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16 books that will rock your Mom’s world!

Where we belong, Emily Giffin

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“From the best-selling novelist, Emily Giffin, comes the unforgettable story of one powerful secret, its effect on two families, and the life-altering journey that follows. With Giffin’s use of humor, honesty, originality and like, Jane Austen, biting social commentary, this novel sits easily on nightstands and in beach bags. Even Austen would find it hard to put down.” (Chicago Sun Times)

Ruth, Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

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This classic story examines the prejudice against unmarried mothers in the 18th century. Ruth Hilton, a struggling young seamstress, exemplifies a conventional “fallen woman”. When Henry Bellingham, an esteemed member of society, seduces and then deserts Ruth, the destitute young lady is forced to keep her illegitimate child a secret. When Henry reappears in Ruth’s life, she must weigh her personal pride against social acceptance. Elizabeth Gaskell portrays the main character with honesty and compassion challenging the views of sin and social outcasts.

Everyone Loves Paris, Leslie Jonath

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From grand landmarks--such as the Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Cœur Basilica, and the Louvre Pyramid--to the small pleasures of daily life, this illustrated coffee table book captures the heart and soul of this marvelous city though the perspective of each artist's brush. Everyone Loves Paris is a delightful meander that will inspire you to view the City of Light from a new angle and in a multitude of styles.

Bleak House, Charles Dickens

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In true Dickensian style, a complex plot incorporates murder, comedy, mystery and romance challenging reader’s perception of beauty, nobility and power. Having survived an orphan-like childhood and serious illness Esther Summerson is yet to experience her first love, devotion and kindness in a seemingly uncaring world. An investigation, led by inspector Bucket, the first detective to appear in fiction, uncovers the truth about Esther’s mother and her tragic life. A tale of redemption creates a sense of triumph of a young woman over an oppressive social system.

Diamond Head, by Cecily Wong

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Cecily Wong’s debut novel slowly unravels the secrets of the wealthy Leong’s family. Four generations of women are linked by a ‘red string of fate’ that follows them from China all the way to Hawaii. Infused with sacrifice, lies and tragic love, Diamond Head is the story of family fortunes being shaped by historical events ranging from The Boxer Rebellion to Pearl Harbor.

Lady Susan, Jane Austen

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A less well-known novel by Jane Austen is written in the form of a series of letters giving an authentic edge to the story. Lady Susan Vernon’s determination to secure an advantageous marriage for herself contrasts with her intentions to marry off her teenage daughter. A woman with no conscience, Lady Susan is unstoppable in pursuit of her own happiness and, at the same time, attempts to manipulate her daughter into a potentially disastrous match. The novel beautifully intertwines Regency manners and morals expressed through witty characters and remains, arguably, the most charming novel of the 19th century.

Listen to Your Mother, Ann Imig

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“This collection of stories celebrates modern day motherhood — from adoption, assimilation to emptying nests; first-time motherhood, foster-parenting, to infertility; single-parenting, LGBTQ parenting, to special-needs parenting; step-mothering; never mothering, to surrogacy; and mothering through illness to mothering through unsolicited advice. Listen to Your Mother is an emotional whirlwind that is guaranteed to entertain, amuse, and enlighten”.

Return of the Native, Thomas Hardy

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One of Hardy's best novels, Return of the Native is centred on Egdon Heath and its inhabitants. In fact, the landscape, defined by its timelessness, becomes an integral part of the plot, influencing the lives of the characters. In their quest for true love, Thomasin, Wildeve, Eustacia and Clym face passion, sorrow as well as challenges associated with superstition, faith and family bonds. Clym’s turbulent and intense relationship with his mother has a profound impact on his love life leading to separation from Eustacia and a split with Mrs Yeobright leading to tragedy for almost all involved.

The light between oceans, M.L. Stedman

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When Tom secures the post of lighthouse keeper on an isolated island, his new home seems idyllic for a young couple eager to start a new family. Years later, having survived the loss of their unborn babies, the couple discover a baby in a boat washed up on the beach. “Irresistible and seductive New York Times bestseller with a high concept plot will keep you riveted from the first page” (The Oprah Magazine).

Lady Windermere’s Fan, Oscar Wilde

Image credit: Emily Cooper

"There's nothing in the world like the devotion of a married woman. It's a thing no married man knows anything about."

A famous comedy of manners by Oscar Wilde is laced with mystery, scandal and sexual politics. The world turns up side down for Lady Windermere, a young aristocratic lady with strict moral codes, when her husband is rumoured to have an affair with the older beautiful Mrs Erlynne, who uses her association with Lord Windermere to re-enter society after 20 years of absence. The play climaxes with a revelation that restores harmony in the Windermere family. A treasure chest of wisdom, the play is enriched with aphorisms that are relevant in the modern world.

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

Image credit: Columbia Pictures

Ever since its publication, this literary gem has inspired generations of family stories. Set in a New England community, this novel tells a story of jealousy, pride, patience and sorrow. Civil war has taken its toll on the March sisters who have to cope with their Father’s absence. Practical Meg, outspoken and tomboyish Jo, sweet-natured Beth and artistic Amy support their Marmee by taking over extra responsibilities. Despite poverty, Beth’s illness and worries over their Father’s safety the sisters manage to maintain their high spirits and zest for life.

The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Set in 17th century Boston, this novel portrays Puritan society with its prejudice against women committing adultery. Following the affair with Dimmesdale, Hester gives birth to a baby girl, Pearl. Publicly disgraced, she is forced to wear a scarlet letter “A”, branding her as an “Adulterer”. Incredibly insightful, Hester makes acute observations of female predicaments that disadvantage vulnerable women. Hawthorne describes a strong female character who lives through years of shame and scorn in her exile drawing on her fighting spirit to deal with personal dilemmas.

Sons and Lovers, D. H. Lawrence

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Partially based on the author’s life, Sons and Lovers is a compelling story about the clash of generations. Unable to find true happiness in her marriage, Gertrude Morel refocuses her passions on her sons: William and Paul. In search of escape from his mother’s suffocating grasp, Paul throws himself into relationships with numerous women, but the fragile equilibrium cannot be restored when maternal love oversteps its usual boundaries.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple

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When anxiety takes the better of Bernadette, she develops agoraphobia, entrusting all her errands to a virtual assistant in India. Unable to face reality, Bernadette disappears shortly before her planned trip to Antarctica, leaving her fifteen-year-old daughter, Bee, guessing what prompted her mother to vanish so suddenly. In her desperate search for the truth, Bee puts together email messages, documents and secret correspondence that unveil the reasons behind Bernadette’s disappearance.

Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

Image credit: Universal Pictures

Anna Karenina is one of the most complex female literary characters. Trapped in a passionless marriage, Anna finds joy in her son Seryozha, who she cares for deeply. But her life is irrevocably changed by a hurricane of emotions when she meets Count Vronsky – an eligible bachelor with military aspirations. The love affair prompts our heroine to re-evaluate her commitments and abandon her family. Rejected by society and denied access to her child, Anna is consumed with despair and heads toward self-destruction.

Anne’s House of Dreams, Lucy Maud Montgomery

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The fifth novel in “Anne of Green Gables” series follows the story about a red -haired orphan who is about to marry her childhood sweetheart Gilbert Blythe. The happy couple start their new life together on the misty shores of Four Winds Harbour where Anne embarks on emotional rollercoaster experiencing the joy of motherhood and the pain of losing a child. Montgomery masterfully depicts happiness and great tragedy in the early years of marriage enriching the novel with unique characters: Captain Jim with his sad stories of the sea and tragically beautiful Leslie Moore.

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