All My Mothers

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Pub Date 5 Aug 2021 | Archive Date 1 Apr 2022


‘One of those rarest of books: so beautiful I almost couldn’t bear it, and so moving I was reading through tears’  STACEY HALLS

‘Uniquely witty, beautifully observed, intricately woven’ MIRANDA HART

‘A truly glorious life-affirming book, in which love, hope and friendship trump sorrow’ DINAH JEFFERIES

‘Had me absolutely sobbing – a beautiful, beautiful book’ JO BROWNING WROE, bestselling author of A TERRIBLE KINDNESS

‘Worth every tear’ WOMAN & HOME

‘Exquisitely tender, powerfully compelling’ SARAH HAYWOOD

‘One of my new all-time favourite books – an absolute joy’ JULIETTA HENDERSON

‘Thoughtful, warm and engaging’ CHRISTINA SWEENEY-BAIRD

‘Honest, heartfelt and hopeful’ MARIANNE CRONIN

‘A joy to read’ ANNE YOUNGSON

‘A love song to women everywhere’ ERICKA WALLER


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…

‘A glorious journey into loving & longing’ ANSTEY HARRIS

‘Heartrending and heartwarming’ CELIA ANDERSON

‘Exquisite’ JESSICA RYN

‘A deep delight of a book that vibrates with love and longing’ HELEN PARIS

Praise for Joanna Glen’s debut novel, The Other Half of Augusta Hope:

‘A therapeutic dose of high-strength emotion’ GUARDIAN

‘Entertains and moves in equal measure’ DAILY MAIL

‘Keep the tissues close’ GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

‘An irresistible message of redemption and belonging’RED magazine

‘Heartening and hopeful’ JESS KIDD

‘Mesmerizingly beautiful’ SARAH HAYWOOD

‘An extraordinary masterpiece’ ANSTEY HARRIS

‘One of those rarest of books: so beautiful I almost couldn’t bear it, and so moving I was reading through tears’  STACEY HALLS

‘Uniquely witty, beautifully...

Available Editions

ISBN 9780008410605
PRICE £2.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 63 members

Featured Reviews

Oh my goodness. It's 3am, I have just finished this book and I simply had to review it immediately.

This book, this book is immense. We are following the story of Eva, from her first memories as a four year starting school and making a best friend, all the way through to adulthood. We see her at her best and her worst, at her highs and lows. This book doesn't pull it's punches.

At it's heart, it is a coming of age story. But it's so much more than that. It's about the circular nature of life, it's about how disappointments come but also wonderful things, but mostly it's about girls and women and mothers, and the wonderful relationships between them all.

I loved how the author weaved the story, you grow into it as Eva grows up. We sometimes see where the journey is going, and sometimes we don't, but Eva is a truthful narrator to both herself and her subjects. She is at times, not terribly likeable, but she is believable and three dimensional.

I simply loved this book.. It made my heart break at some parts, and made me stifle laughter at others. I literally stayed up all night to finish it, and now I have work in three hours and can't wait to recommend this book to others.

Five stars, 6 if I could. This book spoke to my soul and I love it. Thanks NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review.

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Its been at least a year since a book left me in tears but here we are. All My Mothers is a life story. It’s a brilliant and heartfelt exploration of motherhood, grief, friendship and the importance of platonic love.

It follows our narrator Eva from childhood when she begins suspecting that her mother isn’t hers. There are no baby photos, no answers to her questions and suddenly, no father to turn to either. Eva’s mother suffers from depression, making her distant and absent emotionally and physically. Eva takes it upon herself to find out what’s missing and document her search in her Quest Book.

The characters throughout are wonderfully written. Even the women who are difficult and unpleasant are written in a way which allows us to understand them. Eva finds women to love and appreciate; mothers of different types who all teach her and encourage her to love.

As Eva enters adulthood, her struggles with endometriosis and infertility whilst in an unfulfilling and controlling relationship were insightful and honest. I’ve yet to come across novels where these issues feature throughout the plot and they resonated with me personally.

Eva’s search to find her “real mother” based on one photograph takes her to Córdoba in Spain. What a beautiful place!! The authors descriptions of Eva’s surroundings were perfect and have me longing to visit.

Here in Córdoba, where Eva belongs, she establishes and rediscovers the most wonderful friendships. All My Mothers has left me feeling so appreciative of all of the women I know and love and who love me back.

