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Friday, April 2, 2010

Mother Love by Judy Griffith Gill

Mother Love by Judy Griffith Gill
Publisher: Awe-Struck Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Inspirational
Length: Short (143 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Orchid

Joanna, long divorced, mother of a single-mom daughter and a rebellious teenager, is pregnant, through accident, not design. Her older daughter thinks it's "cool", her teen thinks it's humiliating, and her mother's in such a fog of pot smoke she doesn't care.

Her sometimes lover, who is not the father, wants to marry her, but he's a "ramblin' man" not a good marriage prospect even if she wanted one. One marriage was plenty! But, when she suffers a serious accident, Joanna discovers her family can pull together, love each other, care for her, and that her mother's advice -- "when you find a good man, hang onto him" -- is worth listening to, and that a ramblin' man can settle down when the time is right.

Mother Love is Joanna McPherson's story, but it also spans three generations of mothers. Laura the oldest mother, a hippy who never grew up. Joanna, her illegitimate daughter, who tries desperately to forget her childhood and broken marriage and make a home for herself and her daughters. Twenty-one year old Faith who has gone through a wild period and now she and her son live with Joanna, her mother.

Joanna tries to be there for everyone. She grits her teeth and puts up with her mother who still grows and smokes pot and dresses like a hippy. She helps look after her grandson and tries to keep control of Sybil, her fifteen year old daughter.

Money is her main worry. Her biological father left her his estate but she has college funds to save for, day to day living expenses and spousal support for her ex-husband. Joanna finds it hard to forgive her ex for his desertion of her and her daughters. This is especially hard when they have grown up and lived their married life in Three Rock Cove on a small island off Vancouver Island. Joanna still lives there although her ex now lives in Victoria.

Joanna's life is emotionally hard, but to earn money to support her family, she is always busy. As vice-principal of the local school she works hard, but when school is over for the year she takes on two part-time jobs - one at the library, the other at the marina. This helps her to keep her head above water financially.

Two men in her life provide the intimacy she needs, but Mike the owner of the boat Lolita is the one who becomes a true friend.

I have to say this is my kind of book. Sweet romance, but not over the top, Mother Love also has humor and heartache traveling side by side. Every time I took a break my mind would wonder what would happen next until I was forced to start reading again.

Laura is funny. A sixty-year-old hippie should be funny and the author portrays Laura exactly as I imagined her. Like most teenage single mothers, Faith has had to grow up quickly. She is grateful for her mother's help but takes full responsibility for her son.

Sybil, the fifteen year old, causes her mother many headaches. Most women who read this will be able to relate to Joanna as she struggles to help her daughter through the jungle of her teenage years.

And then there's Joanna. The book is told in the first person and I really got to know Joanna well. She worries about her family more than she does herself and is stunned when she finds out she is pregnant. Her decisions for her future and the reactions of her family are surprising, but her hidden strength rises to the surface to protect her and her unborn child.

I liked this book as it had a true to life feel about it. A lot of sweet romances have misunderstandings that could easily be resolved, but aren't. Mother Love has none of this. Joanna, an older heroine, worked things out in her head. Sure she had some panic moments, hormonal tantrums and said hurtful things, but she was human. She didn't leave things to fester like a younger woman might. Instead she met things head on and admitted her own faults.

Well done Ms Gill. I would recommend this book to lovers of sweet romance who like a realistic, but thought provoking story.