Friday, 06 March 2015

BOOK REVIEWS: 6 MARCH

MOTHER’S DAY PICKS

Books-Mar06-Daughterhood-176
THE DAUGHTER–HOOD: The Good, The Bad And The Guilty Of Mother-Daughter Relationships by Natasha Fennell and Róisín Ingle (Simon & Schuster, £12.99; offer price, £10.99)
When her mother was diagnosed with a progressive illness, Fennell’s life came to a standstill: she wondered how she would cope without her and asked herself if she had been a good-enough daughter. After a call-out to daughters in Róisín Ingle’s weekly Irish Times column, it soon became apparent that many had similar fears. With this in mind, Fennell formed ‘The Daughterhood’, a group of women that meets regularly to help each other improve the most important and often challenging relationship of their lives – before it is too late. As well as sharing the funny, poignant and often heartbreaking stories disclosed at these meetings, the authors provide a touching and inspirational guide to navigating this pivotal relationship. A moving memoir that will resonate with mothers and daughters everywhere. Patricia Marie













Books-Mar06-GiftFromTheSea-176GIFT FROM THE SEA by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (Vintage, £9.99; offer price, £9.49)

Long before mindfulness became a buzzword, Lindbergh wrote this thoughtful and thought-provoking book on finding stillness in the midst of life’s conflicting pressures. She recorded her reflections while on a rare solitary holiday, inspired by the shells found on the beach: how by sitting still and observing her surroundings – and her shifting inner landscape – she drew a clarity of mind and renewed energy to return to her busy life as a working wife and mother. Although best remembered as ‘wife of’ flying pioneer Charles Lindbergh, Anne was a distinguished aviator in her own right, but this didn’t stop her from facing the same tangles of stress, tiredness and anxiety that many working mothers will recognise as their own. Her unpretentious yet elegant prose is free from the self-indulgent tone of many books in this genre. Written in 1955, it is perhaps more relevant today than ever. This lovely anniversary edition is an oasis of calm and good sense. Juanita Coulson










BOOK OF THE WEEK


Girl, abductedBooks-Mar06-GirlInTheRedCoat-176
THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT by Kate Hamer (Faber & Faber, £12.99; offer price, £11.69)
Tipped as one of this spring’s hottest debuts, Kate Hamer’s novel certainly has an attention-grabbing premise. The girl of the title is Carmel, a bright but dreamy eight-year-old, who lives with her divorced mother, Beth, in Norfolk. With her hair ‘like breaking glass’ and her ‘old soul’ aura, Carmel is far from the average pre-teen, but when she vanishes on a visit to a storytelling festival, even her distinctive scarlet outfit fails to yield leads. Despite its on-trend title and potentially disturbing subject matter, the book is less sensational and more sensitive than such an outline might suggest. As Hamer alternates between Beth and Carmel’s narratives, we learn that Carmel has been abducted by a man calling himself her grandfather, and spirited to America for a very special purpose. Beth, meanwhile, is left grappling with the aching aftermath of her daughter’s loss as weeks become months and then years. Eschewing the more obvious police procedural, Hamer’s novel is instead interested in its protagonists’ psychological and emotional survival, in a way that at times recalls Emma Donoghue’s Man Booker-shortlisted Room. Returning throughout to themes of courage, compassion and healing, Hamer has produced a thoughtful, boldly imaginative page-turner that also dares to have a heart. Stephanie Cross








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