I have much more to say but since this is currently still unreleased, I’ll keep it short and sweet as to not spoil the experience for anyone. Thank you NetGalley and Harper Collins for this ARC - I feel really lucky to have been able to read this in advance. This story will stay with me for a long time.

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I’m not often reduced to tears by a book but I finished this with wet cheeks.

I just loved it. Eva (as in forever, not evil, she tells us early on) is searching for something. She knows that something is missing but isn’t entirely sure what. She just knows that she doesn’t belong in her family. This book chronicles her life and her desire to find love and happiness. Eva makes wonderful friends and I loved them all.

A real strength of this book is the characters. Each of them is so perfectly written and even those we don’t like, we understand. Eva has a strong voice and the author writes her so clearly. I felt her feelings and I saw her surroundings.

Honestly, I can only think of lovely things to say about this absolute gem of a book. I will be recommending it to friends and actively searching out more books by this talented author. Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for my copy of this book.

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A bittersweet tale of love, friendship, motherhood and longing, All My Mothers tells the story of Eva’s quest to figure out who she is, where she comes from, and to find a place of true belonging.

Beautifully written, its characters leap out of the pages and make you feel like you know them. The book has a poetic sensibility in which colours, feelings and scents merge, creating this moving story world.

This novel has truly ripped my heart open at times, but it has also made it worth it. Perhaps “love and grief, joy and pain” are indeed “very close together. Or perhaps sometimes they’re not even different things.”

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There are times when a book is so beautiful, and it resonates so strongly that it's hard to write a review for it. This is how I feel about 'All My Mothers' by Joanna Glen. This is a tender, 'all the feels,' novel that you won't want to put down and won't want to end.

I only wish I could give it 6 stars or 10 stars. I felt so connected to the characters. They were like close friends. I loved picking up the book to find out what would happen next, and I'm not ashamed to say I cried and cried at this one. You'll definitely need a big box of tissues at the ready. It's both heartwarming and heartbreaking.

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A beautiful book gorgeous characters emotional moving.A search for family feeling at home.A perfect read for bookclubs for sharing with friends.Will be recommending gifting this lovely novel.#netgalley#harpercollinsuk

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What a book! A coming of age story following Eva as she grows up wondering about her 'real mother' and the encounters she has along the way that shape her view of what a mother is. I've never read anything like it. It is unique, beautiful and moving. I loved Joanna Glen's first book so I was delighted to receive this ARC in exchange for an honest review and I certainly wasn't disappointed – such a talent!

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Right away I'm going to say that this book totally overwhelmed me to the point that I don't really know how to talk about it. I've spent the last couple of days immersed in it and have come away a slightly different person. This was stunning from start to finish. It tells us the story of Eva, a young girl who longs to have the perfect family. Sadly for Eva, ger mother isn't able to be present for her and her father isn't really around. Through this, she's left with the lingering question some young children come up with: maybe these aren't my parents at all.

From there, we follow her story of Eva's family. Of families that are created, those that you find, and those that walk into your world unexpectedly. How some people shape you irrevocably, leaving their mark long after they're no longer in your life.

I didn't start this expecting to find a character that means as much to me as Eva. But once in a while you find a character that hits you at your core, and that's what Eva did for me. Her complicated family life, her emotional turmoil, her fierce friendship, her curiosity mixed with hesitance. This is one of those characters that touched my heart, and I'll carry her story with me.

This is not an easy read (might be writing this with a few tears on my cheeks) but for the people it connects with, it's something special. Thanks so much to The Borough Press for letting me read the ARC.

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What a delightful book. It runs the whole range of emotions. Eva is unhappy with the mother she has, she doesn't fit her well. She begins to search for the truth about her family and in particular her mother. The story begins in the 1980s as she starts school and befriends Bridget. Through her experiences and friendships she explores the idea of what a mother should be like, trying to understand what she feels is lacking in her life. Cordoba in Spain forms a beautiful backdrop to the story as Eva chases what she thinks is her dream.
A lovely poignant, thought-provoking story about friendship, family and love.

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What a wonderful book. This book made me laugh, cry and contemplate. It was well written, with characters filled with love, life, joy and sadness and I cared about so many of them. Was sad to say farewell to Eva. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review via NetGalley.

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With grateful thanks to netgalley for an early copy in return for an honest opinion
What an outstanding book its rather harrowing in places but a sheer joy to read and can highly recommend.

