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Mothers and Daughters

3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  469 Ratings  ·  119 Reviews
A rich and luminous novel about three generations of women in one family: the love they share, the dreams they refuse to surrender, and the secrets they hold

Samantha is lost in the joys of new motherhood—the softness of her eight-month-old daughter's skin, the lovely weight of her child in her arms—but in trading her artistic dreams to care for her child, Sam worries she's
ebook, 272 pages
Published March 29th 2011 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published March 17th 2011)
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3 stars

(ugh...two hours of typing down the tubes, lost to the ether; this is a hastily typed re-write)

There was plenty of great writing on display here, despite my being daunted by breaking into an all-girls party (or so it seemed with a title like Mothers and Daughters, the cover art, and back cover blurb seeming to yell "Stay Away Boys!"...since rectified in a subsequent printing with a title change Mercy Train and new cover art). Though this is a female-centric novel, it's not what I'd con
Diane S ☔
Aug 26, 2016 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 but a good story about the way mothers and daughteres interact, also a bit of information about the orphan trains. Well written and enjoyable.
Feb 11, 2011 Edan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book--about the lives of three generations of women--was such a smooth, lovely read. At first I worried it was a bit too easy, a bit too smooth, but as it went on there were passages that really made me pause to think, to revel in the beauty of the prose and the cleverness of its intertwining tales. I liked reading about motherhood and what's passed down from mother to daughter. This was a book I kept reading, especially when I should have been writing or washing dishes or paying attention ...more
Apr 10, 2011 Tiffany rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 17, 2016 Danielle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
There's more potential to this author than the book lived up to. The three generations of women were each interesting characters in their own right. I particularly liked hearing about scrappy Violet's New York childhood before getting sent west on an Orphan Train. I also enjoyed Iris's reflections on life and death as she faced terminal cancer. I was less-impressed with Samantha's whiney self-absorption and inability to suck it up and get to work, but there were moments I could relate to.
The dow
May 25, 2015 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. It is a very well written book based on three characters over three generations. At times I thought the author was trying too hard using obscure language as if to say (here are words that no one knows, see how smart I am), but that could just be because I didn't know those words. It was a little annoying, but also a little impressive. I loved how the story of each woman unraveled a little bit at a time while the characters developed. The character of Sam was hard to fig ...more
Luanne Ollivier
May 13, 2011 Luanne Ollivier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 m
May 15, 2016 Kar-Leigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly intriguing.

At least for me. Usually any mention of the word 'mother' has me running, certain it's going to contain sappy wisdom and heartfelt thoughts about moms. And I mean yeah, it does contain that a bit, but it also takes an honest look at the maternal traits of the three fictional characters.

Following Sam, Iris, and Violet, 'Mothers and Daughters' follows the three generations of women through their unremarkable, yet curiously absorbing lives. My favourite chapters were the one
Danielle Mellott
Mar 18, 2011 Danielle Mellott rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I got this book from Early Reviewers on I wanted to like this. I really, really, really did. I did not, however.

Very few books I read get a 2 star rating. I'm relatively easy on most books and give away my 4 and 5 start ratings lavishly. I was originally going to give it a 2.5 stars because I did like SOME of it, while I didn't care for other parts of it- so a 2.5 would have been comfortably right down the middle of love and hate. But I realized something that I can't forgive.
I believe I saw this book reviewed on a few book blogs one day so I added it to my hold list at the library. I had almost forgotten about it when I got the email telling me it was waiting for me to pick up but after reading the blurb on the inside flap I remembered how good it sounded. I wish it had lived up to my expectations but it fell a little short.

I enjoyed the premise, especially being a new mother (well, she’s almost two but every day feels so new to me) I had felt many of the same insec
Jul 23, 2011 Staci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-reads
First thoughts after finishing this book: You think because you're family that you know everything about each other, but the truth is you really don't.

