Lara searched for her courage. “Evie, don’t repeat my mistakes. Don’t get married without knowing each other properly.”Eve’s hand was arrested in the act of replacing the shoe box in the carrier bag. “Whoa. What are you trying to tell me? That I‘m making a mistake? Or that you made a mistake?”
“I did make a mistake but–”
“It isn’t the same.” Eve’s lips tightened. “Don’t push yours on to me.”
There was a time when I would have related to this book from the point of view of one of the daughters. But now, I am in complete sympathy with their mother. Lara married their father while he was still mourning the loss of his first wife. She loved his two eldest daughters as her very own, and proceeded to have two more children. These three daughters’ lives are what comprise the story. That, and their relationship with their mother.
When you’re a daughter, you don’t understand how much your mother longs to protect you. To teach you, perhaps from her own errors, so that you don’t fall into the same mistakes. When you’re a mother, you forget how that desire to protect can often turn into hovering, and certainly be construed as interfering. Such a tightrope we walk, in either role, loving each other and yet needing to walk our own paths.
As Eve, one of Lara’s daughters, plans her wedding it becomes increasingly apparent that things are amiss. Her fiance is seen with another woman. Eve’s face is more stoic than radiant. She is determined not to make any changes to her wedding plans despite her family’s concerns, despite what might be concerning herself deep down inside.
Against this backdrop is Lara’s grief, still fierce over giving birth to a stillborn son. The events of our lives, which cause us to celebrate or grieve, are so often beyond our control. It is how we accept what comes our way that determines our happiness, that sets the foundation for our future.
I like how Elizabeth Buchan writes of marriage, and of relationships, particularly from a woman’s perspective. She is able to convey exactly what it is to be a mother, a daughter, a wife, or a lover. She captures the nuances of each role and imbues her characters with such honesty that we feel a deep connection with them. In Daughters, she writes a novel which had me holding my breath to the very end, wondering just how the women would resolve their issues.
My thanks to Penguin UK, for sending me Daughters by Elizabeth Buchan, released March 1, 2012, for a promised review.