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Exquisitely written and full of the most elegant, detailed intricacies of motherhood, daughterhood, identity and love. Joanna Glen has a remarkable way of propelling her characters from the page into your heart; the women in this novel are so intensely passionate and real - you live and breathe their stories right up until the end. Spectacular, from start to finish.

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This novel is simply stunning! I loved Joanna Glen’s previous novel and this one is every bit as good, if not even better! All My Mothers follows Eva (sounds like ever not evil!) from being a young child and realising that there are gaps in her childhood photos and memories and she wants to know why. We see the lovely friend she makes on her first day of school and the way that girl’s family take Eva under their wing. I adored the book with the rainbow mothers and how this comes up time and again throughout the novel as Eva tries to work out who she is and where she comes from. It’s a novel about found family and how you can find real love and a real bond with people who aren’t blood relations, and that this is just as good. I was moved to tears more than once as I read this novel but I was completely swept away in Eva’s story and I just couldn’t put it down – I read it all in one sitting. I already want to go back and read it again! I highly recommend this one!

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Beautifully tender, poignant and powerful.

Eva is an only child, introverted and lonely. Her parents, though wealthy, don't seem to have much time for her. When she starts school she doesn't feel like she fits in, especially with her brown skin, but is overjoyed to make a friend at last.

With these new points of comparison, Eva begins to feel the differences and shortcomings in her family more keenly, perceiving an absence of love and shared history compared to the other children, especially her new best friend Bridget. Eva adores Bridget and her family, realising her wonderful mother is exactly the mother Eva wished she had.

When photos of her childhood cannot be found, Eva becomes convinced that she is not with her birth mother and begins a quest to discover her history which she believes lies in Spain, finding many different mothers and many kinds of love along the way.

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All my mothers
Where to begin with this beautiful and special novel?
Eva us the child of a loveless marriage - her mother is fragile and her Spanish father is largely absent. So Eva becomes part of the Blume (blue) family and adopts their mother as her own.
Through the novel, Eva searches for her mother and father, finding mothers who can satisfy her longing to be grounded and loved.
She also finds the truth about her own start in life.
The author - in Eva’s voice - writes real humour too. Christine Olson - her boyfriend’s mother - tries to mother Eva, and Eva’s response to this superficial woman is brutal and very funny.
The characters are beautifully observed and the writing exemplary.
This is a novel that will stay with me for a long time - thoroughly recommended.

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Throughout her life Eva has felt that there is something missing in her life. She feels the outsider even when people go out of their way to show her love. Her mother is distant, undemonstrative and spends most of her time in bed. She is neither a loving mother, nor a supportive mother – she is an absence. An absence that is hard for a small girl to understand. Her father is everything and she adores him. When school requires her to bring a photo of herself as a baby she discovers there are no photographs. As she grows she learns that there is nothing of her before the age of three and a half – another unexplained emptiness. An absence that is compounded when her father leaves and her mother is moved to hospital.

Eva gives and receives all her emotional support to her friend Bridget and they vow to be life-long friends. She is ‘adopted’ by Bridget’s family and forms a very strong bond with her mother.

And so it goes; we follow Eva as she forms relationships and seeks support from them but always aware of what is missing.

Reading this book was a little slow and I was a somewhat irritated that it was so much of an effort. However, slowly I became more and more intrigued by Eva and the surrounding characters. I marvelled at her resistance and fortitude and how bravely she confronted the future. I must admit I cried for her.

This is beautifully written, but somewhat anguished inasmuch as my heart felt her pain and confusion. After all, isn’t it the least we can expect, not only a mother, but an emotionally supportive person there for you no matter what?

Thank you to the author, publishers and NetGalley for providing an ARC via my Kindle in return for an honest review.

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This novel is like nothing I've ever read, and I've immediately bought the author's first book as I enjoyed this one so much.

I love:

- the themes of motherhood, friendship, love and loss
- the way the narrative voice develops from early childhood to adulthood
- the vibrancy of the writing about Spain which is a reminder, if reminder were needed, of why my own life in that country is so wonderful
- the vivid descriptions of Córdoba, especially of the Mezquita which is the most jaw.-droppingly, heart-stoppingly beautiful building I've ever visited.
- the little hints of things to come that kept me turning the pages.
- the fact that when I put the book down, it was on my mind.
- the fact that it had the power to bring a tear to my eye at the end - I never cry over books..

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