Mommy & Me | Fiction Reviews

A debut novel driven by it's characters tells the story of an unexpected mother and her independent daughter; a comedic take on the ups and downs of becoming a mother; a compelling tearjerker tells the story of a struggling child and loving but incapable mother

Greathead, Kate. Laura & Emma. S. & S. Mar. 2018. 352p. ISBN 9781501156601. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781501156632. F

DEBUT Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, Laura naïvely considers herself to be living a modest life. She does have a job after all—never mind it’s one created for her and sustained by her family connections. And she lives in a comparatively modest penthouse that is Harlem-adjacent. Despite her supposed frugality, she has never really had to work for anything and drifts along with a sense of financial security and being taken care of. Her passive take on life leads to an unexpected pregnancy that she doesn’t terminate, more by distracted accident than by intention. And so she has a daughter named Emma. Motherhood doesn’t much change the haphazard way Laura is used to dealing with life. When Emma develops into an independent young woman, it seems more in spite of her mother rather than because of her. VERDICT This novel makes a seemingly unlikable character sympathetic and interesting to the point that her story becomes unputdownable. Set against the backdrop of the 1980s to mid-1990s, this debut by a Moth ­StorySLAM champion will appeal to readers of character-driven women’s fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 9/25/17.]—Karen Core, Detroit P.L.

Rorick, Kate. The Baby Plan. Morrow. May 2018. 432p. ISBN 9780062684417. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062684424. F

Nathalie Kneller, her half-sister Lyndi, and makeup artist to the stars Sophia Nunez all get pregnant around the same time. ­Nathalie and David had meticulously planned for their pregnancy, which took a long time. Meanwhile, Lyndi basically tripped over her bisexual roommate Marcus’s shoes and got pregnant; Sophia, who’s older and already the mother of a teenager, had been dating rock singer Sebastian and ended up pregnant on a whim. Their paths to parenthood vary, but what to expect when you’re expecting is new territory no matter who you are. Rorick takes a break from writing historical romance (as Kate Noble) to pen this laugh-out-loud, over-the-top foray into motherhood. From placenta cupcakes to a pregnancy announcement made by barfing in the Thanksgiving cornucopia to high-methane pregnancy farts, readers will roar with laughter. Funny business aside, ­Rorick addresses issues of Nathalie’s deceased mother and how that affects her own pregnancy, in addition to her relationships with Lyndi and her stepmother, Kathy. VERDICT A hoot for women looking for something to brighten their day.—Erin Holt, Williamson Cty. P.L., Franklin, TN

Wolfson, Brianna. Rosie Colored Glasses. Mira: Harlequin. Feb. 2018. 336p. ISBN 9780778330691. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488022890. F

DEBUT Wolfson turns to the story of her own childhood and the tragic death of her mother in this first novel. Uptight Rex and carefree Rosie fell in love in New York, then 12 years later, their ten-year-old daughter Willow is navigating between the houses and lives of her divorced parents. She always sides with Rosie, who treats her children as miniature adults for fun, such as when the kids stay up all night to dance to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Willow is increasingly troubled; she has worn the same set of clothes for years, wets her bed, and doesn’t have any friends at school, but she doesn’t recognize all is not well until Rosie’s bouts of depression and Vicodin abuse lead her to more dangerous acts. Wolfson takes the reader into the heart of a frightened girl and shows a mother who adores her children but cannot give them what they need. VERDICT This title demonstrates the power and limitations of love and the ability of family to heal. Will appeal to readers who appreciate compelling tearjerkers without simple happy endings. [See Prepub Alert, 8/28/17.]—Jan Marry, Lanexa, VA

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