Best Books for Mother’s Day

Reading: Best Books for Mother’s Day

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Best Books for Mother’s Day

From a memoir about starting over as an expat in Paris to a portrait of three trailblazing women in the New York fashion industry, these books will inspire Mom’s second act

By Robin Kall

Mother’s Day means different things for each of us. Some of us are celebrating our mothers, some of us are celebrating women who have mothered us, and some of us are celebrating, well, ourselves. Here are our top Mother’s Day books — from fun female-forward fiction to thoughtful memoirs — that will make great gifts all on their own, and might even inspire some summertime travel with Mom. 

Little Monsters ($18, by Adrienne Brodeur) 

Adrienne Brodeur’s Little Monsters was one of my favorite summer books of 2023. And I am thrilled to share that this Mother’s Day it’s coming out in paperback. This novel has some of the most memorable characters, juicy dysfunctional family dynamics, and mysterious happenings, in a gorgeous Cape Cod setting. Ken and Abby Gardner’s mother died when they were young and they were raised by their father Adam, a brilliant oceanographer. The siblings’ relationship is complex, and continues to unfold into adulthood. If you haven’t read Brodeur’s memoir, Wild Game, that’s another book to add to your list.

The French Ingredient: Making a Life in Paris One Lesson at a Time
($28, by Jane Bertch)

In this debut memoir, Bertch shares the story of finding herself transferred to Paris by the American bank for which she worked, after vowing never to return to Paris when as a teenager she was turned off by the City of Lights. It was on this return that she chose to follow a different path, which ultimately ended in her opening a cooking school for people like her who wanted a friendly and welcoming place to learn. I had the pleasure of taking a pastry class at La Cuisine Paris cooking school last May and I can still smell the butter! Two plane tickets slipped into the front cover of this book? Voila — the ultimate Mother’s Day gift!

The Summer We Started Over  ($27, by Nancy Thayer)

Nothing says summer’s coming like a Nancy Thayer novel. In The Summer We Started Over, Eddie Grant trades the glitz of her job for a trip back home to Nantucket, where her sister needs a hand with her new gift shop. But returning to this New England gem means confronting the family’s painful past — the loss of their brother, their mother’s departure, and their father’s eccentricities. As the Grant sisters face old wounds and unearth family secrets, they find strength in each other and in the bonds of family. With Thayer’s signature warmth and insight, this novel is a heartfelt exploration of love, loss, and the power of starting anew. In a recent email exchange, Thayer reminded me that she is now 80 years old, and still writing (with a contract for three new books!), and I cannot wait to read every one of them.

My Life in Recipes: Food, Family, and Memories ($42, by Joan Nathan)  

Joan Nathan is as classic as her slew of cookbooks. My favorite is Jewish Holiday Kitchen, which was given to me over 30 years ago and is still my “go-to” for the holidays. With all the new foodies on the block, Nathan manages to keep the selections in My Life in Recipes fresh and inviting. From her family’s roots in Germany to her adventures in Paris, New York, and beyond, Nathan shares the stories behind beloved Jewish dishes. With over 100 recipes, old favorites mingle with new ones like Salmon with Preserved Lemon and Za’atar, inviting us to savor both the flavors and stories of a life centered around food and family. What is better than that?

When Women Ran Fifth Avenue: Glamour and Power
at the Dawn of American Fashion
($30, by Julie Satow)

Pre-order this jewel by journalist and author Julie Satow, who expertly weaves together the stories of three dynamic trailblazers instrumental in directing the course of the department stores we came to know and love (and now miss): Hortense Odlum of Bonwit Teller; Dorothy Shaver of Lord & Taylor; and Geraldine Stutz of Henri Bendel. If these names don’t immediately roll off your tongue, they will after reading this book. This account of three women who brilliantly navigated a once male-dominated industry is filled with drama, trade secrets, and all the fun that accessorize fashion. Pair this book with a mom-daughter shopping trip to NYC’s Saks or Bergdorf’s for a Mother’s Day to remember.

This American Ex-Wife: How I Ended My Marriage and Started My Life
($26, by Lyz Lenz)

Lyz Lenz’s This American Ex-Wife boldly challenges the narrative surrounding divorce. With a mix of personal stories, research, and cultural analysis, she celebrates the power of women who choose to end unhappy marriages. Rejecting the media’s portrayal of divorcees as sad and lonely, Lenz offers a refreshing perspective on reclaiming agency and forging a brighter, more liberated future. This book is a rallying cry for acceptance, solidarity, and female empowerment, urging readers to embrace the freedom that comes with self-determination. 

How to Age Disgracefully ($27, by Clare Pooley)

From the author who brought us beloved favorites The Authenticity Project and Iona Iverson’s Rules For Commuting comes another not-to-be-missed engaging novel with a heroine you won’t soon forget. In this story, Lydia’s stint at the Senior Citizens’ Social Club turns out to be anything but ordinary. Instead of sipping tea and playing cards, she encounters a quirky cast of characters hiding intriguing secrets. From a kleptomaniac ex-actor to a Banksy-style knitter, these seniors defy expectations. When their community center faces closure, they team up with unlikely allies — including toddlers, a teen dad, and a senior pup — to save the day, if they can evade the cops! This is a fun (and funny) summer read that’s the perfect Mother’s Day gift for any mom, any age.

Robin Kall is a literary influencer who over the past two decades has built a devoted and passionate following. In addition to her radio talk show, Robin has hosted countless “can’t miss” author events including “Summer With Robin” and “Evening With Authors.” She lives in Rhode Island with her husband and their corgi, Benny. Follow Robin on X @robinkall, Instagram, or Facebook. Read more book lists by Robin.

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