Mothers & Daughters

Holt. Apr. 2011. c.272p. ISBN 9780805093834. $25. F
New mother Samantha is dealing with a lot: her inability to reengage with her career or find interest in anything except her baby daughter, a souring relationship with her husband, and the recent death of her mother. When she receives a box of her mother's things that had been misplaced for years, Samantha discovers the truth about her grandmother Violet's upbringing in the Bronx as a neglected child, and she comes to understand her mother—and herself—in new ways. Samantha makes two controversial decisions, either of which could have served as the novel's centerpiece. Readers may be a bit surprised by the relatively brief treatment of these two major issues and their impact on Samantha. However, the multigenerational story, which jumps back and forth in time, is poignant, and Meadows (No One Tells Everything) brings to light an interesting slice of American social history through Violet's journey from New York on the Children's Aid Society's "orphan train."
VERDICT An engaging story of three generations of strong women and the choices they make.
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