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The Mistress's Daughter    by A. M. Homes Amazon.com order for
Mistress's Daughter
by A. M. Homes
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Author A. M. Homes was given up for adoption before she was born. Her mother? A twenty-two year-old woman who had been having an affair with a much older, married man. Promising to marry her, he reneged and left her to her own devices. He had four children with his wife and wanted nothing to do with an illegitimate child.

Adopted by a couple who had lost a son through illness, Homes always felt she was a replacement for that boy. Homes was caught off guard when her birth mother contacted her and wanted to see her. A disconcerting time followed. Homes, of course, wanted to know why she was given up for adoption. And why her father had also abandoned her. Homes' tale of connecting with a mother she wasn't sure she wanted to have anything to do with is touching, funny at times, and written with compassion for that mother. Her father turned out to be what he had always been a completely self-centered man who was only interested in what he felt was the best course for himself.

Homes writes honestly about her feelings about being an adopted child. Having an adopted granddaughter myself, I can see more clearly now how our darling girl feels and the anguish she must experience about being given away. The author realizes her mother is not a balanced person but learns more about her and her motivations in life after the woman's death. Feeling alone in the world, Homes sets about finding all she can about her forebears using heritage and genealogy web sites. The Mistress's Daughter is a gracefully written book.

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