What to buy Mom for Mother’s Day will depend on her taste? Does she like gourmet reads that require attention and reflection? Is her life hectic so she’s looking for something that will grab her attention immediately but not necessarily stick with her? Does she love a good story with a dollop of history on top? Would she prefer a new and different treat? Here are some last-minute suggestions. If you’re lucky enough to live near an independent book store, drop in and describe your mother, tell the bookseller some of the books your Mom has loved and you’ll be rewarded with great suggestions and they’ll probably wrap your choice for free.
For the Mom who likes a gourmet read with a strong storyline:
Temple Grove by Scott Elliott is a story of a mother’s love and a son’s quest set in Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. Temple Grove is one of the last undisturbed stands of ancient Douglas firs. It’s been protected by its location on National Park land but that’s now in dispute and loggers want it. Enter Paul, an 18-year-old Makah (native peninsula tribe) who wants to save the trees. Paul’s mother, Trace, faced long odds in raising him and she just wants to keep him safe. Tribal culture, environmental concerns, and the need for work in a land where beauty won’t put food on the table lead to adventurous encounters, dangerous forest pursuits, and questions that mothers will take to their book clubs to discuss.
For the Mom who’d like a big story with a message and a little history:
Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler tells of Isabelle, a white woman in her 80’s, who asks Dorrie, her African-American hair stylist and friend, if she’ll drive her from East Texas to Cincinnati. As the women wend their way north, Isabelle slowly reveals the unresolved pain of her teenage affair with her family maid’s brother, Robert, a black man. Isabelle wants to return for a funeral which may uncover secrets she’s kept hidden for over sixty years. As Isabelle divulges her story, Dorrie begins to realize that she needs to confront her own romantic and parental difficulties. This debut novel based partially on the author’s own family history is sure to please mothers with its freshly told tale.
For the Mom who wants a love story and a tear jerker:
Me Before You by JoJo Moyes is a love story not a cheap romance. Lou Clark is an acerbic, 26-year-old girl who needs a good job to support her disintegrating family. Her boyfriend of seven years, a triathlon- obsessed pretty boy, provides no emotional support but he’s steady. Lou accepts a position in the home of the wealthiest family in town where she’s to care for Will, a quadriplegic, former wheeler-dealer, who’s giving up on life. Will’s mother begs Lou to stick with the job despite Will’s treatment of her. You think you know where this is going but twists make it more than a romantic romp. It’s a carpe diem treat.
For the mother who’d like a humorous yet poignant escape:
The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore is a bit of an African-American Steel Magnolias set in southern Indiana in the days when separate but equal was a strictly enforced rule. It’s a tale of friendships nurtured around a big table in Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat Café. Odette, Clarice, Barbara Jean, and their husbands gather at Earl’s every Sunday after church to swap stories and support each other. The rhythmic lilt of their conversations feeds humorous stories and underlying miseries.
For the Mom who wants a suspenseful trial novel with lots of twists and the revelation of what being a mother really means:
The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne is for any mother who likes a suspense-filled novel with intriguing characters and a trial that will make her wonder about nature versus nurture. If your mother likes psychological thrillers and if she enjoyed the intricate plotting and devious turns in Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, she’ll delight in this tale. Daniel, a formerly troubled foster child, is now a lawyer defending an eleven-year-old boy accused of murdering his playmate. Daniel’s childhood with Minnie, a foster parent who rears him on her farm is revealed in alternating flashback chapters. Minnie’s mothering saves Daniel until one day things fall apart. Sebastian, the defendant, is just a little boy yet he seems devious and lacking in empathy. His mother seems too broken to care for him adequately so he turns to Daniel for emotional support.
For the mother who loves historical fiction and reading about the role of women in history:
Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini documents the little known history of Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Todd Lincoln’s dressmaker and confidante. Those who love being an eye-witness to the Civil War and Mrs.Lincoln’s life after Lincoln’s death will also enjoy the aspects of fashion and dressmaking that allowed Elizabeth Keckley, a former slave, to support herself and send her son to college as well as to begin a society to support the newly freed. Chiaverini uses Keckley’s own diaries to inform the novel. This easy read will be sure to please many mothers. It also begs the question of why this woman is so little known.
For the Mom who wants to disappear into a fantastic novel that will have her contemplating her own life:
Benediction by Kent Haruf is quite simply magnificent. Read the full review on this site:
If you’re still unsure, get your Mom a gift card from her favorite bookstore earmarked for her to buy Khalid Hosseini’s new novel And the Mountains Echoed when it comes out on May 21, 2013. Your mother probably adored The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Sons and she’d surely love this (hint, hint).