Share 7 Compelling Novels About Mothers—The Good, The Bad, and The Crazy

7 Compelling Novels About Mothers—The Good, The Bad, and The Crazy

We are passionate readers who love nothing more than discovering fantastic books and sharing them with friends. We recommend books that move us to laughter and tears—and everything in between. Trust us when we say, "You've got to read this!"

This month, we’re celebrating our favorite literary moms! From the ones we secretly wish had raised us to those we find completely terrifying, these literary moms run the gamut from good to bad the probably-should-have-been-a-family-court-case-years-ago. Check out these novels and maybe share one with your own mom. Then don’t forget to call her and discuss! 


The Daughter's Tale
by Armando Lucas Correa

From the internationally bestselling author of The German Girl, an unforgettable saga exploring a hidden piece of World War II history and the lengths a mother will go to protect her children—perfect for fans of LILAC GIRLS, WE WERE THE LUCKY ONES, and THE ALICE NETWORK. 

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The Daughter's Tale
Armando Lucas Correa

From the internationally bestselling author of The German Girl, an unforgettable, “searing” (People) saga exploring a hidden piece of World War II history and the lengths a mother will go to protect her children—perfect for fans of Lilac Girls, We Were the Lucky Ones, and The Alice Network.

Seven decades of secrets unravel with the arrival of a box of letters from the distant past, taking readers on a harrowing journey from Nazi-occupied Berlin, to the South of France, to modern-day New York City.

Berlin, 1939. The dreams that Amanda Sternberg and her husband, Julius, had for their daughters are shattered when the Nazis descend on Berlin, burning down their beloved family bookshop and sending Julius to a concentration camp. Desperate to save her children, Amanda flees toward the South of France. Along the way, a refugee ship headed for Cuba offers another chance at escape and there, at the dock, Amanda is forced to make an impossible choice that will haunt her for the rest of her life. Once in Haute-Vienne, her brief respite is inter­rupted by the arrival of Nazi forces, and Amanda finds herself in a labor camp where she must once again make a heroic sacrifice.

New York, 2015. Eighty-year-old Elise Duval receives a call from a woman bearing messages from a time and country that she forced herself to forget. A French Catholic who arrived in New York after World War II, Elise is shocked to discover that the letters were from her mother, written in German during the war. Her mother’s words unlock a floodgate of memories, a lifetime of loss un-grieved, and a chance—at last—for closure.

Based on true events and “breathtakingly threaded together from start to finish with the sound of a beating heart” (The New York Times Book Review), The Daughter’s Tale is an unforgettable family saga of love, survival, and redemption.

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The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
by Lisa See

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa See, “one of those special writers capable of delivering both poetry and plot” (The New York Times Book Review), a moving novel about tradition, tea farming, and the bonds between mothers and daughters. 

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The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
Lisa See

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa See, “one of those special writers capable of delivering both poetry and plot” (The New York Times Book Review), a moving novel about tradition, tea farming, and the bonds between mothers and daughters.

In their remote mountain village, Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. For the Akha people, ensconced in ritual and routine, life goes on as it has for generations—until a stranger appears at the village gate in a jeep, the first automobile any of the villagers has ever seen.

The stranger’s arrival marks the first entrance of the modern world in the lives of the Akha people. Slowly, Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, begins to reject the customs that shaped her early life. When she has a baby out of wedlock—conceived with a man her parents consider a poor choice—she rejects the tradition that would compel her to give the child over to be killed, and instead leaves her, wrapped in a blanket with a tea cake tucked in its folds, near an orphanage in a nearby city.

As Li-yan comes into herself, leaving her insular village for an education, a business, and city life, her daughter, Haley, is raised in California by loving adoptive parents. Despite her privileged childhood, Haley wonders about her origins. Across the ocean Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. Over the course of years, each searches for meaning in the study of Pu’er, the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for centuries.

A powerful story about circumstances, culture, and distance, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond of family.

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Mrs. Fletcher
by Tom Perrotta

MRS. FLETCHER is a timeless examination of sexuality, identity, parenthood, and the big clarifying mistakes people can make when they’re no longer sure of who they are or where they belong as seen through the eyes of a middle-aged woman and her college freshman son. Now an HBO series starring Kathryn Hahn! 

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Mrs. Fletcher
Tom Perrotta

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The World That We Knew
by Alice Hoffman

Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter Lea away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it is his daughter, Ettie, who creates a rare and unusual golem who is sworn to protect Lea. This instant New York Timesbestseller takes place in 1941, during humanity’s darkest hour, and follows three unforgettable young women who must act with courage and love to survive. 

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The World That We Knew
Alice Hoffman

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The Need
by Helen Phillips

“An extraordinary and dazzlingly original work from one of our most gifted and interesting writers” (Emily St. John Mandel, author of THE GLASS HOTEL). The Need, which finds a mother of two young children grappling with the dualities of motherhood after confronting a masked intruder in her home, is “like nothing you’ve ever read before…in a good way” (People). 

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The Need
Helen Phillips

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You Were Always Mine
by Nicole Baart

The acclaimed author of LITTLE BROKEN THINGS returns with another “race-to-the-finish family drama” (People) about a single mother who becomes embroiled in a mystery that threatens to tear apart what’s left of her family. Perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty and Jodi Picoult. 

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You Were Always Mine
Nicole Baart

“An electrifying family drama that shows the dark side of adoption, You Were Always Mine is the kind of book you will want to finish in one sitting.” —Bustle

The acclaimed author of Little Broken Things returns with another “race-to-the-finish family drama” (People) about a single mother who becomes embroiled in a mystery that threatens to tear apart what’s left of her family.

Jessica Chamberlain, newly separated and living with her two sons in a small Iowa town, can’t believe that a tragedy in another state could have anything to do with her. But when her phone rings one quiet morning, her world is shattered. As she tries to pick up the pieces and make sense of what went wrong, Jess begins to realize that a tragic death is just the beginning. Soon she is caught in a web of lies and half-truths—and she’s horrified to learn that everything leads back to her seven-year-old adopted son, Gabriel.

Years ago, Gabe’s birth mother requested a closed adoption and Jessica was more than happy to comply. But when her house is broken into and she discovers a clue that suggests her estranged husband was in close contact with Gabe’s biological mother, she vows to uncover the truth at any cost. A harrowing story of tenacious love and heartbreaking betrayal, You Were Always Mine is about the wars we wage to keep the ones we love close, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty and Jodi Picoult.

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MENTIONED IN:

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Flowers in the Attic
by V.C. Andrews

They were a perfect and beautiful family—until a heartbreaking tragedy shattered their happiness. Now, for the sake of an inheritance that will ensure their future, the children are kept in the attic of their grandmother’s labyrinthine mansion, isolated and alone. A suspenseful and thrilling tale of family, greed, murder, and forbidden love, FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC is the unputdownable first novel of the epic Dollanganger family saga. 

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Flowers in the Attic
V.C. Andrews

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Photo Credit: iStock/evgenyatamanenko

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