Mothers and Daughters by Rae Meadows
A Novel

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A rich and luminous novel about three generations of women in one family: the love they share, the dreams they refuse to surrender, and the secrets they hold

Samantha is lost in the joys of new motherhood—the softness of her eight-month-old daughter's skin, the lovely weight of her child in her arms—but in trading her artistic dreams to care for her child, Sam worries she's lost something of herself. And she is still mourning another loss: her mother, Iris, died just one year ago.

When a box of Iris's belongings arrives on Sam's doorstep, she discovers links to pieces of her family history but is puzzled by much of the information the box contains. She learns that her grandmother Violet left New York City as an eleven-year-old girl, traveling by herself to the Midwest in search of a better life. But what was Violet's real reason for leaving? And how could she have made that trip alone at such a tender age?

In confronting secrets from her family's past, Sam comes to terms with deep secrets from her own. Moving back and forth in time between the stories of Sam, Violet, and Iris, Mothers and Daughters is the spellbinding tale of three remarkable women connected across a century by the complex wonder of motherhood.

This book was later published under the title Mercy Train.


About Rae Meadows

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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. Visit Rae Meadows' website at
Published March 29, 2011 by Henry Holt and Co.. 270 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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A century ago, beautiful Lilibeth (the mother of Violet, who is the mother of Iris, who is the mother of Sam) dreamed of greater things and left her husband and Kentucky for New York, taking young Violet and little else.

Apr 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Mothers and Daughters: A Novel

Book Reporter

Iris knows her mother was an orphan, but has no idea that she was with her real mother for the first part of her life --- that it was her mother who signed her over to an Orphan Train.

Apr 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Mothers and Daughters: A Novel

The Simple Moms

There is no doubt that the relationships between mothers and daughters are very complex and different depending on the family.

Jun 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Mothers and Daughters: A Novel

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