Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Interesting Mother-Daughter Relationships In Fiction

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by The Broke and The Bookish! Since we just had Mother's Day this past weekend (hi Mom!), I thought I'd look at some mother-daughter relationships in fiction. Some are good, some are bad, all are interesting.

White Oleander: Astrid has many mothers- primarily, her biological one, Ingrid, whose reckless murder of a faithless lover leaves her daughter to the mercies of the foster care system. The relationships she has with the various women who take her in change her in different ways.

The Red Tent: This book tells the story of Dinah and her mothers: Leah, who birthed her, and Leah's three sisters, all of whom became the wives of Jacob. It's a lovely story focused on the relationships between women and the ways each of her mother-aunts leaves indelible fingerprints on Dinah.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: Katie Nolan prefers her son and plays favorites in a way that feels a little jarring to a modern audience (maybe just me?), but that doesn't mean she loves her daughter Frances any less fiercely.

Pride and Prejudice: Mrs. Bennett is always scheming to get her five daughters married off and makes many blunders/faux pas along the way, but her love for her girls is always obvious.

The Golden Compass: This is really across the entire His Dark Materials series, but the growing relationship between Lyra and her mother, Mrs. Coulter takes lots of twists and turns over the course of the series.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood: While I prefer to view this novel by itself (rather than along with its companion Little Altars Everywhere), I find the complicated relationship between Vivi and her daughter Sidda fascinating...remembering that our family members are people with stories that go far beyond any particular bond is always helpful.

Chocolat: I love this book, and the way Joanne Harris draws the relationship between Vianne and her daughter Anouk with such devoted love and tenderness is definitely a part of why I enjoy it so much.

The Guineveres: Each of the four main characters in this book has a different story about her own mother...each of which leads to being left at a convent as a teenager, which are revealed only piecemeal as the story progresses. By the way, this book is only $2.99 right now on the Kindle!

The Joy Luck Club: The story of four immigrant Chinese ladies and their American-raised daughters (and the inevitable clashes that result from that tension, along with the natural ones that come along with being mothers and daughters), it's an emotionally perceptive look at the way the told and untold stories of the mothers' lives play against the lives of their daughters.

Beloved: This story asks an impossible question- how far could a mother's love go? Escaped slave Sethe commits an unspeakable act when she believes she and her child are about to be captured and forced back into bondage, which figuratively and then literally haunts her for years. I tend to be wary of magical realism, but this book uses it powerfully. 


  1. Great list, these all sound fantastic! I love the film of Chocolat but I still haven't read it (oops) and so many of these are going straight on my TBR. The Guineveres, The Joy Luck Club and White Oleander all sound really interesting, and I'd like to read The Red Tent because I believe it's been adapted on Netflix. :) I think Mrs. Bennet is a far better parent than Mr. Bennet, too; Mr. Bennet makes sure Lizzie's sisters know Lizzie is his favourite, while his poor wife tries to get them into good marriages so she knows they aren't going to be destitute if Mr. Bennet dies. She's pretty unbearable, but her actions do come from a place of real love and concern. Fab list!

    1. Thank you! I love the book of Chocolat way more than I liked the movie...the movie was fun, but the book has been a longtime favorite! The Red Tent should be an easy find secondhand and I just listened to it on audio recently and it's really good. And I'm with you, Mrs. Bennett is played for laughs but given that all Mr. Bennet does is crack wise and play favorites, he kind of sucks.

  2. Hi! White Oleander is a book I read so so long ago, but it has stuck with me. I still feel the same way now as I did right after I was finished with it. And I agree about Astrid and her mother relationships. :)
    My TTT

    1. I read it for the first time in high school and I'd actually really like to read it again sometime soon...it was one of those books that really makes an impression!

  3. Good list, I read The Joy Luck Club in High School, but don't remember much about it now. I glad to see a list of mom's in books because so often they are missing in YA books. Which is what I did my list on... Missing moms.

    My TTT: http://books.thetechchef.net/top-ten-tuesday-25/

    1. Missing moms is a great topic! It seems like there are so often missing parents in YA...maybe because they want to give their characters a lot of freedom of movement and that gives them a reason to be going around unsupervised?