All posts tagged: mothers and daughters

Maryanne O’Hara and I chat about LITTLE MATCHES, a gorgeous tribute to her late daughter, who suffered from cystic fibrosis, transformational healing, reiki, end-of-life doulas, & so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  What happens when your only child dies of a tragic genetic disease and you’re left to grapple with the meaning of life? ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS | ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Memoir Monday: Mental Health Awareness Month What happens when your only child dies of a tragic genetic disease and you’re left to grapple with the meaning of life? This is the overarching question that plaques novelist Maryanne O’Hara as she makes sense of the senseless loss of her adult daughter, Caitlin, following a near-lifelong battle of cystic fibrosis (CF) in her forthcoming memoir, LITTLE MATCHES (HarperOne, April 20 2021). Immediately, I was enthralled with the deep well of questions this wise writer posits to the reader: Where is she?Is she?Is there more to life than this life?Does consciousness survive death?Does my existence have any purpose?Does anyone’s? Of course, death is the only certainty in life and while that’s ironic (and a bit glib), there is so much life that happens in that interstitial space. This is why I think I love LITTLE MATCHES. Maryanne and her husband, Nick, …

Sally Hepworth on her fabulous new THE GOOD SISTER, featuring twin sisters, mental health elements, a baby, and so much more, plus the books she’s raving about.

By Leslie Lindsay  A neuro-atypical librarian decides to have a baby for her (fraternal) twin sister, but the story is so gorgeous, perceptive, and multi-faceted. The Most Anticipated Book of 2021: CNN.com • E!Online • Bustle • Goodreads • PopSugar • SheReads • Parade.com • Bookish ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ April Spotlight: Siblings I have been a fan of Sally Hepworth’s writing since the beginning, so when I discovered her new book, THE GOOD SISTER (St. Martin’s Press, April 13), I knew I had to get my hands on it–not only does it deal with adult fraternal twin sisters, but it also touches on mental health issues, family dysfunction, and mystery. Rose and Fern Castle are fraternal twins, and as different as night and day. Rose is the ‘responsible one,’ and rounder, called “Rosie Round,” by their mother, a nickname she detests (understandably). Rose marries, is an interior decorator. Fern, tall and willowy, slightly quirky, she hasn’t been formally diagnosed, but is likely on the spectrum, with sensory issues and an almost very literal interpretation of the world. What’s …

Debut author Ashley audrain talks about her ravishingly dark and twisted THE PUSH, about motherhood, the postpartum period, intergenerational trauma, family legacy + reading list, more

By Leslie Lindsay  Deliciously dark and juicy psychological drama–a DEBUT–you’ll be talking about long after you turn the last page, the issues and concerns surrounding motherhood, family history, genetics, and more.  ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ THE PUSH (forthcoming from Pamela Dorman Books/PRH January 5, 2021) is one of those buzzy–OMG–books you’ll devour in one sitting. Is it a conversation-started? You bet. Will have it have you puzzling out your own maternal history–going back generations? Yes, that too. Here, we meet Blythe Connor, a woman whose experience of motherhood is not at all what she imagine. Blythe is determined to be the warm, caring, generous mother she herself never had. Still, she can’t let go of the disturbing, nagging thought that her daughter, Violet is not like other children. Is something ‘off?’ She’s distant, defiant, stubborn, antisocial, angry. Is she dangerous? Is Blythe just exhausted? Is it because Blythe doesn’t have much of a mother figure and her childhood was distorted? And her mother’s childhood, too? Maybe. Here we examine motherhood in the most …

Kendra Atleework talks about personal loss & shared loss, homesickness, what it means to leave a place & return, loving her high desert home, and so much more in her memoir MIRACLE COUNTRY

