Svärmodern The Mother-in-Law

As a single mother, Åsa and her son have always been incredibly close. But their relationship that Åsa has always taken for granted abruptly changes when the son meets a new girlfriend. When the young couple urgently needs somewhere to stay, Åsa invites them to move in with her. Living with her adult son and girlfriend places a lot of new demands on their relationships however. Åsa goes to great lengths to form a connection with her daughter-in-law, but is instead considered to be interfering by the couple. When Åsa at one point, with the best intentions, stumbles upon some information she wasn’t supposed to know, it is the prelude to a conflict that will tear her family apart.

Misunderstood, Åsa is also soon left with a new image of her son’s childhood, filled with accusations she doesn’t recognize. Are these really his own words, or is he under someone else’s influence? It becomes painfully apparent to Åsa that is no longer the most important person in her son’s life, that she’s been replaced by the daughter-in-law. When Åsa’s own mother passes away, she finds herself alone, with no one left to fend in her corner.


Shortlisted for the Storytel Awards (Best Fiction) Sweden 2021
Close award list


  • “A shrewd novel highly worth the read.”

    Amelia, Sweden

  • “Moa’s thought-provoking page-turner would make the perfect TV-series.”

    Hallands Nyheter, Sweden

  • “Herngren simply is incredibly talented at creating an ambience and generating strong emotions.”

    Dala-Demokraten, Sweden

  • “[Moa Herngren] tells with warmth and perceptiveness. /…/ The story grows more profound and encompasses other layers than mother-in-laws and adult children breaking away from their parents. Moa Herngren portrays spot-on just how manipulative a collective can act and how self-fulfilling slander is, as the one constantly considered to be weird eventually will start behaving weirdly. /…/ Moa Herngren has accomplished the feat of making the reader openminded towards the fact that every interpersonal conflict has more sides to it. And most important of all: she does so with warmth and sensitivity.”

    Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden

  • “A true page-turner.”

    P4 Kulturnytt, Sweden

  • “Yet another pageturner from Moa Herngren.”

    Sveriges Radio, Sweden

  • “[Moa Herngren] knows exactly how to approach a relationship drama with family secrets boiling beneath the surface. Here we are served a story that continuously needs reassessing as the narrative’s perspective shifts, which makes it both interesting and genuinely exciting. Best: the perfect pitch in dialogue and reflections. For the reader looking for a relationship-driven pageturner.

    Tara, Sweden

  • “Moa Herngren has written a thought-provoking and rather heartbreaking novel that pinpoints just how hard it can be to communicate and how it isn’t always so easy to understand that others don’t perceive us the same way that we view ourselves. With a perceptive gaze she weaves in situations that many will likely be able to relate to.”

    Journalisten, Sweden

  • “Moa Herngren doesn’t fall for the temptation to demonize neither the mum nor the son. /…/ It’s frequently breathlessly skilfully told, with all the ugly little consequences that will follow in the wake of a wrecked family relationship.”

    Dagens Nyheter, Sweden

  • “Masterfully written about relationships. /…/ I hadn’t read Moa Herngren before. What a discovery! /…/ It’s gripping. I become truly invested. Now I can’t wait to read Moa Herngren’s The Divorce.”

    Litteraturmagazinet, Sweden

  • “When Moa Herngren in her new pageturner takes on the [mean mother-in-law] phenomenon it makes for a distressing read but also constant entertainment.”

    Göteborgsposten, Sweden

  • The Mother-in-Law you read with the heart in one’s throat and a budding feeling of sorrow.”

    Blekinge Läns Tidning, Sweden

  • “[Herngren] has created an entertaining caricature of a woman who terrorizes those she loves the most. /…/ Moa Herngren has a knack for poking at difficult relationships many can recognize themselves in. /…/ The many embarassing situations are thoroughly entertaining. /…/ The reader should take notes (…): Be careful to insist that everyone else should go to therapy. Because the horror, imagine if its yourself that is the reason for why others are struggling. This is perhaps the most important message in this family-horror novel that is a great choice of an entertaining summer read.”

    Aftenposten, Norway

Moa Herngren
  • Fiction
Reading material

Swedish edition

Rights sold

Czech Republic, Metafora

Denmark, Grønningen 1

Finland, Gummerus

Germany, Kein & Aber

Iceland, Ugla

Norway, Kagge

Poland, Albatros

Slovenia, HKZ

Sweden, Norstedts

Ukraine, Nora-Druk

More From Moa Herngren