What I liked about the book:

The characters and how the author gave each one their own voice and the chance to tell their story. I loved how it all started with a box that contained items from a loved ones past.
The mother/daughter relationship. We are strange creatures aren't we? At times we are each other's best friends and other times could find
May 21, 2011 Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
This book is richly imagined and emotionally conveyed. I was impressed by the depth of the descriptions of different times & places. I liked the interwoven narratives and the different perspectives conveyed by this novel. I could relate to a lot of the feelings of the character Samantha as she tried to understand her new identity as a mother. I read this book in one day. The stories are very compelling.
Feb 23, 2015 Meghan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three women, three different lives, three different generations, but yet all connected. Samantha is a new mom who is trying to get her life back after having her baby Ella. Iris is an old women dying of cancer, and Violet is an eleven-year-old girl living in the year 1900, where she’s trying to survive, but her mother can’t afford to raise her. All three women are mothers, and as the novel progresses you come to learn that they aren’t perfect moms. As one after another each woman becomes a mothe ...more
The story was interesting, but could have been much better had it been fleshed out more. Also the style was confusing. The writer was writing as three different people. This in itself is quite interesting. However, within each person's story the time/place jumped around so much from past to present without warning. Then it was back and forth between characters and their new storyline could be present or in the past.

The characters were interesting, but the story could have been told much better.
Jun 11, 2012 beachbooks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Touching story spanning three generations. I enjoyed it.
Mar 23, 2011 Angela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I were to base my enjoyment of this book simply on the publisher's description I would have been sorely disappointed. The novel that I read bears little resemblance to the blurb on the back cover. The back cover states "When a box of Iris's belongings arrives on Sam's doorstep, she discovers things about her mother she never knew -- or could even guess. But she is puzzled by much of what she finds. She learns that Violet, the woman she knows as her grandmother, left New York City as an eleven ...more
Alisha Marie
While reading Mothers and Daughters, I found it a bit hard to relate to. Not to say I didn't like it because I did like it quite a bit, but this book focuses heavily on two of the three main characters feelings as a mother. Now, I'm in my early twenties and parenthood is nowhere near at the forefront of my mind during this time. So, while I thought those passages were intriguing, I didn't relate to them at all. Again, I mention that even though I didn't necessarily relate to Sam and Iris' storyl ...more
Apr 05, 2011 Laurel-Rain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A story of three generations of women, bound by the love they share, the dreams they refuse to surrender, and the secrets they held, "Mothers and Daughters: A Novel" reveals those accidental moments in life. How taking one path over another can yield such different outcomes, and how looking back with regret is an exercise in futility.

Violet, Iris, and Samantha are the women in this illuminating novel, and we meet each of them in the chapters that tell their stories.

Violet's early life on the str
Eugenia Kim
Typically I won’t read the jacket blurbs until I’ve finished reading the book, and so while I had definite expectations of Rae Meadows’ novel, Mothers & Daughters, I had no idea—beyond the title and a friend’s recommendation—about what to expect. There was lots to love right away with this writing: the initial setting in Madison, Wisconsin (where my husband went to college), a common but uniquely described scene of a mother’s first time leaving her baby with a sitter, and foremost, Meadows’ ...more
Cindy Hudson
Jun 14, 2011 Cindy Hudson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mothers and Daughters by Rae Meadows is about three generations of women all trying to do the best they can as they raise their daughters. Each has a tale to tell of their relationships to their mothers, as well as how they relate to their own children.

Sam is the modern mother of an infant. She can’t bear to be separated from her daughter for even short times. She knows she can’t go back to the woman she was before her baby was born, even though there’s a part of her that longs to create art wit
Laurie Wallace
I absolutely loved this book. The interweaving stories of these successive generations of women (five in all, with a focus on the middle three), was just fascinating, heart-warming, and I grew to love each of the characters, Violet, Iris, and Samantha, as I also grew to understand them in the midst of their very different struggles and lives. I love genealogy and have been in a study of my own ancestral women's lives through pictures and census records, and this book just drove it all home to me ...more
Wall-to-wall books - wendy
Wow, what an incredible story. This is basically about three women, three generations (Grandmother, Mother, and Daughter) all grown women, three different time periods.

