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My Mother’s Daughter by Ann O’Loughlin

Article by Swirl and Thread ©.
Posted in | .
Two mothers. Two daughters. Two families changed forever.
Margo Clifford is grieving after the recent passing of her husband, Conor. Now rudderless, Margo is very unsure of the path her life will take. Her only daughter, Elsa, is her only motivation every day to put one foot in front of the other and carry on living. Conor died of cancer, taken too young , leaving all his dreams behind him, never fulfilled. Margo and Conor had chosen their home, Rathmoney House, a beautiful large estate house in Co. Wicklow, following a trip to Ireland some years before. They had wanted to leave the rat-race of modern life behind them with the intention of eventually opening a guest house and re cultivating the gardens to help with their plan of living a little less complicated life.
Now, Margo finds herself overwhelmed with the enormity of the road ahead and doubts her ability to keep their dream alive. The local neighbours, Jack and Ida Roper, have been very good to Margo since Conor’s passing, with Jack maintaining the land until she figures out what she intends doing.

‘She remembered the first day they had viewed this house. Conor had called it a magical place beside the river; the aspect beautiful….they’d known even before they stepped inside that this was going to be the place they called home….In such a short time, things had changed utterly at Rathmoney House. Conor’s dream of a guesthouse was still alive, but Conor was no more’

With the help of Ida, Margo begins to see some hope. Ida encourages Margo to continue with the idea of opening a guest house and over a short period of time they begin to get the house in order. Margo wonders if is it possible. Can she survive this major crisis in her life? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Will the arrival of a very shocking letter put everything she has left, everything she holds dear, in jeopardy?

Cassandra Richards is an estate agent in Bowling Green, Ohio. With her marriage in disarray, Cassie is in turmoil. Charles had been the love of her life, her forever and after a time living in France, they returned home with a new baby, a little girl they named Tilly, and with a new life planned. Charles returned to his father’s car dealership and life was ok. But over the years Charles changed and Cassie could feel the distance between them.

‘She had let Charles go, hoping he would scratch whatever itch he had, then come back to her. When, after five days, she called at the car lot, she was told Charles was in New York; she knew then he was never going to return home. He was unapologetic when she rang him. “I’m calling it a day Cas. You know it hasn’t been right between us for a long time. I want out.”‘

Now sitting in her attorney’s office, Cassie is informed that Charles is going to make this separation very difficult and ‘play hardball’ Cassie is distraught and upset at the demands Charles is making but refuses to lie down without a fight. Her work is now more important than ever to her but her concentration is no longer what it should be and she is not closing the sales. With the pressures of work and the pressures of single motherhood ahead, Cassie is stressed. When Charles drops the bombshell that he is now looking to have a paternity test to prove he actually is Tilly’s father, he unwittingly unleashes a chain of events that will eventually cross oceans and continents and will reek havoc on the lives of many.

My Mother’s Daughter is a fictional tale but the themes Ann O’Loughlin writes about are all too real. Death, grief, serious illness, divorce, relationships, trust, stress are all an unfortunate part of many of our lives today. How we deal with these issues and how we move on is very much dependent on those we are surrounded by. For Ann O’ Loughlin, she writes about what she knows, female friendship, that wondrous network of support that comes into force for a woman when the chips are down. I always thoroughly enjoy the flow and the writing style of an Ann O’ Loughlin book but I did have a little niggle with some of the dialogue in this book. On some occasions it felt a little stilted, lacking in the emotion I felt the scene deserved. I would have wished for a little more warmth in some of the conversations that took place around these moments. There was also a relationship in the book that I felt was a little peculiar and I’m not so sure how necessary it was to the story.

My Mother’s Daughter is a very much a novel about the strength of the love a mother has for her daughter and it seriously challenges this love, asking how far would you go? Margo and Cassie are two mothers, two women who have suffered and who have major obstacles to overcome. Can they save themselves? Can they save their daughters?

Ann O’ Loughlin always writes novels with a compassion and a warmth that touches a chord with many. I have absolutely no doubt that My Mother’s Daughter will be another such book, as folk take the story of Margo and Cassie to their hearts.

(c) Swirl and Thread

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