A debut novel that highlights family relationships and the how the past affects the future.
There is a lot going on in this family and there are quite a few characters, so it took a bit for me to get everyone sorted. We learn that the Butler children had a rough rode to travel growing up, but they must face even more tough times as Althea and Proctor commit a crime and are sent to jail. Althea is the eldest, the one who raised her siblings, she now needs help with her own two teenage daughters. Her two sisters step up to help out.
Alternating chapters give us the point of views from the three sisters, Althea, Viola, and Lillian. It seemed that each sister had a different “hunger” that needed to be dealt with after the loss of their parents and the dysfunction they grew up with. They all seemed to be trying to find their way out of the past to get a fresh start. The characters are flawed, realistic and compelling.
Lots of obstacles stand in their way, as they come together to survive the latest trial that brings so much scrutiny and pressure to them all. They handle it in their own way – the past and the present.
Themes of guilt, love and forgiveness made this a powerful, emotional story that had a sadness about it. This would make a great book club discussion.
Recommend to fans of family drama.
The Mothers meets An American Marriage in this dazzling debut novel about mothers and daughters, identity and family, and how the relationships that sustain you can also be the ones that consume you.
The Butler family has had their share of trials—as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest—but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives.
Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband Proctor are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened.
As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as page-turning as it is important.