In my novella THE GIRL MOST LIKELY, Cara McLeod’s mother makes her life a trial. She doesn’t hesitate to tell Cara her opinion of her weight, her marital status, her mothering skills, and any other aspect of Cara’s life or behavior. Though she longs for a loving bond with her mother, Cara finally realizes it will never happen. To protect herself and her daughters, she breaks free from this toxic relationship, and cuts her mother out of her life.
In my contemporary romance HER BEST MAN, Sarah Steven’s mother goes ballistic when Sarah’s groom walks out on her at her wedding. Later, Isabelle enjoys telling her friends and family the gory details of the wedding debacle. To get away from her mother, who moved in with her after her parents divorced, Sarah decides to go on the cruise meant to be her honeymoon. Eventually, she stands up to Isabelle and tells her she needs to find her own place. With the love and support of the men in their lives, Sarah and Cara learn to deal with their overbearing mothers, and refuse to be doormats any longer.
In some of my books, the main character’s mother has died. In my current works-in-progress, the mother of the three sisters featured in the three-book series, dies tragically when they are young children. They’re raised by their grandmother, who the sisters describe as “difficult”. Grandma Dorothy loves them but finds it impossible to express her love. In my World War Two romance HOME FIRES, the mother of British war bride Anne Wakefield was killed in the London blitz. Luckily for Anne, her new husband’s mother Astrid is a warm and loving person who treats her like her own daughter. In fact, it’s Astrid who suggests Anne marry her son Erik when her other son, the one she comes to Canada to marry, marries someone else.
What happens when the child becomes the parent? That’s the question Julia Stewart struggles with in ONE MORE SECOND CHANCE when her mother succumbs to Alzheimer’s. The changes in her mother occur gradually, and Julia is so busy with her six-year-old daughter Ava and her job as a high school principal that she doesn’t realize how ill she is. At first Julia doesn’t want to believe that her beautiful, loving mother isn’t the same person she used to be. She rails against losing her this way. But with the help and support of the local doctor, the man she comes to love, she learns to accept her mother the way she is now.
The mother/child connection is one of the most complex of human relationships, and writers have been exploring it forever. It’s one I plan to continue to study.
Do you have favorite fictional mother? What are you doing for Mother’s Day this year?