Official Review: Beloved Mother by Laura Hunter

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
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Official Review: Beloved Mother by Laura Hunter

Post by prospero360 » 03 Apr 2019, 05:12

[Following is an official review of "Beloved Mother" by Laura Hunter.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Beloved Mother by Laura Hunter is a historical fiction novel, set in the early 1900s, that tells the stories of three women, Mona Parsons, a.k.a Two Tears or Granny Slocomb or Kee Granny, her youngest sister, Anna Parsons, and Anna's daughter, Lily Marie Goodman. In this book, we follow the growth of the main characters from childhood. The story starts with Mona living with her parents in Covington, Virginia, and it further follows her adventures as she marries a man much older than her at the age of thirteen. She and her husband, Jackson Slocomb, travel to Carolina, where she is rescued from her maltreatment at the hands of Jackson and taken in by Tall Corn and "the Beloved Mother."

Even though the book includes a lot of themes, like self-discovery, forgiveness, religion, love, hate, abortion, adultery, and religion, I see Beloved Mother as a plotless book, as it has no central theme. However, the author makes the story work for me with the emotions the story evoked and its appealing characters. I liked that a lot of time was spent building the characters in the story, as I knew virtually everything there was to know about them and connected to most of them deeply. This helped me feel exactly what they felt at different points of the story.

Another thing I enjoyed in the book was how well the author depicted the early 1900s. The characters' mode of dressing, coal mining activities, the kind of cars used, the poor state of medical care, a lack of electricity, and a few telephones gave an accurate feel of what that era would have been like. The author also used misspelled words to mimic different characters' accents. I was also impressed by the writing style used in the story. It was very descriptive and heavy on metaphors, which helped me understand the story and the characters' feelings much better.

There were some drawbacks in the story. The first one being the slow pace of the story. This really affected my reading, as it made the book boring at times. There were rarely any suspenseful moments in the book besides when there was a murder. While flashbacks were important in character development, a lot of time was spent flashing back to past events. Even though the story was well organized and I could easily differentiate between flashbacks and the present time, I didn't see the purpose of some of the flashbacks. Besides these two issues, there was nothing else I disliked about the book. Beloved Mother was remarkably well edited, as I didn't spot a single grammatical or typographical error throughout the book.

Overall, Beloved Mother was a very interesting read. I got to learn a lot of important life lessons by following the characters' lives, especially about self-forgiveness. The exploration of the Cherokee culture was also another interesting and educative part of the book. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. While the book was well executed, the slow pace and numerous flashbacks made the book less perfect for me. However, I would implore fans of historical fiction and coming of age stories to join Mona, Anna, and Lily on their adventures in this book. The book can also be read by a younger audience, as there was no use of strong language and no violence throughout the book.

Beloved Mother
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Post by kandscreeley » 11 Apr 2019, 07:30

I think the slow pace of the story would turn me off on this one. I just don't think I could get into it enough to keep reading. I am glad, though, that the author depicts that time period so well. Thanks for your thoughts on this one.
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Post by 8amaseter » 11 Apr 2019, 10:52

Female gender sensitives will like this book on their shelves. The story of a thirteen-year old being given to marriage and the subsequent maltreatment from the elder husband will prick their interest. Her rescue was also a relief and added spice to the drama. Your review has said it all, a good book to read.

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Post by DogoMulla » 11 Apr 2019, 14:56

Slow paced books can be a burden, especially nowadays when there's 'too much to do'. The themes resonate with the realness of life, but then that was the 1900s. This is such a detailed and insightful review, kudos.

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Post by kdstrack » 12 Apr 2019, 14:31

You piqued my interest with the mention of the Cherokee culture. I will have to put this one on my list. Your review covers the book quite thoroughly! Thanks.

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Post by Nisha Ward » 12 Apr 2019, 15:56

Hmm. The lack of plot might turn me off of this one. While I normally don't mind that, I feel as if the narrative you described would need one for me to be able to follow it properly. Still, it sounds like a good book.
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Post by diana lowery » 13 Apr 2019, 09:24

A "plotless" book, even though it deals with Cherokee culture, would not appeal to me. Your review was interesting to read. I think you were fair in your analysis even though you did not enjoy the book.

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Post by janelwhite » 13 Apr 2019, 13:00

Historical fiction is my favorite genre so I am interested in this book. The characters and story sound interesting and it’s good to know in advance that the book is a bit slow in pace. That would normally make me put a book down, but it sounds like it’s a worthwhile read.

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Post by Stephanie Elizabeth » 14 Apr 2019, 11:13

Although a strong plot line is important, I value detailed character development more. I find that if I feel connected to the characters, I am more likely to keep reading the book even if it moves at a slow pace.
It sounds like you really enjoyed reading and reviewing this book!

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Post by Agnes098 » 15 Apr 2019, 03:24

I love emotive language, it makes me experience what the characters are experiencing and feel like I'm one of them. It is only because of that that I'd want to read this book

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