Author photo

By Midge Lyndee
Book Review 

Mothers are people too

The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment


April 30, 2022

May is the month we honor mothers, celebrating being a mother, or honoring the mother that birthed us. This mother may have been loving and strong, nurturing and wise. Or maybe not. Because mothers are people living their own lives as well as ours. Mothers are people who love and people who hurt and bleed. Maybe they hold secrets they take to their graves, or maybe they break down and tell their story. This is one such story…

“A Letter from Nana Rose” by Kristin Harper starts at a beach cottage. Nana Rose is gone but her cottage has been put into ownership of her three granddaughters. They can keep it and rent it out when their own families are not using it. Or sell it and only keep the memories they have gathered from year after year of idyllic frolics in the surf, lazy days on the sand and happy picnics and activities with family that summers and holidays encourage.

Jill, Brooke and Rachel each have their own memories and ideas to mull over. But it is Nana Rose who orchestrates their final or not final days at the cottage. Because she has a secret, a secret she has held so long but decided would not go with her unto death. The secret is revealed in letters that arrive almost daily. The drama builds and the hearts weep. A mother’s love is a mysterious and deep expanse that can hold unexpected outcomes.

As a mother herself, Rachel is overwhelmed with care of her own children and her wish is to get them into a prestigious school. That takes money, money the selling of the beach cottage could provide. Brooke is having her own crisis and planning a repeat of her wedding vows in a lavish setting with her husband and children in tow. Jill is not married and has no children of her own. She is lonely and yearning for the lives her sisters lead, without actually seeing how each sister is struggling in their own imperfect lives. Jill yearns for security and love. But do any of them have real security and is love enough? Grandma Nana Rose has a lesson for each of them, embedded in her letters full of confession and a mother’s love none of them ever imagined.

In “The Garden House” by Linda Mahkovec, the reader finds an empty nester, a woman who has filled her life with the caring of her family, husband, son and daughter. When she finds herself adrift, with son and daughter moving away from her into their own lives, and with only her husband and garden to tend, she yearns to find her way through an abyss that is unfamiliar, foreign and empty. Miranda toys with the idea of painting again, which she gave up years ago to attend to family activities. But, she hesitates. Instead of turning the garden house into her art studio, she rents it to a young teacher for the summer. That is when the dreams begin.

The dreams are disturbing and haunt her from night to night. Does a child need her help? With her husband away on a weekend fishing trip, a loud demanding storm pounds down on her from all sides. Miranda must face all of her fears at once. As the readers enjoy the home and garden she has created, the beauty, and the serenity, Miranda faces mysteries, unanswered questions and an unknown future. This mother is at a crisis crossroad.

On a lighter note, in “Where’s My Mummy?” by Carolyn Crimi, illustrated by John Manders, we learn even a baby mummy needs their Mummy. Baby mummy wants a game of hide-and-see-and-shriek before bedtime. The darkness of night holds creatures that whoosh and “click their clicketty teeth,” while making scratchy sounds. Nighttime before bed can be scary. Being a good Mummy, she soothes the worries away until sleep comes. And as we know, mothers of any shape and form do the same everyday.

Mothers come loving with soft edges or with personal wounds and sharp tongues, happy or full of angst. They appear superhuman at times, but in reality they are vulnerable women that can use care and understanding through many life changes and difficult circumstances. Hold your mum dear if you have her, hold her in your heart if she is gone. Fold your arms around yourself, if you are a mother. Adopt a woman who has no one. A day to honor mothers is a gift to be given.

Good books.

Good reading.

*Midge Lyn’dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.


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