By Leslie Lindsay  A rare and powerful memoir combing aspects of travel, history, environmental writing with autobiography and told in luminous prose. ~MEMOIR MONDAY| ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ On the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevadas, a tiny town known as Swall Meadows resides. A bit farther south, a larger (but still small) town of Bishop lies cradled in the hands of Owens Valley California. This is the primary setting of MIRACLE COUNTRY (Algonquin Books, July 14) by debut author Kendra Atleework. I was initially drawn to MIRACLE COUNTRY because I have a ‘thing’ with land and geography, how it shapes one’s worldview, art, and essence.Having recently visited a high desert myself, I was intrigued and enthralled with this grittier, rustic side of life–from raging wildfires to blizzards and gale-force winds, this area witnesses it all. MIRACLE COUNTRY blends autobiography with environmental writing along with history. Here, we learn about the origins of L.A. (Owens Valley being just a few hours away), and how the Los Angeles Aqueduct was developed to usher water to the sprawling metropolis, rich with …

Maya Shanbhag Lang talks about her sublime memoir, WHAT WE CARRY, how it’s really about negotiating adulthood, but also about traditional family roles, estrangement, how her daughter is such a gift, plus living with compassion.

By Leslie Lindsay  If family shapes us, how can we break free from the myths and injustices? What if those stories were never true in the first place? ~MEMOIR MONDAY|ALWAYS WITH BOOK~ A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK PICK Featured on GOOD MORNING AMERICA Starred Review LIBRARY JOURNAL “What if we aren’t really mothers at all, but daughters, reaching back to be mothered?” This is a paraphrased section from Maya Lang’s exquisite memoir, WHAT WE CARRY (Dial Press, April 2020), which I absolutely loved. This story shimmers with precision and perception; it’s at once raw and graceful, a tender exploration of family and fraught mother-daughter relationships. Maya Shanbhag Lang grew up idolizing her ‘can do’ physician mother, who immigrated to the U.S. from India to complete her residency in psychiatry, while raising her children and keeping a traditional Indian home. Maya’s mother had always been caring and supportive, but then…something shifted, something Maya didn’t understand. Now, in Seattle, 3,000 miles from her mother, Maya is married and expecting her first baby. She’s alone in a new city and a husband who travels for work. And …

Searingly emeshed mother-daughter tale of love and betrayal, of a daughter living in the shadow of her complicated mother, of the consequences of complicity in WILD GAME

By Leslie Lindsay  Riveting story told in glorious prose, WILD GAME is elegantly told about a seriously dysfunctional relationship between a mother and daughter–and the mother’s lover. NAMED A BEST FALL BOOK BY… People * Refinery29 * Entertainment Weekly * BuzzFeed * NPR’s On Point * Town & Country * Real Simple * New York Post * Palm Beach Post * Toronto Star * Orange Country Register * Bustle * Bookish * BookPage * Kirkus* BBC Culture* Debutiful ~MEMOIR MONDAY~ Set mostly in Cape Cod in the early-mid 1980s, WILD GAME (HMH, October 15 2019) by Adrienne Brodeur might be *the* buzz-iest memoirs of the fall. And it’s deserved. Adrienne is fourteen when her mother, Malabar, wakes her daughter at midnight with the proclamation that a family friend–and also the best friend of Malabar’s husband (Adrienne’s stepfather, Charles) has kissed her. She’s beaming. She’s thrilled. The juicy details! Malabar wishes to confide in her daughter, to turn her into a secret accomplice in her torrid affair with this family friend, Ben Souther, who is also married. And Adrienne is eager to do …

Deceitful, Dark, & Twisted THE NANNY is about villians, the art world, the slippery nature of memory; plus Gilly Macmillan talks about her ideal writing day, her next book, and more

By Leslie Lindsay NYT Bestselling author, Gilly Macmillan is back with this dark, original, and diabolically clever tale of family secrets, set in a U.K. manor home. I’ve read all of Gilly Macmillan’s books and I think THE NANNY (September 10 William Morrow) must be her darkest, most sinister tale yet. Each one just gets better and better. Years ago, in 1988, 7-year old Jo’s (Jocelyn) nanny, Hannah, left without a trace. Jo was devastated. No one spoke of her again. Jo grew up bitter and distanced from her family; there was very little relationship between she and her mother Virginia (Ginny). Eventually, Jo leaves her aristocratic family and home–Lake Hall–behind for California. She marries and works in the art world–until her husband unexpectedly dies. It’s been thirty years, and Jo must return home to Lake Hall. She’s dreading this. She and her mother are estranged and there’s a stuffiness to this upper class life she desperately wishes to avoid. While she and her daughter, Ruby, are kayaking in the lake, they discover a human skull. This couldn’t be her long-lost nanny, could it? And then there’s …

