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  • Writer's pictureFran Clark

Book Review - My Mother's Gift by Steffanie Edward

After reading Steffanie Edward's debut, This Other Island I very quickly put My Mother's Gift on the reading list. Of course the second book did get pushed up the list ahead of a few others, as I enjoyed the first one so much.

Like most readers, my reading list is endless though I can't resist the odd Amazon e-book deal and my tablet is probably overloaded. I'll end up having to read more than one book at a time at this rate!

Very soon I'll be researching and beginning to write my next book series and I won't get to read as much as I'd like, so I'm getting stuck in to some tasty women's fiction novels while I can.

Here is the blurb for My Mother's Gift:

Can your heart belong somewhere that you’ve never called home?

When Erica gets a phone call to say her mother, Ione, is ill in St Lucia, she knows she must go to her. Though the island – the place of her mother’s birth – is somewhere that Erica has never seen as her homeland.

Even when the plane touches down in the tropical paradise, with its palm trees swaying in the island breeze, the sound of accents so like her mother’s own calling loud in the air, Erica doesn’t find herself wanting to stay a moment longer than she has to.

But stepping into her mother’s house, she is shocked by what she finds. Her mother’s memory is fading, her once-immaculate house is now dirty and messy, and she’s refusing help from anyone but family. And Erica knows she must stay with her, even though it means leaving everything else behind.

What she doesn’t know is that – even as her mother’s memories get worse – Ione still has a final gift for her daughter. Because the unspoken secrets of their past are about to emerge, changing everything Erica thought she knew about her mother, her home, and who she really is…

My Review

In this heartfelt account of a woman's journey to her mother's native St Lucia, conflicts of emotion fills each page of this intense drama. Edward has crafted a story that will resonate with anyone who has come to a stage in their lives when your own path is neatly carved out, but a major change happens with a parent and all of a sudden you're going to have to deviate from the plan. Especially if it means caring for a parent who has dementia.

Having been through a similar experience myself, I found the story very easy to relate to. Written with such sensitivity to the subject, I could identify how the main female character, Erica, felt as she watches the mother she knew, slowly leaving her life. The book really drew on the emotional heartstrings as Erica went through an array of feelings as she tried to negotiate what was best for her mother and how much she had to sacrifice. Of course, while it's easy to say that we would drop everything for our mother, Edward didn't shy away from the fact that decisions like that are not always easy to make when it actually happens to you, making Erica a more realistic character in my eyes. Edward's writing is honest and to the point.

The pace of the novel is quite slow, so you need to know that going in. If you normally like thrillers, crime and action and adventure, you won't find that here. But what you will find is an honest and compassionate telling of a lovely family saga.

Flashbacks are neatly woven into the narrative as is the use of local dialect from the islanders. Characters stayed true to themselves and jumped off the page throughout. I enjoyed the colour and texture the author brought to her scene setting and the delightful way that a glimmer of hope amongst the sadness is what we are left with by the end of this very satisfying read.

Loved it.

Grab your copy of My Mother's Gift and find out more about Steffanie Edward here!

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