'You are her mother in this moment. The future is another time.'
In a remote part of Tanzania known as the Cradle of Humankind,Essie Lawrence lives with her husband in an archaeologist's camp. One morning a chance encounter with two strangers out in the field sees her making a rash promise - one she has no idea how she can keep. When she returns home, she has a baby in her arms, a motherless infant, too young even to have a name. From now until the coming of the rains, Essie is to care for the little girl. And then hand her back.
Bringing a baby to the research base is just the first of many taboos Essie is about to break. As she becomes immersed in a life-changing experience, she finds that her marriage, her career - everything she's worked for - is put at risk. And as her heart opens up to new life and new love, she is led back into her past, to memories of her own mother and her first home on the island of Tasmania, at the far end of the world.
In the shadow of the Maasai Holy Mountain of God, on the shores of the flamingo lake, personal stories are played out alongside the Lawrences' quest to find the origins of the human species. Nightmares and dreams go hand in hand. What is real and what will turn to dust? Whose wisdom will stand the test of time? And after a season of being a mother, will Essie be able to survive the hardest challenge of all? To love, and then let go ...
An exquisite and heart-piercing story of one woman's bond with a baby, The Beautiful Mother will resonate with every parent, crossing time, place and culture. It is an unforgettable exploration of what it really means to be a family, revealing the deep need we all have to find our own tribe.
- Publication Date:
- 31 / 03 / 2020
Perfect for social isolation!
This another great read from a favourite author. In these strange and difficult times of Covid19 lockdown, it was a page-turner delight to escape to the world of early archeology in Africa and experience some new twists on perennial human issues. I loved this from the first moment. I remember as a child hearing stories of the Leakey family and their work in tracking the origin of humans on this planet, and having a chance to taste that world was fascinating. To have it combined with a really thoughtful look at motherhood and some of the complexities of interracial assumptions and attitudes in a past context but with present implications was something I only appreciated as I looked back on the story. I really enjoy a book with deep underpinnings if you want to consider them, that is also simply a great read. I am buying this and getting it sent to friends in lockdown!
Clare Smith, 19/04/2020