Violet - I believe early 1900's (there are no dates in this book, that would have been helpful).basically raising herself on the streets of NY city due to a druggie, vagabond mother who will do anything for money. At eleven yrs old her mother puts her on the "Orphan Train" headed for the west.
Iris - (Violet's daughter) Iris has ca
Aug 08, 2011 Jillian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Normally, after reading a book, I allow myself a week or so to process what I’ve read before I write a review. However, every now and then, I’ve read a book that has consumed me in a way that I feel that I must, MUST, write about it and let others know that it affected me and that if they are looking for something to read they should consider finding this book the minute it comes out and allowing it to consume them, as well. Mothers and Daughters by Rae Meadows is one such book.

In Mothers and Da
Jun 17, 2013 D.B. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In mothers & daughters, Rae Meadow’s tells a story of 3, (with bits and pieces of 5), generations of females. I liked the way she used multiple voices to interweave the story. The shifts between Violet, Iris, and Samantha were seamless. Violet’s mother, Lilibeth’s story needs to be told. I think a story of a much older Samantha, and her daughter Ella, needs to be told.
Meadow’s well written novel warms the heart and holds the reader spellbound to each woman’s different perspectives, story of
Aug 15, 2014 Annemarie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Moeders en dochters – Rae Meadows

Vier generaties in één boek. Meadows gaat uit van de vrouwen van één familie, de moeders en de dochters met allen zo’n verschillend leven. Zo’n verschillende achtergrond en daarmee ook een andere aanpak in de omgang met hun dochters.

Bij dit boek vond ik het lastig om in het verhaal te komen bij de eerste paar hoofdstukken. Vanuit het heden neemt Meadows je een hoofdstuk later mee terug in de tijd van 1900 met de paard en wagens met een verhaal over een meisje van
Jun 07, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You know, I’m not a mother, but I am a daughter. And even my mother has begun to send me “Mother’s Day” cards, because although I am 41, divorced and childless, and it appears I will likely never birth a child, she says I am still a “mother” to many in the world and care for many. I'm a mother at heart, if not in function. So I could identify with this book and its characters on many levels.

There was a lot for me to relate to in this book, despite my not having children.

This story was about thre
Jun 07, 2012 Katrina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women who like Realistic Fiction
Shelves: adult, fiction
I liked Meadows' use of multiple voices to tell this multi-generational story. I also liked all the characters--well Sam wasn't my favorite but she grew on me. My favorite character by far was Violet; she had the most spunk and the biggest adversity to overcome. I've always been interested in the orphan trains and like hearing about some of the specific reasons kids ended up on them (FYI, not all were orphans). Because of Violet's story I guess this book could be categorized as historical fictio ...more
Apr 08, 2015 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the book, however the life of one character was left wide open, enough space to write a sequel, or a novel just about Sam. I enjoyed the mother daughter theme idea it was shooting for, but it lacked a feeling of connectedness as a whole. Although the mothers and daughters were related, their relationship was as though they were strangers living together
Awwww, I really liked this book. Something about the different points of view and the weaving of decision and circumstance that flow down to the next generation was really captivating. I could understand if someone wasn't a fan of this one though, as it does lack an overall plot and doesn't really go anywhere.

So if you're looking for an adventure, this is probably not the book you should be choosing. If instead you enjoy the topic of, hmmm, I suppose the human condition, then you will probably
Feb 23, 2016 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel spans 3 generations of women- grandmother, mother, daughter, who just had a baby of her own. None of the women know much about the generation before them, but as they age, come to peace with their lives and choices.

Book was OK, I enjoyed each character's story, but none was totally outstanding or memorable.

If you like multigenerational tales, I highly recommend "Hannah's Daughters".

Was hoping for more, but an OK read.
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Rae Meadows is the author of Calling Out, which received the 2006 Utah Book Award for fiction, No One Tells Everything, a Poets & Writers Notable Novel, and most recently the widely praised novel, Mercy Train (in hardcover as Mothers and Daughters). Her fourth novel, I Will Send Rain, is forthcoming August 2016 from Henry Holt. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.
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“In a span of months she had present for birth and for death, the wondrous first breath and the horrible last. But wasn't it an honor to be there at the end of life as well as the beginning? To mark the extraordinariness of a lifetime, to bear witness to its completion?” 5 likes
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