Bookish Witch

Everything My Mother Taught Me by Alice Hoffman

Blurb (as on Amazon):

In this haunting short story of loyalty and betrayal, a young woman in early 1900s Massachusetts discovers that in navigating her treacherous coming-of-age, she must find her voice first.

For fatefully observant Adeline, growing up carries an ominous warning from her adulterous mother: don’t say a word. Adeline vows to never speak again. But that’s not her only secret. After her mother takes a housekeeping job at a lighthouse off the tip of Cape Ann, a local woman vanishes. The key to the mystery lies with Adeline, the silent witness. New York Times bestselling author of The Rules of Magic Alice Hoffman crafts a beautiful, heart-wrenching short story.

Alice Hoffman’s Everything My Mother Taught Me is part of Inheritance, a collection of five stories about secrets, unspoken desires, and dangerous revelations between loved ones. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single setting. By yourself, behind closed doors, or shared with someone you trust.

Pages: 19

Format: Kindle eBook

Genre: Fiction/Short Story/Historical Fiction

Price: 129 INR/$1.99

My Rating: 4.5/5

Adeline loses her father at a young age. She does not like her mother very much and vows never to speak again. Adeline accompanies her mother to a sparsely inhabited island where she takes a housekeeping job at a lighthouse. A local woman soon vanishes and Adeline is the key witness. Will she speak the truth and expose her mother’s evil realities?

What I liked about the book:

-> Adeline’s character is very inspiring. We feel sad for her and can’t help but cheer when things look bright for her.
-> It is a well written tale of a mother-daughter relationship that is compulsive reading and so gripping.
-> The story had great atmosphere and interesting characters.
-> Based in the early 1900’s we get to witness the plight of women in the era through all the female characters, especially that of Julia.

What I did not like about the book:

-> Though we dislike Nora, I feel her character could have more depth and a different side.
-> I found the islanders muteness towards Nora and Rowan’s behaviour infuriating.

Quotable quotes:

-> Some people are remembered and some are not.
-> My father told me the best shells could be found at such times, when the water was still.
-> She would have to do away with herself in order to have a life of her own.
-> She was pretty but you had to search for her beauty, which was hidden in her kind eyes.
-> I was so unaccustomed to such emotions it took me some time before I realized I was happy.
-> You could grow to love something so strong and elemental, but you’d have to value the beauty of it more than you did your own life.
-> When men are interested, they have a faraway look, as if they were trying to figure out their attraction. Was it a dream, or was it real? Did they want a woman, body, and soul, or was it only the body that appealed to them? Sometimes it took a while to figure it out, sometimes only minutes.
-> I didn’t know if I could speak even if I tried.

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