It is 1996 and Joan is living a seemingly happy life in Dublin. She's been married for thirty years to Martin Egan, and they are the parents of daughter Carmel. When the couple married in 1969, Joan left her life of struggles behind as Martin was heir to Egan's Builders and Supplies, a successful family business. Joan's working-class life was filled with tragedy and hardship. When the story shifts to the 1960s, we learn that the unmarried couple had another daughter in London who they gave up for adoption fearing the scorn of their community. Joan and Martin stayed together and kept the first pregnancy a secret for all these years. Martin was able to move on. Joan was brokenhearted. When their first daughter Emma reaches out to Joan, old wounds open wide up. Could this offer Joan an opportunity for redemption?
In her debut novel, Irish-born author Bernadette Jiwa has written a deeply moving book about motherhood. It also addresses the shame women faced if they found themselves "in trouble". And the story details the division in social classes showing how the people working in the factories and living in government housing were looked down upon. I teared up many times reading this beautiful and powerful book which will touch mothers, daughters and sisters.
Many thanks to Dutton / Penguin Group for the opportunity to read The Making of Her in advance of its publication.
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: August 9, 2022.
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