NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“Bittersweet, sexy, morally fraught.” –The New York Times Book Review
"Fantastic… a book that feels alive on the page." –The Washington Post
From the New York-Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Half, the beloved novel about young love and a big secret in a small community.
Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett's mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret.
"All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we'd taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season."
It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother's recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor's son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it's not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.
In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a "what if" can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
It’s easy to see why Brit Bennett’s debut novel has stirred up major buzz. Her precise prose sparkles like cut glass and grounds strong emotions and difficult subject matter, including suicide and teenage pregnancy. Nadia Turner is a phenomenal student, but she also has a not-unfounded reputation as a wild child among the parishioners of the black church where her parents have worshipped. Even after leaving her California beach town to attend college, Nadia carries around a heavy burden of judgment and reproach. The Mothers is a powerful story about the struggle to break free from the past.
Bennett's brilliant, tumultuous debut novel is about a trio of young people coming of age under the shadow of harsh circumstances in a black community in Southern California. Deftly juggling multiple issues, Bennett addresses the subjects abortion, infidelity, religious faith, and hypocrisy, race head-on. At 17, Nadia Turner's life is topsy-turvy. Six months after learning of her mother's suicide, Nadia winds up pregnant and decides to abort the baby. The unborn baby's father, Luke a preacher's son gives Nadia the money to terminate but falls back on his promise to pick her up at the clinic after her appointment, causing a fissure in their relationship. Nadia's secret decision haunts her for decades through college in Michigan, law school, and an extended trip back home to care for her ailing father. Meanwhile, the slow-to-build trust between Luke and Aubrey, Nadia's bible-thumping childhood best friend, who knows nothing of Nadia's past, is threatened when Nadia and Luke reunite and rip open old wounds after Luke and Aubrey's wedding. There's much blame to go around, and Bennett distributes it equally. But she also shows an extraordinary compassion for her flawed characters. A Greek chorus of narrating gossipy "Mothers" (as they're referred to in the text) from the local Upper Room Chapel provides further context and an extra layer to an already exquisitely developed story.