First of all, can we talk about how beautiful this cover is?? What’s even better – the book is equally amazing.
Thank you to the publisher and the author for the copy in exchange for my honest review!
MOTHERS AND OTHER STRANGERS by Gina Sorell
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars!
“My father proposed to my mother at gunpoint when she was nineteen, and knowing that she was already pregnant with a dead man’s child, she accepted.” Talk about an opening to a synopsis! This instantly drew me in, I had to know what was going on. MOTHERS AND OTHER STRANGERS by Gina Sorell was an immersive read about the relationships and secrets between a mother and her daughter.
This is a story about the strained relationship between Elsie and her mother, Rachel. Having grown up being completely neglected by her mother, Elsie learned at a young age to not expect any kind of support or praise. She threw herself into her dancing career and would go to any lengths to do well – including pushing her body to the limits. Even then, her mother wouldn’t attend her performances. Her own narcissism and vanity along with her elaborate and extravagant tales were more important to her than her own daughter.
After Rachel dies, Elsie is forced to return to the source of all her pain. She must decide whether or not she will follow the mystery of her mother’s final message to her. Her decision brings her down the path to find the cult that her mother was a part of (and made it the most important part of her life). Elsie finds herself deep into more secrets that her mother was keeping from her – will uncovering the truth make up for a lifetime of neglect and abuse?
This was a very interesting and complex read. The relationships between mothers and daughters are already complicated but when you add in a toxic mother and a neglected daughter, the dynamic drastically changes. It begs the question of how much can you forgive your mother for in life? Will the truth really set you free and give you the closure you desire? Is there anyway for Elsie to move on with her life and forgive her mother (even though it is after death). I really don’t know how I would react in this kind of situation, all I know is that at the end of this book, my opinions on Rachel did not change.
Overall, this was an incredible debut! Diving into the minds of these complex and well-developed characters made for an addictive read. The element of cults made for a unique addition to the story. If you want a well-written fiction novel about the dynamic between mothers and daughters, then I’d highly recommend picking this one up!
Do you like stories that dive into the psychology behind strained family relationships? As someone with a less than perfect relationship with my mother, I really thought this was an intriguing read and concept.