public Library in February. And, over a dozen high-engagement outlets will be taking part in the blog tour.

In the UK, where the book will be released on the 7th Jan in its stunning hardback jacket, The Push has been included in glitzy round-ups like Grazia’s feature on ‘Books We’re Looking Forward To Reading in 2021’, and British Vogue‘s list of 2021’s ‘Most Dazzling Debut Novels’. There was also plenty of fun had at the sold-out proof party back in September, hosted by Henley Literature Festival. And back in the summer, following the sharing of the ARC on NetGalley, requests for the title spiked, and it received uncommonly high average reader ratings for the site.

This book’s significance lies in its power to both render readers speechless and ignite fiery dialogue. You will find yourself lost in the swathes of new mother Blythe’s doubt and anxiety, as she struggles to bond with her daughter, who’s exhibiting increasingly deviant behaviour. As she reckons with her troubled past as well as the present, we are left to ponder on the endlessly fascinating question of ‘nature vs nurture’…

Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had.

But in the thick of motherhood’s exhausting early days, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter–she doesn’t behave like most children do.

Or is it all in Blythe’s head? Her husband, Fox, says she’s imagining things. The more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity, and the more we begin to question what Blythe is telling us about her life as well.

Then their son Sam is born–and with him, Blythe has the blissful connection she’d always imagined with her child. Even Violet seems to love her little brother. But when life as they know it is changed in an instant, the devastating fall-out forces Blythe to face the truth.

The Push is a tour de force you will read in a sitting, an utterly immersive novel that will challenge everything you think you know about motherhood, about what we owe our children, and what it feels like when women are not believed.


Lucky early readers have been floored by Ashley’s breath-taking storyline and her darkly rich prose:

‘This is a sterling addition to the burgeoning canon of bad seed suspense, from an arrestingly original new voice.’ Publishers Weekly Starred Review

‘Both an absorbing thriller and an intense, profound look at the heartbreaking ways motherhood can go wrong, this is sure to provoke discussion.’ Booklist

‘Well thought out , vividly realised and gripping, this is a clever concept novel that manipulates the fears and insecurities almost every mother has, however happy her own childhood … fierce gothic energy’ The Guardian 

An inventive twist on the psychological thriller formula … Audrain sustains the suspense expertly through assured handling of her unravelling protagonist’s voice’ The Sunday Times 

‘Starkly original and compulsively readable, Ashley Audrain’s THE PUSH is a deep dive into the darkest nooks and crannies of motherhood.’ Kristin Hannah, bestselling author of The Nightingale

‘Ashley Audrain’s The Push is not only a propulsively entertaining, read-in-one-sitting novel, it is also a deeply provocative and fearless look at motherhood written in some of the prettiest prose you’ll read all year.’ Aimee Molloy, New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Mother

‘Written with an unflinching eye and a stylistically sharp, tight economy “The Push” is a single-sitting read, as suspenseful as any thriller, as thoughtful as any literary novel, with an almost physical force behind each of its turns and revelations. Audrain’s debut is a stunning, devastating novel and, frankly, one hell of a way to start a year of reading.’ Toronto Star

Dripping with emotion and taut with tension, The Push is a lyrical, searing dissection of motherhood, mental health and generational trauma. Ashley is a radiant new voice in the literary suspense genre, and this is a book that people will be talking about for years to come – so join the conversation, and purchase your copy today. And if you’re in the UK, remember that there’s still time to pre-order for this Thursday.