Can bees save you? Absolutely. Meredith May talks about her glowing memoir, THE HONEY BUS, what we can do to save the bees, and how hard writing can be

By Leslie Lindsay  A glowing, powerful memoir about one girl’s courage to overcome her mother’s dysfunction under the tutelage of her bee keeper grandfather.  I was absolutely entranced by THE HONEY BUS (HarperCollins/Park Row April 2), which is a memoir at heart, but so much more. Meredith May is 5 when her parents divorce and she, her mother, and younger brother leave Rhode Island for California where May’s grandparents live. The setting–Big Sur, Carmel, and the Palo Colorado Canyon–oh! I could taste the sea salt, smell the wild sage and eucalyptus. These sensory details were like a warm, languid summer’s day. But things weren’t all that great for Meredith and her younger brother, Matthew. Living with their maternal grandparents in a small home was tense. Meredith had to share a bed with her highly dysfunctional and despondent mother. Still, she had something–and someone–her rugged and caring grandfather, Frank, a beekeeper. Through a very touching narrative, Meredith leads readers through the ‘honey bus,’ and we experience, through her young eyes, the miraculous abilities of bees. Part ‘bee-keeping 101,’ THE HONEY BUS is about the wisdom …

Family Estrangement is very real and very hurtful. Harriet Brown talks about this, plus forgiveness and writing with an open heart in SHADOW DAUGHTER

By Leslie Lindsay  An interwoven tapestry of personal story and research, SHADOW DAUGHTER: A MEMOIR OF ESTRANGEMENT  sets out to uncover the guilt, trauma, rage, betrayal, and more when it comes to family estrangement.  Research shows that seven percent of all people are estranged from a parent or sibling. But what, exactly, does estrangement consist of? No contact whatsoever? A greeting card here and there? What if you just try to avoid that person? And what about the shame factor? What kind of person breaks ties with their family? And so it goes. Harriet Brown deftly interweaves her personal story of estrangement with her mother, along with anecdotes, plus research from clinicians and researchers, giving a broader definition of ‘estrangement.’ SHADOW DAUGHTER (DaCapo Press, November 2018) reads a bit academically–that is, it’s packed with much research–but don’t let that fool you. Brown is sympathetic, intelligent, and nurturing. She and her mother have gone in cycles of connection and estrangement nearly all of her life. On the day of her mother’s funeral, following a battle with cancer, Brown is …

What happens when a ‘starving, razor-clawed beast is inside your body flicking to get out?’ Tessa Fontaine talks about this & more in THE ELECTRIC WOMAN

By Leslie Lindsay Marvels and miracles. Mothers and daughters. Life and death. I promise, THE ELECTRIC WOMAN will stun and captivate you and then you’ll want to read it all over again. Tessa Fontaine is hear chatting about joining a traveling side show, her love of writing, her favorite M&Ms and so much more.  I am such a sucker for a fabulous memoir so when this one came knocking, I was mesmerized. And it’s so well-written, THE ELECTRIC WOMAN (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux May 2018) practically sings; I cannot stop thinking about–and talking about–this book. Tessa Fontaine expertly braids two tales of death-defying acts into one bold, remarkable narrative–that of her 2013 season with the World of Wonders, the last official traveling sideshow in America and that of her mother, who suffered a severe stroke in 2010. Her mother is told countess times, ‘this is the end,’ but she is determined not to let go of this world. On stages all across America, Tessa is eating fire, charming snakes, and performing as the electric woman–but she’s thinking of her mother–who …