Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Julie's Review: Mothers & Daughters

Summary: A rich and luminous novel about three generations of women in one family: the love they share, the dreams they refuse to surrender, and the secrets they hold. Samantha is lost in the joys of new motherhood—the softness of her eight-month-old daughter’s skin, the lovely weight of her child in her arms—but in trading her artistic dreams to care for her child, Sam worries she’s lost something of herself. And she is still mourning another loss: her mother, Iris, died just one year ago. When a box of Iris’s belongings arrives on Sam’s doorstep, she discovers links to pieces of her family history but is puzzled by much of the information the box contains. She learns that her grandmother Violet left New York City as an eleven-year-old girl, traveling by herself to the Midwest in search of a better life. But what was Violet’s real reason for leaving? And how could she have made that trip alone at such a tender age? In confronting secrets from her family’s past, Sam comes to terms with deep secrets from her own. Moving back and forth in time between the stories of Sam, Violet, and Iris, Mothers and Daughters is the spellbinding tale of three remarkable women connected across a century by the complex wonder of motherhood. ~raemeadows.com

Review: I love when an author chooses to tell us the story of a family from three different view points. Ms. Meadows chose to tell us the story from Sam, Iris and Violet's point of views. Mothers and Daughters is a spectacular novel of these three women's lives and how they shaped each other.

Samantha, Sam, is a new mother and is consumed by her role in Ella's life. She's a bit of a nervous Nelly in this role, which to me was daunting at times. I get being a new mother can be overwhelming and stressful, but part of me wondered if she was going through postpartum depression.

Iris, is Sam's mom and she's dying of cancer. After her divorce from her husband, she picked up her life and moved to Sanibel Island. She wanted to start over and enjoy finding out who she was without the constraints of her former life.

Violet, is Iris' mom, who passed away when Samantha was a baby. She was 11 years old when her mother put her on the Orphan Train from New York City, heading west to a new life. We get to know Violet as a young girl living on the streets of New York to her travels West for a new life.

Of all three stories, Violet's was the one that I sank myself into. The grittiness of her life, the stark reality of it, consumed me. Ms. Meadows did a fantastic job of detailing the city during the time period and of the long train ride to the Midwest. I can't imagine how Violet had to chose between a better life and staying with her mom Lilibeth, who was a drug addict. I can't fathom what her life must have been like as an adult constantly wondering about her mom and what her life could have been like. How upsetting it must have been for her. No wonder she didn't know how to be a loving mother, since she didn't have a good example.

Ms. Meadows did a great job of pulling all three stories together but yet each had their own distinctive voice. I always find it fascinating how our relationship with our mother defines us in ways that we don't always understand or comprehend. It's this aspect of the book that I found intriguing.

Ms. Meadows does a superb job of wrapping up each story, but I will admit I wanted just a little more. I wanted to know what Sam found out about Violet and her history.

If you love books about familial relationships, then on 3/29/2011, you need to get your copy of Mothers and Daughters.

I must also add that the ARC came in the most beautiful package. It felt like a beautiful gift to unveil. I don't think the picture of the cover does it justice. The colors are so vibrant and bright making it extremely appealing to the senses.

Thanks to Henry Holt for sending me an ARC of the book to read!

Final Take: 4.75/5



Thiago March 15, 2011 at 9:23 AM  

I loved the cover - I've ever loved the books' covers; it's just amazing. Lots of points of view are interesting, too. I loved it - even in my books I don't do that! lol lol lol!!

But, at least, I love to read in other authors' books.


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