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May 14, 2023

Five Memorable Mothers in Fiction

by Donna Huber

Today is Mother's Day in the U.S. so I thought it would be fun to take a look at some memorable fictional mothers in literature. If you can't spend the day with your mother or you want to spend your day with other awesome (if fictional) mothers, then check out this list. And even if it isn't Mother's Day in your country, these are great books you'll want to add to your TBR list.

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Molly Weasley

book cover of young adult fantasy novel Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling.

I think when anyone who lived through the Harry Potter craze thinks of a great fictional mother, they think of Molly Weasley. She is fiercely protective of her family but she is also fair. Her children have very different personalities and she let them be their unique selves. She worried about George and Fred and all their pranks but she was never super harsh with them and is so proud when they set up a successful business. When Percy turned his back on the family, it broke her heart but she readily welcomed him back with open arms when he saw the error of his way. And it wasn't just her own children that she mothered. Harry was always loved. I once read a Facebook post that analyzed the scene in Chamber of Secrets. Ron, Fred, and George have just rescued Harry from the Dursely in the flying car. She is yelling at her boys, but she makes a point to state that she doesn't blame Harry and then she feeds him more food than he has probably seen since leaving Hogwarts at the end of term (the Durselys were giving him little more than canned broth once a day after "ruining" Vernon dinner with an important client). The analysis mentions that Molly probably recognized the signs of malnutrition and knew how badly the Durselys treat him. I think she was also a surrogate mother to Hermione. As a muggle-born witch, there were things her parents just couldn't understand but she had Molly to turn to. Of course, Molly's truly shining moment as a mother comes in the last book, Deathly Hallows. I won't spoil it in case you haven't read the books but I think everyone gave a little shout of YES! 

Marilla Cuthbert

book cover of children's book Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery

LM Montgomery demonstrated so many different ways of love in her Anne of Green Gables series. For those who haven't read this delightful series, Marilla and her brother Matthew adopt Anne whose parents had died. She has been in several foster placements and as a strong-willed redhead, none of them ended well. Marilla was expecting a boy who would help Matthew on the farm so to say she was surprised when he showed up with a waif of a girl would be an understatement. Marilla and Matthew grew up in a good, Christian home, but maybe not the most loving (family life was different in the 1800s) and then she had a failed courtship. These experiences left Marilla closed off, but she loves deeply and fiercely in her own way. We see it when she cannot turn Anne away when a new placement is found (she knew Anne would be little more than a servant). And while she is strict with Anne and even stern at times, she is also compassionate. If you read the entire 8 book series, you will see Anne as a mother herself, and while much more open to love you can see Marilla's legacy in the woman Anne grew up to be.

Buy Anne of Green Gables at Amazon

Nonna Maria

book cover of cozy mystery Nonna Maria and the Case of the Missing Bride by Lorenzo Carcaterra

Nonna Maria is the title character and amateur sleuth in Lorenzo Carcaterra's cozy mystery series. Nonna Maria is the matriarch of a large family. Her children are grown and have blessed her with many grandchildren whom she loves dearly. She's a wonderful character. She is never too busy for her children and grandchildren. She also makes time for her friends - even going as far as mothering them when needed. That is how she has become an amateur sleuth. People on the small Italian island of Ischia always turn to Nonna Maria when they need advice or help. They trust her and confide in her, but they also want to assist her. It may look like they are repaying a favor but it does not feel that way. They hold her in such great esteem and know that she would help them without hesitation. There are two books in the series so far. The second book, Nonna Maria and the Case of Stolen Necklace, just came out and I'll be reviewing it soon. You can also check out my review of book 1, Nonna Maria and the Case of the Missing Bride

Becky Gerard

book cover of domestic thriller Saving Meghan by DJ Palmer

It probably isn't often that a mother in a domestic thriller makes a Mother's Day list of fictional mothers. But Becky Gerard from DJ Palmer's Saving Meghan is definitely a memorable mother. Her daughter Meghan is sick and getting sicker, but doctors can't figure out what is wrong with her. Meghan's illness and Becky's obstinate advocacy for her daughter have put a strain on her marriage and things are getting ugly. Her husband accuses her of making their daughter sick. Is Becky a lovely mother who is willing to do anything to see her daughter get well or does she suffer from Munchausen syndrome? You can check out my review of Saving Meghan.

Buy Saving Meghan at Amazon

Teenager's Mother

book cover of short story My Evil Mother by Margaret Atwood

Teens and their mothers don't always get along and that is true of the unnamed characters in Margaret Atwood's short story My Evil Mother. Told through the eyes of a teenager who is now a grown woman with her own children, we get a poignant look at the mother-daughter relationship. While in the moment, the teen may not have appreciated her mother as a mother herself now she sees the love and wisdom of her own mother.

Buy My Evil Mother at Amazon

If you are looking for more memorable fictional mothers to read, then check out author Andrea Lochen's 2015 guest article Ten Most Memorable Moms in New Fiction.

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

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