I read a fair number of books, but I consider very few worthy of multiple readings. I recently found another one in that special category.
Her Mother’s Hope is a wonderful novel telling the story of the complexity of the mother-daughter relationship: the protagonist, Marta’s relationship with her mother and then with her daughter.
Marta’s mother’s hope is that her liebling, Marta, will fly away and chase her dreams. She encourages her daughter in those words, even implicitly releasing her from potential guilt of leaving the family and never returning back to it by saying, “You have my blessing, Marta. I give it to you wholeheartedly and without reservation.” Marta’s mother sends away her daugther in the fear that if she stays back, she will be like her father – discontented, cruel, and selfish.
Marta flies across countries to follow her professional dreams, but cannot get over the tragic life of her timid sister who remains over-protected by her Mama; she vows. “I swear before God, Rosie, if I’m ever fortunate enough to have a daughter, I’ll make sure she’s strong enough to stand up for herself!”
Interestingly, Marta lets go of her very dream for which she fought so hard.
Among her kids is Hildemara, a daughter who is prone to sickness and would end up being, possibly, timid. Marta, in an attempt to ensure that her daugther grows up and becomes independent and fierceless, pushes Hildemara and behaves strictly and harshly with her. She tries to to teach her that if she does not ask, she will not get anything in life.
Hildemara grows up, but ends up distanced from Marta. She never sees the love, because it is never told nor expressed gently. On the other hand, Hildemara, who wants to do anything and everything to pleasse her mother, is repeatedly hurt; she ends up seeing Marta as an unsatisfied, unavailable, inflexible mother who does not love this daugther. Even in the worst of her situation, Hildemara does not ask her for help.
The book is amazingly well written and pours out emotions and captures the extreme complexity of this relationship. It can be entertaining and eye-opening at the same time.
And the book ended with me wanting to eagerly read the sequel.