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Review by Suze
Alice is in her early forties and she's a widow. Julian was a few years older and he was her first love. They had a few amazing years together and he was her rock. Alice misses him terribly. Especially now that her daughters, Laura and Evie, are in trouble. In both cases it's something they have caused themselves and dealing with the consequences should be their own responsibility. Alice is powerless, she can't force her daughters to make the right decisions and she has to stand by and support them no matter what. Fortunately Frank, her husband's best friend, is back in her life. He's a great shoulder to lean on and she needs him more than ever, because in all the chaos with her family there are also unexpected secrets that finally come to light.
Mothers and Daughters is a great story about a mother who has to deal with a lot of unexpected problems while she's still grieving. Alice is strong though and adventurous. She doesn't let herself become a victim of the situation and tries to do whatever she can to improve things. Evie is talented and beautiful, but sometimes the heart wants something that should have better been left alone. Laura is smart and practical and Alice thinks she might have chosen safety over everything else and that there's maybe a little too much of it. Her daughters have to make their own mistakes though and she can't tell them what to do. It was interesting to watch her inner struggles and to see her eventual reactions. The love for her daughters is the most important thing in the world, so she supports them while silently disapproving what they do. Minna Howard describes the battles she fights inside her mind in detail and I loved getting to know Alice so well.
Frank is a kind man and there's a lot he hasn't told Alice. Now that he's back in her life he wants to be there for her, but he doesn't dare to tell her the truth. I loved seeing them together and they have a special connection. I liked Minna Howard's choice to let her readers witness his feelings as well. Most of the story is being told from Alice's point of view, but she's also given Frank a voice. He's an amazing person and has sacrificed a lot. I kept hoping he would get what he wanted. I enjoyed reading about him and instantly liked him very much.
Minna Howard tells her story that's filled with terrible messes and difficulties in a wonderful way. Her story never becomes too heavy. While there's quite a bit of sadness in Alice's life, she manages to keep the right amount of lightness in her tone of voice. Mainly because Alice finally has the chance to do exactly what she wants and because of that she's becoming her old bold self again. Alice's family is definitely fascinating. I couldn't wait to find out more about the secrets and about the implications of Evie and Laura's decisions. I was also curious to discover what would happen when the truth would be revealed. I loved the romantic ending, which is surprising and fittingly turbulent. If you like a good family story, you will definitely love this book.