Her One Mistake

Her One Mistake

by Heidi Perks


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What should have been a fun-filled, carefree day takes a tragic turn for the worse for one mother when her best friend’s child goes missing in this “seriously page-turning” (Lisa Jewell, New York Times bestselling author), suspenseful, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.

Charlotte was supposed to be looking after the children, and she swears she was. But while her three kids are all safe and sound at the school fair, Alice, her best friend Harriet’s daughter, is nowhere to be found. Frantically searching everywhere, Charlotte knows she must find the courage to tell Harriet that her beloved only child is missing—and admit that she’s solely to blame.

Harriet, devastated by this unbearable loss, can no longer bring herself to speak to Charlotte again, much less trust her. Now, more isolated than ever and struggling to keep her marriage afloat, Harriet believes nothing and no one. But as the police bear down on both women, trying to piece together the puzzle of what happened to this little girl, dark secrets begin to surface—and Harriet discovers that trusting Charlotte again may be the only thing that will reunite her with her daughter....

This breathless and fast-paced novel—perfect for fans of Big Little Lies and The Couple Next Door—takes you on a chilling journey that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501198328
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 07/16/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 21,426
Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 5.00(h) x 0.90(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


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.

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Her One Mistake 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year 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.
aschae 1 days ago
Wow, this book! As a mother, this was an incredibly emotional read. The thought of losing your friend's child left a weight in my stomach and made me that much more determined to devour it as quickly as I could. An incredibly traumatic yet beautiful story about a mother's love, unthinkable loss and the secrets surrounding us. A new author to me and she has surely gained a new fan - will definitely be back for more!
Anonymous 4 months ago
Anonymous 6 months ago
This was an excellent book I couldn’t put it down ! You won’t be sorry if u purchase. Will watch for other books of hers as she writes them. Her first one was hit!!
Candice_S 10 months ago
This book is mesmerizing - I picked it up and devoured it in one day because I was transfixed with finding out what happened to little Alice. I absolutely love books with multiple perspectives and getting to hear both Charlotte and Harriot's stories and moving between when the abduction happened and present day was the PERFECT mix to keep the story moving along, while revealing bit after bit of what really happened and then finding yourself smack dab in the middle of a very different story than you expect. Which is all I will say, because there can be no spoilers for this one. Take the ride without expectation and prepare to be blown away. A perfect summer read!!!
Kristin975 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. Charlotte convinces her best friend Harriet to let her take her daughter Alice to the school fair with her own children. Charlotte says she was watching all the children as they were playing on an inflatable playground. But then Alice doesn't come out the end with the other children. When Harriet finds out, she goes into a downward spiral, with the help of her husband saying that she is "too fragile" to know what is going on. But is that his real motive? And how much blame should Charlotte have to handle, especially after it becomes known that she was posting on facebook right at the time Alice went missing? I really liked this book! It was super-fast, and there were many times that I got angry and found myself saying "what the @#$%" Definitely recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Valerian70 More than 1 year ago
I was pleasantly surprised by this book, it really does keep you guessing - you will probably figure out roughly whats going on but there are a few twisty bits and red herrings thrown in there. Admittedly I probably enjoyed this more because of my brain whirring to figure the sequence of events out than I did the actual book but it did get the old grey matter functioning (something that happens less and less with this genre as time goes on). The story has two narrators: Charlotte - Separated mum of three, still in touch with her ex and you get the impression that it's not just for the sake of the children. She's quite content with her life, has a fairly wide circle of friends but is happy to stay home of an evening and just relax once the children are in bed but she is making an effort to get out more, if only to show Tom that she still has a social life (particularly if it means he has to come over and look after the children). Seems to be a reliable narrator and you can really feel her anguish when Alice goes missing at the school fete under her care. Harriet - Married to Brian and the ultimate helicopter parent of Alice. Something just feels off about her from the start but this could be put down to how protective she is of her daughter. As things unfold you realise that she isn't the most reliable narrator and could well inhabit a fantasy world, but you are never sure who is telling the truth - her or Brian. If Brian is right then she is mentally ill and if she is right then Brian is the one with the problem; the author does make it cloudy and hard to unpick until quite a way in to the book. The book shifts timelines quite frequently and moves from the aftermath of Alice's disappearance to the events leading up to it and back again. With snatches told from the interrogation room where Charlotte is being interviewed again a couple of weeks after the disappearance and after some undisclosed event has taken place. Moving back through the day of the fete and even before Alice is born. The timeshifts are dealt with smoothly and really do help keep the tension ratcheted up. It deals with the procedural elements well and the FLO plays a large role in the book, usually they are glossed over but Angela is quite a strong presence in the story. It also details with the social media judgments passed on Charlotte and how this affects her daily life and her relationships with her friends and other school mums, it also shows the fallout on her children because of it. A really strong proponent of the genre and one I thoroughly enjoyed. READ THE UK RELEASE UNDER THE TITLE NOW YOU SEE HER.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RobinLovesReading More than 1 year ago
