Cara Holman is the winner of The Threadbare Heart Mother’s Day Contest, weighing in with an unusual mother-daughter pair, one that made me want to look for this Louisa May Alcott novel I’ve never read:
My first thought was to scour Jane Austen for mother-daughter pairs. But Emma and Anne’s mothers died before the stories began, Catherine and Fanny had mostly off-screen mothers, having been relegated to the care of others for the duration of the novels, and Elizabeth’s mother was an embarrassment, leaving only Elinor’s mother, who was well-meaning if often ineffectual in preventing her daughters’ heartbreaks. And wait, she also relegated her daughters to the care of others for the better part of the book). I was starting to sense a theme of absentee motherhood here. So I turned to another of my long-time favorite authors, Louisa May Alcott, and she did not disappoint.
Alcott’s mothers are strong, wise, and nurturing, without being suffocating. I’ve always admired Marmee, but perhaps the mother who best exemplifies my own mother would be Polly’s mother, in my favorite Alcott book, An Old-Fashioned Girl. Mrs. Milton, who we never see directly on the pages of this book, nevertheless is reflected through Polly’s actions. Her confidence and trust in allowing Polly to venture away from home, both as a girl, and again as a young woman, reminded me of my mother. My mom raised me to be independent and seize opportunities, even when the opportunity took me 3000 miles away, to attend college. And if, like Polly, I landed on my feet, I can credit it to having had a mother like Mrs. Milton, who loved me unconditionally, but knew when to nudge me out of the nest.
Congratulations, Cara! You’ve won a copy of Jennie Nash’s latest novel, The Threadbare Heart, and are now entered to win the grand prize drawing as well.