Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “My Mother's Chamomile” as Want to Read:
My Mother's Chamomile
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

My Mother's Chamomile

4.62  ·  Rating details ·  126 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Desperate for the rains of mercy... Middle Main, Michigan has one stop light, one bakery, one hair salon...and one funeral home. The Eliot Family has assisted the grieving people in their town for over fifty years. After all those years of comforting others, they are the ones in need of mercy. Olga, the matriarch who fixes everything, is unable to cure what ails her precio ...more
Paperback, 314 pages
Published February 15th 2014 by Whitefire Publishing (first published January 1st 2014)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about My Mother's Chamomile, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about My Mother's Chamomile

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  126 ratings  ·  42 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of My Mother's Chamomile
Susie Finkbeiner
Jan 07, 2014 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: es-done
All I'm saying is it's really strange to sit and read a book you wrote. Very, very strange. ...more
Suzy Parish
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Susie Finkbeiner pulled off what all writers want to achieve. She placed me, the reader, smack in the middle of the heart of each character. From the introspective matriarch of the family, Olga, to Evelyn who is just beginning the journey of her life. My Mother's Chamomile captured the personality of each character and gave us a peek at life through their eyes. The warmth of the family was endearing. A good book to read to ponder what are really the valuable things in life. ...more
Jocelyn Green
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The most original piece of fiction I've read in years. My Mother's Chamomile is the contemporary tale of a family in the funeral director/mortician line of work. It is not sensational in any way, but it is so real it just might turn your heart inside out. This is one of those books that isn't just a good book, but an important book. It challenged and blessed me. I read it in two days. ...more
Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Nancee by:
"My Mother's Chamomile" is the depiction of a family of morticians in Middle Main, Michigan.. For 50 years the Eliots have assisted families through the most difficult stage of life..... death. Years of dealing with death and grief places them in a state of loneliness in the community. People are uncomfortable with thoughts of their own mortality. The Eliots exhibit a strong faith in God, and a powerful compassion for others. Their competence, sensitivity and quiet strength bring comfort to the ...more
April McGowan
Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
“The courage to take a meager step some days exhausted me. But bravery could bring glory to my Lord. I just had to believe it.” ~Olga

The Eliot family owns a three-generation run funeral home. The mark of Christ-like love and grace they’ve made on their community is indelible. But, as often in the case of the most compassionate, they are overlooked because of the job they provide. Simply, no one wants to think about death and they make people think about it. Because of this, deep and lasting frie
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
This story is told, in alternating chapters, by Olga (the grandmother of the family) and Evelyn (the adult granddaughter). The author does an excellent job of distinguishing between the voices of the two women. There's never any doubt about who's telling their part of the family's story.

That aside, this is an absolutely wonderful book. Since it centers around a family who runs a funeral home, there are times when it would behoove the reader to have a box of tissues handy. Each death/funeral, tho
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This story drew me in from the very beginning. I felt like a part of this family, a part of the story. Death is something we all want to push away and hope we won't have to face. Whether sudden or gradual, the loss of a loved one is extremely difficult. Susie Finkbeiner captures these emotions beautifully, helping us feel them along with the family...and acknowledging that we must face them ourselves. True and honest, My Mother's Chamomile is a thoughtfully written story of mercy, grief, and com ...more
Michelle Alvarez
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I fell in love with these characters. I wanted to be a part of their family, pray for them, shared in their grief (a lot). These characters so beautifully written left a lasting imprint on my soul. I want to visit them, have some tea with them and see how they are doing.
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Felt part of this very loving, Christian family. This book was thought provoking, humorous at times and so touching. Loved the portrayal of Olga & Clive’s relationship. Susie Finkbeiner wrote a very real book. Loved it!
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book!
Shelana  Ferris
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Susie's second novel is very different from her first but just as well written. Like her first novel her chapters are broken up by the two main characters, Olga and Evelyn. I love how you see the story from the two different characters point of view. I quickly got wrapped up into the lives of their family. Susie made the story seem so real to me and I empathized with the characters in their heartache. Yes, it is a Christian fiction novel but not to the point where a non Christian wouldn't enjoy ...more
Peter DeHaan
Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
My Mother's Chamomile takes place in a unique setting, showing the interworkings of a family in a profession most of society misunderstands and ignores -- until we need them, and sooner or later we are all going to need them.

Aside from the amazing insight My Mother's Chamomile provides into the struggles and motivations of a funeral home family, it is also a love story, but not so much in the way you'd expect. Read it to discover a deeper love when a family who comes together in a time of need.
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written novel told from the views of Olga & Evelyn (grandmother & granddaughter) I love the deep love between Olga & Clive! Oh how they love each other even though they are 'old' it made me choke up just thinking about it! Definitely a must read book. ...more
Susan oleneack
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful and heartfelt

