Review – Mama’s Child by Joan Steinau Lester


Synopsis: MAMA’S CHILD follows twenty-three years in the life of Lizzie O’Leary, an idealistic young white woman who travels to the American South as a civil rights worker. She meets, falls in love with, and marries Solomon Jordan, a musician and fellow activist, who is black. Together, the young couple settles in the more liberal San Francisco area and starts a family: daughter Ruby, and son Che. They remain deeply involved in the Black Liberation Movement: participating in protest marches, and living in a home filled with Black Power posters, jazz, protest songs, and visiting Black Panthers.

 But by 1978, when the novel opens, there is tension between the couple. Solomon’s music career keeps him away from home too much, and Lizzie is frustrated: “I need you here. I can’t raise these kids by myself. And they need a black parent, some days I just don’t know what to do.” Eventually, the strain becomes unbearable, and they divorce when their children are still young.

Mama's Child Cover

 Their divorce deeply affects daughter Ruby, who is already suffering from a confused sense of self—“Am I black or white?” she continually asks herself. “Where do I belong?” She struggles with her own racial identity as well as her anger at her mother for splitting up the family. As for mother Lizzie, despite her attempts at trying to hold on to the emotional cord that binds them, the rift between mother and daughter widens.

 It isn’t until Ruby herself becomes a wife and mother that she begins to develop compassion and understanding for the many ways that her own mother’s love transcended race and questions of identity.

 Told in chapters alternating between the voices of the mother and daughter, MAMA’S CHILD goes deep into the raw emotions of love, family, and ancestry– from two points of view.

Review: This was a very interesting book for several different reasons.  The author’s life paralleled the book, but only in structure (she herself a white woman who married a black man and had two biracial children, as well as living in Berkley and falling in love with a woman), however, the characters’ themselves are completely fiction.  I also enjoyed seeing the perspectives of both characters, the mother and daughter, (who could be extremely frustrating at times) as they struggle to find out who they are, sometimes painfully.
The author, Joan Stenau Lester, recently mentioned that her reoccurring theme through the book is forgiveness, but I would also add that it is the importance of communication and even responsibility.  The pain that plays out is real and the frustration for me came from the fact that these characters don’t talk to one another.  But that happens everyday in real life, so the flaws these characters have are real.
This is a well written and detailed book, but it is also extremely emotional.  It will elicit emotion from the reader, whether it be joy, encouragement or rage and disappointment.  I was definitely drawn into the story.  I would be only a few years younger than the character of the daughter, Ruby, so it was interesting to see different things through her eyes that I’ve never seen, nor will I ever see.  I also have a biracial niece, so it was interesting to see what the mother in this story was thinking.  Overall, I would recommend this book, I give it 4 stars.  It was definitely thought provoking and heartfelt.
4 pink stars
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Flash by Barbara Morgenroth – REVIEW and GIVEAWAY- Around the Universe Book Tour


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BOOK SYNOPSIS:
She’s been pretending to be 18 for so long, it feels like the truth.
When the only way for 15 year old photographer, Kip Chanin, to earn a living is as paparazzi, she can’t say no. Kip’s first photo is of Alex Milne, the handsome and volatile young actor. That one photo changes both their lives. Kip finds herself challenged to be a better photographer, a better daughter and to be a better friend. For someone used to getting by on her own, this could be Kip’s biggest lesson. The second biggest–You do what you have to in Hollywood to survive
Book Link:

REVIEW:

I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book when I received it, but then again, this is why I love doing reviews.  There are a lot of books I would never think of reading, but then they are handed to me and I have to read them to do a review.  This is one of those books that makes be grateful to be able to do this.  The characters are multi-dimensional, smart, funny, sharp, damaged, flawed and believable.  The book takes place in my home town, Los Angeles, and Barbara Morgenroth knows her geography.  She also knows her industry.

I was so engaged by the relationships in this story, I read it in one sitting, then immediately bought the second book… which I read last night.  And I hope there’s a third book coming out, because Barbara does like cliff hangers.  Having said that, I don’t mind cliff hangers and I LOVED this book!!  Kip is an independent, smart, talented girl and although at times she seems much older than she is, we understand why, but then the author shows us this glimpse of a  young girl and we are reminded, she’s not a gown up yet.  The agents are all totally accurate, the actors as well.  The book is like an onion that has layers and layers of story.  I guess i could go on, but this story is truly phenomenal and it is an unbelievable ride.  Hurry with Book 3 please!!

5 pink stars

AUTHOR BIO:
Barbara was born in New York City and but now lives somewhere else.  Starting her career by writing tweens and YA books, she wound up in television writing soap operas for some years.  Barbara then wrote a couple cookbooks and a nonfiction book on knitting.  She returned to fiction and wrote romantic comedies.
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When digital publishing became a possibility, Barbara leaped at the opportunity and has never looked back.  In addition to the 15 traditionally published books she wrote, in digital format Barbara has something to appeal to almost every reader from Mature YAs like the Bad Apple series and the Flash series, to contemporary romances like Love in the Air published by Amazon/Montlake, and Unspeakably Desirable, Nothing Serious and Almost Breathing.
flash121312Flash will be available for $.99 for Kindle during the duration of the tour.  Go grab a copy you won’t be disappointed!!!
There is also a GIVEAWAY.  Enter for the chance to win an
eBook of Flash or a camera charm (shown below).  camerapendant
To enter the GIVEAWAY, please click on the link below:
Please follow the links below to follow the entire tour: