7 Books that Explore Mother-Daughter Relationships

Francesca Segal, author of The Awkward Age, examines complex bonds between moms and girls.


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In my new novel, The Awkward Age, I wanted to write, at core, a love story between a mother and a daughter. For that relationship is a romance, of a sort, and seemed worthy honoring with exploration.

In my novel, Julia lost her husband and has been raising her teenager daughter Gwen alone for five years, living together with the volatile intensity of hostages long-held together. It has long been understood between them that Gwen is the center of her mother’s universe, and she offers up her life, interests and needs accordingly. Julia takes cares of Gwen, and Gwen takes care of Julia by allowing her mother to care for her. And then suddenly Julia falls unexpectedly, wonderfully, all-consumingly in love with James, a good man, a worthy man, a man who wants to care for both her and her child, and Gwen feels desperately betrayed.

The books here are very different portraits of mothers and daughters but their unifying theme is an understanding that between a mother and a daughter is a relationship replete with pathos, humor, heartbreak and beauty.

Featured image: knysh ksenya/shutterstock.com; Author Photo: © Laura Hart

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FRANCESCA SEGAL is an award-winning writer and journalist. Her first novel, The Innocents, won the Costa First Novel Award, the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, the Sami Rohr Prize, and a Betty Trask Award, and was long-listed for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize).

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