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Monday, August 2, 2021

Review: All My Mothers

Title: All My Mothers
Author: Joanna Glen

Publisher: 28th July 2021 by HarperCollins Publishers Australia

Pages: 400 pages

How I Read It: ARC book

Genre: women’s fiction 

My Rating: 3.5 crowns


From the author of the Costa shortlisted debut, The Other Half of Augusta Hope, comes the story of one girl’s journey to find her birth mother, and her realisation that mothers – and family – can be discovered in the most unexpected of places…

London, 1980s. Though she has a comfortable, privileged life, Eva Martínez-Green is deeply unhappy. The only child of an emotionally absent mother and a physically absent father, Eva has grown up in a cold, unloving house. But Eva is convinced that all is not as it seems. Why are there no baby pictures of her? Why do her parents avoid all questions about her early years?

When her parents’ relationship crumbles, Eva begins looking for a different, better life: a proper family, a perfect mother, and, importantly, real love. Her desire to find where she belongs leads Eva on a journey spanning years and continents – and, along the way, she meets women who challenge her idea of what a mother should be, and who will change her life forever…

My Thoughts

I was eager to read Joanna’s latest book as her previous one, The Other Half of Augusta Hope, was met with such great acclaim and I really enjoyed it. This one is likewise inviting but for different reasons. 

‘Some days heaven touches Earth.

And do we notice it at the time?

Or do we know it later - when heaven is snatched away?’

The story centres around Eva from her early years through to adulthood. Eva always feels that something does not quite sit right and spends time trying to discover the truth, not only about herself but also about origins and meaning for a person. Joanna is always upfront with her character's emotions, and here you will see Eva be both strong yet also fall apart. At times she may self-destruct and come across as hard to like but that is what adds depth and realism to the story. 

‘If it’s meant to be, it will work,’ I said, thinking that, although people said this a lot, it really was a load of crap.’

Yes, this is a journey of self discovery, however the themes run much deeper than that. It really is about life and how often things can come full circle to find yourself right back where you figuratively started. It is a story for females - girls, women, friends, mothers - this story sets out to investigate it all. 

‘A joy not often talked about, the joy of expertise.

I recommend it.

Finding your thing.

Your place in the scheme of things.’

At times I struggled with this book - it can read slowly with nothing appearing to be happening. I am also unsure about the constant sharp, clinical writing style that, whilst providing the desired impact, lost something through its regular use providing a lack of fluidity. 

‘How do we make happiness?

Is it by loving other people?

Is that how it works?’

This book will make you think and carefully consider your own female relationships - many readers are deeply moved by Eva’s journey. It is not an easy read with the complicated emotions and hesitancy, however, the fierceness of her devotion is something one cannot help but admire in Eva. 

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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