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Summary

Meet Eva Martínez-Green, an only child full of questions about her beginnings.

Between her emotionally absent mother and her physically absent father, there is nobody to answer them. Eva is convinced that all is not as it seems. Why are there no baby pictures of her? Why do her parents avoid all questions about her early years?

When her parents’ relationship crumbles, Eva begins a journey to find these answers for herself. Her desire to discover where she belongs leads Eva on a journey spanning decades and continents - and, along the way, she meets women who challenge her idea of what a mother should be and who will change her life forever....

©2021 Joanna Glen (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"One of those rarest of books: so beautiful I almost couldn’t bear it, and so moving I was reading through tears." (Stacey Halls)

"I loved this book SO much. It’s uniquely witty, beautifully observed, intricately woven - it made me laugh and weep and I truly never wanted it to end." (Miranda Hart) 

"A joy to read." (Anne Youngson) 

"A truly glorious life-affirming book, in which love, hope and friendship trump sorrow." (Dinah Jefferies)

What listeners say about All My Mothers

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Beautuful

Well written, in the first person. Interesting story and wonderful narration. Worth a credit.

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An absolute, must, must listen!

I just loved this second novel from Joanna Glen, even more than her first, The Other Half of Augusta Hope (reviewed on my My Listener page on 6/7/19).

It’s a wonderful, wonderful story which follows Eva from birth to middle age so that at the end you feel as though she had been your best friend since childhood. Little Eva (pronounced ‘ever’) always knew her cool, tense mother wasn’t her real mother . Why is there no baby photo for her to take into school like all the other children? Her Spanish father is no help (apart from reading her Peter Pan), disappearing and suddenly re-appearing one Christmas as Father Christmas to stay just a few hours and then disappear again for good. At school she bonds with a best friend, Bridget ,and Bridget’s perfect loving mummy - and Bridget’s brother whose love she is destined to crave. Eva and Bridget swear to love each other for ‘eva’ and ‘eva’, and so they do over the decades weathering so much I can’t say without spoiling the story but including separation, tragedies and Eva’s ‘perfect’ boyfriend and his apparently perfect (but oh so not) family.

The creation of Eva’s life experiences is staggeringly skilful drawing you in to every heartbeat and every facet of an increasing set of real-people-characters – and, too, the different locations as England moves to Cordoba which Eva learns is her place of birth. In The Other Half of Augusta Hope the author didn’t quite avoid a slightly less than satisfying fairy tale element towards the end. All My Mothers moves in that direction but she manages to create a fabulous ending planted firmly enough in real life to work. There’s plenty of painful tragedy to cry over which will resonate with many listeners, but it never dominates. What you’re left with is an exhilarating, uplifting story where love isn’t found where it is sought, or the kind which was long yearned for, but which is found in abundance in all kinds of unexpected places and forms.

The narration is excellent – subtle, nuanced, so much in character and mood – and some authentic- sounding Spanish!