My Mother’s Gift heartfelt, sensitive, touching and realistic fiction about Alzheimer’s with many layers and excellently written theme.
My Mother’s Gift by Steffanie Edward
Publication Date : March 22, 2022
Publisher : Bookouture
Genre : Fiction
Pages : 287
Tea for this book : You’ll need Menthol Tea as it’s a poignant and sad story
Disclaimer – Many thanks to publisher for providing eARC as part of blog tour, in exchange for an honest review.
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…
A captivating tale of grief, love, and what it means to find home, perfect for fans of Andrea Levy, Jojo Moyes and Amanda Prowse.
touching and realistic fiction about Alzheimer’s
My Mother’s Gift is touching and realistic fiction that revolves around Erica returning to her mother’s hometown on Caribbean island to take care of her mother with Alzheimer’s disease. The story is about mother-daughter relationship, coping with Alzheimer’s disease, unresolved issues, grief, sascrifice, family, friendship, and love.
Writing is touching, resonating, and sobering. The story is written in first person narrative from Erica’s perspective. Her voice is heartfelt and moving. There are intermittent flashbacks that gave glimpse on how Erica’s relationship was with her mother and what brought unresolved issues between them. I liked the beautiful setting of St. Lucia, a Caribbean Island and life of islanders.
The story started with Erica, arriving back to her hometown, St. Lucia, from England after getting a frantic phone call from her 80 yrs old aunty Barbarbara about her mother- Ione’s dementia getting worse and it’s getting hard for her to look after her. Ione was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 4 yrs ago. Erica wanted her to stay with her in England where she has job and life but Ione insisted on living in her own home in St. Lucia making Erica employ a carer for her and visit as much as she can but now that her condition is getting worse, Ione has driven away all carers, and aunty is too old to take care of Ione, Erica has to make the decision to either put her mother in a care home- that is frowned by islander and her aunty- or taker her mother back to England with her where she can get proper help and assistance. But as she spends time with her mother and sees how difficult it is to take care of her mother, soon it becomes hard to make any decision that can either make her look selfish or sacrifice her life and career in England.
All characters are realistic and relatable. I rooted for Erica from the beginning. I could understand her dilemma, her struggles, and emotions. It was poignant to see difficulties she faced on the island that didn’t have proper care home or hospital facilities, where she didn’t know anyone except few old relatives, and above all her mother’s dementia making her hurt and fraying the lose ends she never get to resolve before the disease took her. I also get her frustration towards her mother constantly asking for his dead partner who never treated her well, cheated her, and didn’t even spare Erica. It sure isn’t easy to let go of hatred towards such man, accept her own mother put him above her even after knowing his intentions towards her own daughter, and remembers him even in the disease.
I didn’t like Ione for that. I still can’t believe she chose to live with that cheating man and never confronted him for his interest in Erica. She even closed her doors when Erica needed her most because of that man. How could a mother do that! I get she stayed for money and security but was it really more important than her own daughter! I’m on Erica’s side here and also agree with her that she could leave him, find job, or take him to court but she didn’t and it isn’t easy to forgive or forget such thing. I don’t blame Erica for not having patience when Ione said hurtful things in aggressiveness of disease, unaware what she is doing to her daughter.
I loved other characters, Aunty Barbara (Ione’s elder sister), cousin Headley, cousin Hanna, friendly neighbor who all were supportive and helpful to Erica, gave her company and helped in looking after Ione when needed.
Best part of the book is the theme and layers in the story and representation of Alzheimer’s, how people cope with Alzheimer’s, not just the one who is suffering from it but also loved one in care of the sufferer, difficulties come with the disease, no matter how prepared one is there are uncertainties with this cruel disease, the vulnerability of disease, how hard it is to accept it, and taking help when required. I also liked layer of choices people make for security, mother-daughter relationship, and parenting through the backstory of characters. There is so much to learn and empathize with.
End is great. I liked Erica’s decision and how she found life along with her responsibility. Author mentioning in notes how her own mother suffered from the disease makes the story even more realistic and sensitive.
Why 4 stars-
I couldn’t exactly say but I felt there was something missing. Maybe it’s the pace or I didn’t buy Ione’s reason for staying with Mr Frank, I didn’t like her for brushing off what he did so easily trying to blame it on Erica or wanting her to be grateful for his money.
Overall, My Mother’s Gift is heartfelt, sensitive, poignant, and realistic women’s fiction about dealing with Alzheimer’s.
I recommend this if you like,
relatable and realistic fiction
story about Alzheimer’s disease
theme of grief and sacrifice
Purchase Link: Amazon:
Steffanie Edward was born in St Lucia, brought up in London and now straddles between the two.
Anancy, Crick-crick and other Caribbean folk stories have been a part of her life since childhood. In her late teens she enjoyed reading Susan Howatch and books on slavery. Her absolute favourite reads have been Wild Seed by Octavia E Butler, and Woman At Point Zero by Naawal El Saadawi.
Her writing career started with short stories, five of which have been published. Her first attempt at writing a novel was over twenty years ago, whilst living and working in Abu Dhabi. That novel, Yvette, didn’t make it into print, but the main protagonist, Yvette, has muscled her way into Steffanie’s debut novel, This Other Island.
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