My Rating: 4.5 Stars How chilling to read a book when a little girl goes missing at a fair! Charlotte has three kids of her own, so being asked to take her friend's child, Alice, along to the local fair is not a problem. However, Charlotte is posting while on her phone, so just imagine her horror when Alice suddenly disappears. Oh the guilt! Oh the accusations! This chilling story is told in alternating timelines of before and now. What I thought when approaching this book and what I learned while reading were two entirely different things. Both timelines were so incredibly intense! Who couldn't feel sorry for the mother, Harriet, whose child has disappeared? And as a parent, I can't help but admit that I was extremely angry with Charlotte for allowing her need for social media to cause such a distraction. Without providing a spoiler, suffice it to say that things were not as they seemed in Her One Mistake. That fact, along with many other disturbing facts, make this book work. And, oh, it works so very well. This is a psychological thriller down to its very teeth. The story goes beyond the two mothers. There is Brian, Harriet's husband and Alice's father. All I can say about him is "Wow!"There is something else worth mentioning at this point: Harriet really wasn't close to any of her friends. Because any further comments about the story would indeed be spoilers, there is a trigger warning. There is domestic abuse, and it is because of such that a person might ask how far would they go when faced with an untenable situation. No doubt other readers won't take long to query as to who made what mistake. I have already stated that this book is chilling. It is equally suspenseful and compelling, and despite that, sometimes difficult to read. It is that level of difficulty that made this book nearly impossible to put down. Many thanks to Gallery Books and Edelweiss for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.
Carolefort More than 1 year ago
Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks is one of the most interesting psychological thrillers I have read in a long time. Charlotte, an extrovert single mom of three children has become best friends with Harriet, a reclusive married mother of one daughter, Alice. Because Harriet seems over-protective of her daughter, she has never left her with anyone until the day of the school fair. Because she needs to attend a class, Harriet drops Alice off with Charlotte so all the children can enjoy the fair. Then the worse that can happen, happens. Alice disappears while playing with Charlotte's kids. She is nowhere to be found. The police are called and Harriet and her husband must be notified. Imagine babysitting your best friend's child and then losing her without a trace. Charlotte's and Harriet's worlds are thrown upside down and their friendship severely damaged. What follows is so convoluted that the reader will never guess the outcome. The storyline is very original and fast-paced. This thriller does not disappoint. Highly recommended. Thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! Read it in 48hrs it was so good!
Twink More than 1 year ago
I never tire of suspense novels! My latest listen is Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks. And it was really, really good! Harriet is a very protective mother. She has never left her four year old daughter Alice with anyone. She's taking a course (that she doesn't want her husband to know about) so she agrees to let her best friend Charlotte take Alice to the school fair with her own children. But, the unthinkable happens - Alice goes missing....and Charlotte is to blame. Is there a more frightening premise!? Her One Mistake is told in alternating chapters from Harriet and Charlotte's viewpoints. As listeners we are privy to both women's thoughts, emotions and angst. But we also get a glimpse into their private lives. Despite being best friends, Harriet never really talks about herself, her past or her marriage. And there's a lot going on in Harriet's marriage. Her husband Brian is so well written. The public see one face, but Harriet lives with another. I love the back and forth method of storytelling. Although, it does ensure I stay up far too late, listening to just one more chapter. But where is Alice? Is she dead or alive? Perks throws in a plot twist that I didn't see coming at all. And the title? Her One Mistake - whose mistake? And what mistake? You'll have to listen to find out! There were three readers for Her One Mistake - Kirsty Dillon, Julie Maisey and Sally Scott. Now, I'm not sure who played what part, but they were all excellent. Charlotte's voice was more confident and Harriet's tone portrayed her hesitancy. All the emotions - anger, fear and grief that would come with a lost child are believable from both readers, But the narrator for Brian was really, really good. The quiet reasonable tone used belies something darker. And when that happens, the inflection is perfect. An all round excellent performance. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I love listening to books. You become immediately immersed in the tale by listening.
nookerCB More than 1 year ago
When I first started reading I thought this was going to be another one of those “girl” books. You know what I mean. Boy was I glad I was wrong. This is about two moms, their friendship, their lies and what could have happened when a child goes missing, About half way through the twist happens and it’s a great twist. I didn’t see it coming and neither will you. The emotions emitted from these 2 moms is amazing, I felt like I was there with them, my heart breaking as each day dragged on and no one could find the little 4 year old girl, who simply vanished one day. This author truly writes from the heart. Just read it already!
myinkonstone More than 1 year ago
What an emotional roller-coaster of a book! A parent’s worst nightmare is for something horrible to happen to one of our children, but what if the unthinkable happens… not to your own child, but to a friend’s that you’re caring for? What if it’s all your fault? I love a story that pushes the boundaries past the uncomfortable and forces you to process something you would otherwise turn away from. This one did not disappoint with an ending that was nothing less than perfection!
diane92345 More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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.