Mothers & Daughters by Rae Meadows is the story of three women.
Sam is a new mother who is having a hard time adjusting to life with a daughter of her own. She is afraid to leave Ella with anyone else and has been unable to get back to her career as a potter after nearly a year. Her relationship with her husband has changed as well..." Since the baby, it seemed her feelings toward him required moment-to moment readjustment."
Sam's mother Iris died just before Ella was born. A box containing mementos of Iris's life ends up on Sam's doorstep. As she goes through the box, she discovers things she never learned about her mother while she was alive. And her grandmother Violet as well.
Meadows explores the mother/daughter dynamic between each of the women. Each women's past influences how she mothers her own daughter. The daughters really don't know their mothers intimately. The story of each of the women is told in revolving chapters.
I became so invested in the story of Violet and her mother Lilibeth. Violet ended up on an Orphan Train, sent from New York City to the arms of a 'suitable' home. I was fascinated by her story and found myself wanting more than was written. Without giving away the storyline, Iris's life saddened me. Parts of her tale moved me to tears. I found Sam a bit hard to like in the beginning - she seemed somewhat self indulgent, but I came to appreciate her by the end of the book.
I quite enjoyed discovering who each woman was, how her life was shaped and how that in turn influenced the next generation. A thoughtful book that might make you take a second look at the relationship you have with your own mother.
Read an excerpt of Mothers & Daughters. Or listen to an excerpt. Book clubs - a reading guide is available.You can find Meadows on Twitter as well.