Julie Thompson presents A Mother’s Day Booklist Bonanza!

Happy Mother’s Day! In the United States, Mother’s Day falls on the second Sunday in May. I’m lucky in that I was able to share a whirlwind of a Saturday with my mom recently. We shed the hustle and bustle of city life behind, shopped the outlet mall, and had fun watching Dwayne Johnson save the world alongside his gorilla pal, George, in Rampage. Let’s celebrate the wonderful, complex mothers in all of our lives with a bouquet of books! Mother’s Day has many meanings for all of us and I hope that this arbitrary date is just one of many for you and yours. I’ve assembled a mixture of families that I hope speaks to your experiences and brings you joy whenever you think of your family. This list is drawn from some of my recent favorites. What stories have warmed your heart recently? Let me know in the comments below!

In Our Mothers' HouseIn Our Mothers’ House is an amazing picture book written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco. Told from the point-of-view of the eldest daughter after they’ve all grown up and flown the nest, she remembers fondly the loving and supportive home that she and her adopted siblings experienced in their mothers’ house. Despite a frosty treatment by a homophobic neighbor, the family shares imaginative holidays (see their homemade Halloween costumes!), summer block parties, and a warmth that radiates through all they do. The mothers and children share the deepest sense of family.

All the Little Moments
All the Little Moments by G. Benson – Contemporary romance set in Australia.

Anna, an anaesthetist, steps in to raise her niece and nephew after their parents are killed in a car crash. While she loves them, author G. Benson presents Anna as a complex character who feels conflicted by her distaste for Melbourne, leaving her child-free life behind, misses her best friend/brother, and wonders if dating is at all compatible with her new life.


Bingo LoveBingo Love by Tee Franklin, illustrated by Jenn St.-Onge, Joy San – Graphic Novel. Historical fiction/Contemporary romance. Second chances.

This adorable and moving story follows Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray. The women first meet as teenagers at a church bingo game in 1963, but are wrenched apart when their love is discovered. Decades later after marriage to men and children, the two meet again at, you guessed it, a church bingo game. The path to second chance romance isn’t easy, but that just makes it all the more wonderful. Keep a box of tissues close.

Collide-O-Scope by Andrea Bramhall – British crime series.

I always imagine Detective Sergeant Kate Brannon as Heather Peace’s DS Sam Murray from the television series Lip Service. Gina Temple, single mom with a dead beat mistake of a father for her daughter, manages a campground in a tiny fishing village in Norfolk, England. The two meet in book one of the series. Despite corpses and high stakes, sparks fly.


Alice & Jean
Alice and Jean by Lily Hammond – Historical Fiction, 1946 New Zealand.

Alice Holden keeps the home fires burning while her husband is off fighting during World War II. Two small children keep her hands busy, but she can’t stop the fluttering of her heart every time Jean delivers milk to her door. She really does bring all women to the yard. As the women fall in love, small town complications and Alice’s emotionally battle scarred husband complicate matters. Obligation, loss, new love and new beginnings weave a rich tapestry. How many women forged lives anew like Alice and Jean tried to do?

The Fall
The Fall by Robin Alexander, read by Lisa Cordileone – Contemporary romance.

I just had my six month dental check-up. Instead of plopping down and finding romance with the local dentist, and single mom, Sunny Chase, I came away with a clean bill of health for my chompers. Noel Savino has no such problems, though she plays it casual because it’s safer that way, yeah? However, casual nighttime shenanigans are anything but casual where Noel’s large Italian-American family are concerned. Narrator Lisa Cordileone delivers a vibrant performance that enhances the humor and personalities present.

Heart of the Game by Rachel Spangler. Contemporary romance.

Sports journalist Sarah Duke is living her dream: covering the St. Louis Cardinals. On opening day she meets a precocious young fan and his hard-working, newly out single mother, Molly Grettano. FYI: baseball puns abound. If you’re a cornball like me, you’ll love ‘em!



Additional books featuring mumsy:

Rachel reviews Alice & Jean by Lily Hammond


Alice & Jean by Lily Hammond is a sensitive and beautiful historical romance novel centering on two women in love.

It’s 1946 in New Zealand, in the aftermath of World War II. Alice Holden is a mother of two young children, widowed by the devastating war, and struggling to make ends meet. Jean Reardon, a former farmhand with a reputation for her independent nature, delivers fresh milk to Alice’s home every morning. The two immediately connect, and seeing each other is the highlight of both their days. While Jean recognizes her feelings right away, Alice has never imagined that two women can fall in love and at first is confused with what her society has taught her about marriage.

As Alice begins to accept her love for Jean, and her son and daughter see their mother’s lover as a welcome addition to the family, her status as a widow puts her in a vulnerable position on two sides. Her cold, overbearing mother tries to bully Alice into moving in with her, and Jim Dempsey, son of a respected farmer, wants to marry Alice for the respect and money he’ll get from his mother-in-law, not caring that Alice wants nothing to do with him. Since both Alice’s mother and Jim are well-off in town, refusing them makes life much harder, even dangerous, for the two lovers. Others already suspect Jean’s sexuality and warn Alice against befriending her, causing more problems that each woman must tackle in order to live in peace.

The love story in Alice & Jean gives a vivid look into the women’s tender feelings for each other, yet also addresses real issues such as women’s roles and sexuality. Both women find their ways of life under scrutiny by family and neighbors; Alice for refusing Jim’s proposal, and Jean for wearing trousers instead of dresses and loving women instead of men. I was impressed with how the author balanced out moments of love between Jean and Alice with the stringent attitudes around them. I also liked how she portrayed the supporting characters. Some were completely accepting of Alice and Jean’s relationship, some were supportive but uncomfortable with the idea, and others didn’t accept them at all. Like any town or city, there were people who had different ideas about what was moral and right, and Lily Hammond showed how most of her characters were able to get past their disagreements and help each other in times of need. Only a few very unlikeable characters like Jim Dempsey and Alice’s mother, Geraldine Thomas, were the exceptions.

The plot and pacing were laid out well, and though there were a few slow scenes, I got absorbed in Jean and Alice’s story and there was a good mixture of relaxing scenes and tense buildups that drew the suspense right in and had me reading in long sittings. There were even a couple unexpected reveals I didn’t see coming. The only thing about the story I wished was better told was Jean’s past. As much of the conflict centers around Alice’s family, I got a better idea of how she grew up and what her parents were like. While there were a couple mentions of Jean’s family they were never introduced in the book, and though Jean’s already a well constructed character, I would have liked to see her family portrayed equally to Alice’s.

Other than that one issue, I really commend Lily Hammond for making Alice & Jean so entertaining and suspenseful, and of course, I highly recommend it to readers.