6 Books With Memorable Mothers

This Sunday is, of course, Mother’s Day. In honor of Mother’s Day, I’ve compiled a list of 6 books with very memorable mothers, some sweet and some scary.

The Fifth Child

Doris Lessing’s short gothic novel about a troll-like fifth child born to an unassuming and loving family is told predominately from the mother’s point of view. We see first hand her desire to love her child, but also her disgust and resentment. There are so many layers in this book, so many metaphors for the less-than-perfect aspects that reside in each of us, it’s truly worth a read.

The Widow

At first glance Fiona Barton’s novel is about the disappearance of a two year-old girl, but the mothers in this book are the real stars: a mother who has lost, and a mother who never had. Here’s the description from Amazon: “There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment. Now her husband is dead, and there’s no reason to stay quiet.”

The Weight of Blood

Laura McHugh’s debut novel looks at the impact a mother’s love, and her actions, on the next generation. Lucy Danes’s mother, a stranger to the small town when she married Lucy’s father, vanished when Lucy was a child. After one of Lucy’s friends was killed, Lucy starts to investigate what happened. Her search will not only reveal what happened to her mother but also the darkest side of the town’s past.

Mr. Mercedes

The mother in this Stephen King novel isn’t a central character, but during her brief appearance, you come to understand why her son is the way he is. Despite this, her death left me feeling a little bad for the horrible woman. I don’t want to say much more than that, but this one is definitely worth a read. And even better: it’s part of a three book series.


Me, Him, Them, & It


At times trying, and at others heartwarming, Caela Carter’s book may bring you to tears. The story follows teenager Evelyn as she navigates the confusing world of teenage pregnancy, her on-again-off-again baby daddy, her parents’ struggles with the news, and of course “it,” the baby. It’s a compelling read and one that will open up new avenues of understanding for those who find it all too easy to judge a teenage pregnancy.


Neil Gaiman’s “other mother” in his book Coraline is the quintessential scary mother. When Coraline finds a world adjacent to our own, her “other parents” seem great…until they tell Coraline she has to swap her eyes for buttons. It’s creepy and well told and all the things we love about Gaiman’s storytelling.

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