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Mothers and Daughters

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Press Release for Mothers and Daughters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      
ON SALE: March 29, 2011                                          
Also available as an eBook                                                           

Contact: Maggie Sivon      
Deputy Director of Publicity   
646-307-5240 / Maggie.sivon@hholt.com


A multigenerational story that celebrates the joys and pains of motherhood

A Novel

by Rae Meadows


Praise for No One Tells Everything by Rae Meadows

“Rae Meadows’s keen, often humorous take on living, loving, and moving on is like a glass of cold water after a long run. Deeply satisfying.” Marie Claire

Praise for Calling Out by Rae Meadows

“[Meadows’s] sharp first novel combines the au courant theme of Mormonism with the timeless allure of the world’s oldest profession.”Entertainment Weekly (2006 “Must Read” Selection)

“A spare, addictive debut novel . . . Meadows captures her frazzled, antic characters and their world with such empathy and with such a keen reportorial eye that you could just about open your own escort agency after reading the novel.” Newsweek

 MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS: A Novel by Rae Meadows (Henry Holt and Company; on sale: March 29, 2011) is about three generations of women—Sam, Iris, and Violet—their stories intertwined to span the twentieth century. Their spellbinding tale ranges from the measured calm of the contemporary Midwest to the seedy underbelly of early-twentieth-century New York City as each woman learns to balance the tensions of being both a mother and a daughter.

We first meet Sam, a contemporary new mother struggling to regain her bearings after the arrival of her daughter, Ella. While motherhood has brought unexpected joys, she worries that she’s lost something of herself by putting her artistic dreams on hold. What if that part of her is gone forever? She also still mourns the loss of her own mother, Iris, who died a year ago, just when Sam needed her guidance more than ever. Now a box of Iris’s belongings has arrived on Sam’s doorstep in Madison, Wisconsin, to reveal long-buried family secrets that might help Sam sort through some of her anxieties about her new role as a mother as well as some secrets of her own.

As Sam investigates the box’s contents, an unknown thread of her family’s story begins to take shape. We are transported back two generations to the dawn of the twentieth century where we meet Sam’s grandmother Violet as a young girl. She lives in the urban cesspool of New York City’s Fourth Ward with her mother, an opium addict. Eleven-year-old Violet is feisty and tough, accustomed to holding her own on the streets. But it’s certainly not a life for a child so young and when Violet runs away from the Home for Destitute Children, her mother makes the heartbreaking decision to send her off on the orphan train, which from 1854 to1929 transported many of New York City’s impoverished children to new homes and families in the Midwest.

Finally, we weave through time and the reader meets Iris as she is dying of breast cancer. After forty years as a housewife in suburban Chicago, she divorced and moved to Sanibel Island, Florida, where after a brief but revelatory affair with a married man, she lives in relative solitude. As the final days approach, Iris reaches into the past to make peace with her life and calls upon her daughter to help guide her way.

The novel explores quintessentially American themes—migration, class mobility, the bonds between family—as it also delves into the shocking idea that needy children could be put on a train and planted elsewhere to find a new family and the support they need, an idea that began the foster-care movement in America. And at the novel’s heart is motherhood, in all its agonizing and complex wonder. Sam, Iris, and Violet are three seemingly ordinary women whose lives include extraordinary moments. Each of them comes to realize that her humanity—and understanding of self—is inextricably linked to her history.



Rae Meadows is the author of Calling Out, which received the 2006 Utah Book Award for fiction, and No One Tells Everything, a Poets & Writers Notable Novel. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  www.RaeMeadows.com 


by Rae Meadows
Henry Holt and Company • 272 pages • ISBN: 978-0-8050-9383-4 • $25.00
On Sale: March 29, 2011
Available as an eBook • ISBN: 978-1-4299-7239-0 • $11.99