Published by Allen & Unwin; Main edition (5 April 2018)
available in ebook and paperback
| About the Book |
1980: Josephine flees her home in Ireland, hoping never to return. She starts a new, exciting life in London, but as much as she tries, she can’t quite leave the trauma of her childhood behind.Seventeen years and two children later, Josephine gets a call from her sister to tell her that their mother is dying and wants to see her – a summons she can’t refuse.
1997: Ten-year-old Clare is counting down to the summer holidays, when she is going to meet her grandparents in Ireland for the first time. She hopes this trip will put an end to her mum’s dark moods – and drinking.But family secrets can’t stay buried forever and following revelations in Ireland, everything starts to unravel. Have Josephine and her daughter passed the point of no return?
* * * *
It’s a pleasure to be starting off the the publisher blog tour for Her Mother’s Daughter. This is currently patiently waiting on my reading pile but in the meantime I have a guest post kindly provided by Alice Fitzgerald and the publisher.
Womanhood: abuse and mother-daughter cycles
by Alice Fitzgerald
If Josephine, the mother in Her Mother’s Daughter, had Twitter and was a few years younger, she would have tweeted ‘#metoo’ a couple of weeks ago. She would have put her hand up for the first time in her life and said it out loud. She, too, was a victim of sexual abuse. But she suffered in silence, and the damage stayed with her. It haunted her and inhibited her and didn’t allow her to get on with her life and be herself. It trapped her.
And in turn it trapped her daughter, Clare, who saw and heard everything, even though no one noticed. She was aware of her mum’s moods, and she tried to say the right things to her to appease her, to keep her happy – but she couldn’t keep her happy forever.
Told through dual mother–daughter perspectives, Her Mother’s Daughter is a tale about a woman who is a victim of abuse and the impact it has on her – and on her family. The damage done is so ingrained that it comes out in her own behaviour towards those closest to her; her husband and her children.
The novel is about living such through such an experience, both as an adult and a child. Clare is the epitome of innocence, representing the Lamb in William Blake’s Songs of Innocence, and Josephine represents the Tyger in his Songs of Experience. Children’s innocence is so beautiful, so raw – and so frightening. They are like little fairies or wizards; nothing escapes them. A friend who is a primary school teacher once told me that she was blue at school one day and when she was writing on the blackboard a little girl asked her, ‘What’s wrong, Miss?’ The fact that the child had seen through her teacher’s cheerful facade was enough to bring tears to my friend’s eyes. I’m already seeing this with my own young daughter; the first time she ever made eye contact with me was as if she was getting a glimpse of my soul.
That’s why I wanted the experiences that Clare lives through to be really vivid. Her family are having a fun Saturday night and dancing in the sitting room to Irish tunes on the record player one minute, then her mother ‘turns’, the party is over and a horrible, angry, violent scene ensues. Or towards the end of the novel, the family’s new puppy, which Clare adores, is there one morning and gone by the afternoon. The unpredictability of her situation is awful; not knowing what’s waiting for her, what’s around the corner.
As dark as the novel gets, I’d like the ending of Her Mother’s Daughter to be interpreted as a hopeful one; the cycle has been broken as Josephine seeks a happier, healthier reality for herself, and Clare is reunited with her beloved Sooty so, while the reader knows something Clare doesn’t, at least they know she can find solace in her furry friend in the hard times ahead.
My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part in the tour and the publisher for the review copy.
| Author Bio |
Alice Fitzgerald has worked as a journalist for six years.
She has been published in literary journals, online at Refinery29 and Hello Giggles and in magazines including Hello!
Her Mother’s Daughter is her debut novel
Born in London to Irish parents, she now lives in Madrid