'You are her mother at this moment. The future is another time.'
In a remote corner of Tanzania, Essie Lawrence lives with her husband in an archaeologist’s camp. One morning a chance encounter with two strangers sees her making a rash promise. When she returns home to the research base, she has a baby in her arms. Essie is to care for the little girl until the coming of the rains. And then hand her back.
The organised world of Magadi Research Camp is turned upside down. As her heart opens up to new life, Essie is drawn into the ancient wisdom of the Hadza, the last hunter-gatherer tribe in East Africa. And she is led back to memories of her own mother and her first home on the island of Tasmania, at the far end of the world. But there is a price to pay. Essie's marriage, her career - everything she's worked for - is put at risk.
On the shores of the flamingo lake, personal stories are played out alongside the Lawrences’ quest to find the origins of the human species. Nightmares and dreams go hand in hand as past and present merge. What is real and what will turn to dust? And after a season of being a mother, will Essie be able to survive the hardest challenge of all? To love, and then let go …
An exquisite and heart-piercing story of one woman’s bond with a baby, The Beautiful Mother will resonate with every parent, crossing time, place and culture. It is an unforgettable exploration of what it really means to be a member of the human family, revealing the deep need we all have to find our own tribe.
'Katherine Scholes is the queen of her craft. This is a beautiful story about the nature of belonging, entirely the right book for this moment.'
– Heather Rose
'The evocative language in The Beautiful Mother transports you to a land faraway while reflecting on poignant themes that are universal. This is a beautifully crafted story.' Better Reading.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Perfect for lockdown days!
This another great read from a favourite author. In these strange and difficult times of Covid19 lockdown, it was a page-turner delight to escape to the world of early archeology in Africa and experience some new twists on perennial human issues. I loved this from the first moment. I remember as a child hearing stories of the Leakey family and their work in tracking the origin of humans on this planet, and having a chance to taste that world was fascinating. To have it combined with a really thoughtful look at motherhood and some of the complexities of interracial assumptions and attitudes in a past context but with present implications was something I only appreciated as I looked back on the story. It is satisfying to find a book with deep underpinnings if you want to consider them, that is also simply a great read. I am buying this and getting it sent to friends in lockdown!
Didn’t like the ending
Loved the book but so disappointing that there wasn’t an epilogue where she finally learned about her mother and ends up with Carl