Two families changed forever
Ann O’ Loughlin returns with her latest novel, My Mother’s Daughter, a book described as ‘a powerful, moving story of family, resilience and compassion’.
I have read and reviewed Ann’s books in the past, so I was looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of this, Ann’s most recent release.
Just released with Orion Books, I am delighted to bring you all my thoughts today.
[ About the Book ]
County Wicklow, Ireland. Margo has just lost her husband Conor and is grieving his passing, unsure how she and her daughter Elsa will survive without him. Then she receives a letter that turns everything she thought she knew on its head. Not only has she lost her husband, but now Margo fears she could lose her daughter as well.
Ohio, United States. Cassie has just split from her husband acrimoniously. Upset and alone she does not know how to move forward. Then her ex-husband demands a paternity test for their daughter Tilly and sorrow turns to anger as Cassie faces the frightening possibility of losing her daughter.
A powerful, moving stories of family, resilience and compassion, and how women support each other through the most difficult times, My Mother’s Daughter takes the issues closest to our hearts and makes us ask ourselves the most difficult questions – what would we do in Margo and Cassie’s place?
[ My Review ]
Margo Clifford is grieving after the recent passing of her husband, Conor. Now rudderless, Margo is very unsure of the path her life will take. Her only daughter, Elsa, is her only motivation every day to put one foot in front of the other and carry on living. Conor died of cancer, taken too young , leaving all his dreams behind him, never fulfilled. Margo and Conor had chosen their home, Rathmoney House, a beautiful large estate house in Co. Wicklow, following a trip to Ireland some years before. They had wanted to leave the rat-race of modern life behind them with the intention of eventually opening a guest house and re cultivating the gardens to help with their plan of living a little less complicated life.
Now, Margo finds herself overwhelmed with the enormity of the road ahead and doubts her ability to keep their dream alive. The local neighbours, Jack and Ida Roper, have been very good to Margo since Conor’s passing, with Jack maintaining the land until she figures out what she intends doing.
‘She remembered the first day they had viewed this house. Conor had called it a magical place beside the river; the aspect beautiful….they’d known even before they stepped inside that this was going to be the place they called home….In such a short time, things had changed utterly at Rathmoney House. Conor’s dream of a guesthouse was still alive, but Conor was no more’
With the help of Ida, Margo begins to see some hope. Ida encourages Margo to continue with the idea of opening a guest house and over a short period of time they begin to get the house in order. Margo wonders if is it possible. Can she survive this major crisis in her life? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Will the arrival of a very shocking letter put everything she has left, everything she holds dear, in jeopardy?
Cassandra Richards is an estate agent in Bowling Green, Ohio. With her marriage in disarray, Cassie is in turmoil. Charles had been the love of her life, her forever and after a time living in France, they returned home with a new baby, a little girl they named Tilly, and with a new life planned. Charles returned to his father’s car dealership and life was ok. But over the years Charles changed and Cassie could feel the distance between them.
‘She had let Charles go, hoping he would scratch whatever itch he had, then come back to her. When, after five days, she called at the car lot, she was told Charles was in New York; she knew then he was never going to return home. He was unapologetic when she rang him. “I’m calling it a day Cas. You know it hasn’t been right between us for a long time. I want out.”‘
Now sitting in her attorney’s office, Cassie is informed that Charles is going to make this separation very difficult and ‘play hardball’ Cassie is distraught and upset at the demands Charles is making but refuses to lie down without a fight. Her work is now more important than ever to her but her concentration is no longer what it should be and she is not closing the sales. With the pressures of work and the pressures of single motherhood ahead, Cassie is stressed. When Charles drops the bombshell that he is now looking to have a paternity test to prove he actually is Tilly’s father, he unwittingly unleashes a chain of events that will eventually cross oceans and continents and will reek havoc on the lives of many.
My Mother’s Daughter is a fictional tale but the themes Ann O’ Loughlin writes about are all too real. Death, grief, serious illness, divorce, relationships, trust, stress are all an unfortunate part of many of our lives today. How we deal with these issues and how we move on is very much dependent on those we are surrounded by. For Ann O’ Loughlin, she writes about what she knows, female friendship, that wondrous network of support that comes into force for a woman when the chips are down. I always thoroughly enjoy the flow and the writing style of an Ann O’ Loughlin book but I did have a little niggle with some of the dialogue in this book. On some occasions it felt a little stilted, lacking in the emotion I felt the scene deserved. I would have wished for a little more warmth in some of the conversations that took place around these moments. There was also a relationship in the book that I felt was a little peculiar and I’m not so sure how necessary it was to the story.
My Mother’s Daughter is a very much a novel about the strength of the love a mother has for her daughter and it seriously challenges this love, asking how far would you go? Margo and Cassie are two mothers, two women who have suffered and who have major obstacles to overcome. Can they save themselves? Can they save their daughters?
Ann O’ Loughlin always writes novels with a compassion and a warmth that touches a chord with many. I have absolutely no doubt that My Mother’s Daughter will be another such book, as folk take the story of Margo and Cassie to their hearts.
My Mother’s Daughter was published on 10th January and is available to purchase both online and in all good bookshops now.
[ Bio ]
A leading journalist in Ireland for nearly thirty years, Ann O’Loughlin has covered all major news events of the last three decades. Ann spent most of her career with independent newspapers where she was Security Correspondent at the height of The Troubles, and was a senior journalist on the Irish Independent and Evening Herald. She is currently a senior journalist with the Irish Examiner newspaper covering legal issues.
Ann has also lived and worked in India. Originally from the west of Ireland she now lives on the east coast in Co. Wicklow with her husband and two children.
Twitter ~ @annolwriter