I subscribe to two different book boxes: Powell’s Indiespensible box, and Quarterly Co.’s Literary box. Brit Bennett’s novel must have been much-anticipated, because both boxes sent it to me. That had never happened before.
I have to say though, I was pleasantly surprised with the book. I generally don’t read the synopsis before I start, so I go into it blind. The story was actually very engaging. It follows Nadia Turner, a young girl in Southern California who has lost her way. Nadia’s mother recently committed suicide, her father doesn’t seem to remember she’s around, and Nadia has rebelled against her church background.
Part of her act of rebellion includes hooking up with the pastor’s son, Luke. Choices that Nadia makes while involved with Luke haunt her long after she has left her home town. The story follows her into adulthood, and no matter where she goes, she always ends up back at her roots.
The Mothers of the title are narrators of a sort. They are the older generation of women at Nadia’s church, Upper Room, who watch her life unfold. They pass their judgments about Nadia’s choices and impart their own wisdom.
The story is a giant “what if”. Nadia is constantly asking herself that question as she moves through life. As the reader, it certainly made me ask that question a time or two about my own life. Eventually Nadia finds a way to live with her past, regardless of the ghosts of what could have been.