Wonderful and heartfelt

This is a true reflection of the journey through grief and I have experienced just that. I don't know how it could have been written without the grace of God. Sensitive and beautiful storytelling.
Holly Becker
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I became a part of this family. It wasn't as if I was peeking in as it does in some novels. I was right there, every moment, experiencing the love, comfort, heartache and joy.
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful story about love. If you've ever lost someone this story will resonate with you. Thanks Susie for sharing it. ...more
Janyre Tromp
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A story of grief and loss that is still filled with hope. This is a gorgeous narrative.
Lynn Weldon
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful story of family love, hope, and grief
One of my favorite snippet of the book was:
I’m sorry, I whispered. I shouldn’t have stayed away so long, Lord.
He’d forgiven me. I felt it like a hug.
The tears came so I couldn’t read the little words on my onionskin thin pages. My God didn’t smack me. He didn’t scream at me to wash the remorse and grief off my face. He gathered my tears. Held me in His arms. And He poured love all over me.
He filled me all the way up. I sure would need every dr
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh my, how do I even begin a review of one of the best books I have read in ages? I enjoyed the way the story was written in the perspective of two main characters. I enjoyed the family dynamics and the development of the characters. The story felt so real and I have to recommend having a box of tissues nearby. I think at one point, I let out a few sobs.

This is the first time I have read a book written by Susie Finkbeiner. It will definitely not be my last.
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing! It tells the story of a family who has run a funeral home for generations and you see the struggles they go through in that job and then once death hits their own family. It is told alternately between two of the family members. This book will make you think, make you cry, and show you how God is always with us no matter if times are good or bad.
Shawn Smucker
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Well, I just finished Susie Finkbeiner's book My Mother's Chamomile and if you like to read a book that will have you bawling your eyes out (think Steel Magnolias), this book is for you. So well written. The characters are lovely. Wonderful job, Susie. ...more
Gloria Latham
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This was such a good book. I know every person in this story!! I've met them during my life! It's wonderful how God is so present and how each family member is at a different place in their relationship with Him.
Rhonda Ortiz
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My Mother's Chamomile started slowly, but I'm glad I stuck with it. Wow. After reading this, All Manner of Things, and Paint Chips, Susie Finkbeiner is officially on my list of favorite contemporary authors. Looking forward to the rest of her books. ...more
Jan 14, 2020 rated it did not like it
Pollyanna for sure. Not even close to real life. Not even interesting.
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rereadable, favorites
This is a must-read book! The way Susie writes quickly draws you into the story as if you are a friend of the family watching their trials and triumphs and their deep love for the family towards each other and the people they know. I can't praise this book highly enough. ...more
Michelle Rainer
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put it down. Loved it! ...more
Nov 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
My Mother’s Camomile is written in the first person from two alternating points of view: Olga and Evelyn, Olga’s oldest granddaughter. It’s an unusual and ambitious choice (in that it’s hard to do well without constantly reminding the reader that it’s only a story), but it works. That’s a testament to the quality of the writing, and the strength of the individual character voices.

The family operate the only funeral parlour in a small town, which means they are an odd combination of essential a
Mar 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Like with her previous book, Finkbeiner tells her tale from the viewpoint of two very different characters, alternating chapters between the two. I love the Grandmother figure, Olga, and how she often referenced things she had learned throughout her life. I loved her need to bake. I found Evelyn easy to relate to with her hopes and fears. I'm so glad she finds Will to help her through the family crisis to come. All the characters were likable. Even the unlikable characters had redeeming qualitie ...more
Apr 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was nothing short of phenomenal! I enjoyed this book so much and was sad to see it end. I loved all the character and felt drawn into their world. I LOVED the Eliot family. Noone ever stops to think how people whom deal with death on a daily basis deal and process these feelings. This book was an inside look into the world of a family (through generations) who run a funeral home,their struggles, their passions, their relationships and most importantly- how the love of Christ shines thr ...more
Rachel Watson
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If I was asked to retitle this book (which isn't necessary but let's just pretend), I would call it The Heartbreaking Facts of Life. Or something like that. I ugly-cried all the way through because all of the sorrows -- and joys -- the Eliot-Russell family experienced felt like they were happening. Directly. To. Me. And my family. It's been years since I've read a novel in which the characters felt so real, like they were people I know and love dearly. I could picture them all clearly, in crisp ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • What Momma Left Behind
  • Whose Waves These Are
  • The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - and Why
  • 21 Days Closer to Christ
  • Unashamed: Rahab (Lineage of Grace, #2)
  • Millicent Glenn's Last Wish
  • Dovetail
  • Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope
  • Smoke Screen
  • The Andromeda Evolution (Andromeda #2)
  • The Secret to Hummingbird Cake
  • The Road to Bittersweet
  • Deadlock (FBI Thriller, #24)
  • The Caretakers
  • Barefoot: A Story of Surrendering to God (Sensible Shoes #3)
  • The Water Keeper (Murphy Shepherd #1)
  • The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin
  • Angels Walking (Angels Walking, #1)
See similar books…
Susie Finkbeiner is the author of All Manner of Things as well as the CBA bestselling Pearl Spence series.

When she’s not writing or traveling to speak at retreats or conferences, Susie enjoys lunch dates with her husband, reading with her kids, and drinking coffee with good friends.

Related Articles

  Mateo Askaripour is a Brooklyn-based writer whose debut novel, Black Buck—which Colson Whitehead calls a “mesmerizing novel, executing a high...
76 likes · 9 comments