As Mother’s Day draws closer, I’ve done the hard work and curated a Book Gift Guide for you. In my mind, books always make the perfect gift. Sure, handmade cards are lovely, and the barely warm toast in bed, but if you love reading, here are 15 fabulous book suggestions for Mother’s Day.
I love sharing recommendations with my community. I am a proud #booknerd. Here I mostly recommend books for your daughters, but this post is all about YOU. So, I suggest you send this blog post on to your hubby/partner/kids. Or, if you’re like me, just purchase the books yourself, and ask your family to wrap them for you.
In no particular order here are 15 of my favourite books. Most of these are reasonably new, but I can’t resist adding a few oldies but goodies in there, too. I’ve linked to online book stores that have the best deals/discounts going. Happy reading!
15 Fabulous Books for Mother’s Day
I absolutely inhaled this book recently. If you’ve read Christian White’s previous novel, The Nowhere Child, you will love this equally if not more. Set against the backdrop of an eerie island town in the dead of winter, The Wife and the Widow is a mystery/thriller told from two perspectives. It’s utterly intriguing and compelling and has an incredibly clever and unexpected twist at the end. If you love a bit of crime and suspense, this book is for you. The Wife and the Widow is a murder mystery with a novel twist, which took my breath away when it was revealed. Yes, there were hints but I missed them.
From the bestselling author of The Ex and Those Other Women comes a thrilling family drama about the secrets we keep, the lies we tell and the truths that won’t stay hidden. You Need to Know by Nicola Moriarty is a dark domestic drama about family secrets and lies, fractured relationships, tragic mistakes and the ultimate betrayal. Yes, I do love myself some mystery and drama.
The Truth about her by Jacqueline Maley is described as “an absorbing, tender, witty and wise novel of marriage, motherhood and the paths we navigate through both, for fans of Ann Patchett and Anne Tyler”. I have actually ordered this book for myself this Mother’s Day. I was pretty much sold when I read what Annabel Crab had to say about it: ‘I loved The Truth About Her. It’s an intelligent, compelling, nuanced tale of guilt, culpability, pride, shame and atonement. But most of all, it’s a love letter to daughters, from the mothers who raise them. An astoundingly good debut.” If Annabel loves it, there’s a good chance I’ll love it, too.
I think I first heard about this book on the Mamamia podcast and I ordered it immediately. It was an instant New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell is a story about the relationship between a fifteen-year-old girl and her teacher. It explores issues of consent and deceit and love and loss. It’s an uncomfortable read at times, but it’s intriguing and utterly absorbing. This book will stay with me for a long time. I found it unputdownable.
Hot off the press comes Tea and Honesty by Jules Sebastian. Warm, heartfelt conversations with inspirational figures about the feelings and experiences common to us all, and a personal insight into one of Australia’s most beloved celebrity couples, Guy Sebastian and Jules Sebastian. I have ordered my copy as I love storytelling, conversations, tea and honesty! Like a good catch-up with your girlfriends, Tea & Honesty relays many of these conversations as well as sharing some of the most personal and vulnerable moments of Jules’ own journey that she has kept close to her heart – until now. Inspired by these conversations, her book covers the knotty emotions of guilt, comparison and identity to passion, purpose, community, kindness and more.
Sally Hepworth is a masterful storyteller. I love ALL her book and The Good Sister is no exception. She is an exceptional observer of people and their relationships. The Good Sister is a fantastic examination of sister relationships, their strengths and weaknesses, and the lies we tell ourselves about family. It is set partly in a library, which scores it extra points, and Sally does an excellent and sensitive job of portraying a main character on the spectrum. I relished the tension of not knowing which sister to believe. Brilliant.
This is a lovely, light read by Holly Wainwright. It is warm, witty and often very relatable (don’t tell my hubby that!). I Give My Marriage a Year paints a sharply accurate, often hilarious picture of a modern Australian marriage. Lou and Josh are a couple on the edge, and their efforts to bring their relationship back from the brink will resonate with anyone who has ever asked themselves: is this enough?
I would love to hear what you think of the ending, so please let me know. No spoilers here…
This is a big call, but I am going to call it. A little life by Hanya Yanagihara is probably the best book I have ever read. That’s not to say it’s an enjoyable read – it’s confronting, dark, sad and unrelentingly raw. BUT, it is sheer brilliance. I’ve never read a more profoundly moving book. The characters will linger with me for years. Good Reads describes it like this: “An epic about love and friendship in the twenty-first century that goes into some of the darkest places fiction has ever traveled and yet somehow improbably breaks through into the light. Truly an amazement—and a great gift for its readers.”
9. The Drop Off
I need to follow harrowing with humour. If you’re looking for a warm, light, funny and relatable read, this is for you. The Drop Off by by Fiona Harris, and Mike McLeish is a fun read, especially for those with kids in Primary School. The Drop-Off is a hilarious and heartwarming novel about three parents, Lizzie, Megan and Sam, who became friends while dropping off their kids at primary school. They bond over good coffee and banter.
Everyone knows the school drop-off rules: ‘kiss & go doesn’t mean ‘sit & scroll Insta’; activewear is allowed but pj pants are not; don’t piss off the Alpha mum. Lizzie, Megan and Sam don’t play by the rules. Lizzie is a part-time midwife with 4 kids and a secret past. Sam is a stay-at-home dad whose marriage is on the brink. Megan is a former model with a son, a thriving business and no time for loneliness. None of them are very interested in the world of school concerts and working bees…until the day the lollipop man dies and ruins everything…
Sally Hepworth gets a second mention in this book guide. The Mother-in-law is a family drama/suspense with a compelling storyline. It is an intense twisty story full of complex characters and complicated relationships. I absolutely love books that dig deeply into the psychology of the characters, and Sally does this so well. It explores not just the mother and daughter in law relationship but also the dynamics between child/parent, husband/wife, and siblings.
I am very excited to Heartsick by Jessie Stevens, one of my favourite writers and podcasters at Mamamia. Based on intensive interviews with three main subjects, Jessie has woven together three vastly different – yet breathtakingly similar – stories of heartbreak. Claire has returned from London to the dust and familiarity of her childhood home, Toowoomba, after breaking up with her girlfriend Maggie. Patrick is a lonely uni student, until he teams up with Caitlin on a group project – but does she feel as connected as he does? And Ana is happily married with three children, until the night she falls in love with her best friend. Jessie is a brilliant writer and based on the high praise Heart Sick has already received, I know it’s going to a page-turner.
Clare Bowditch is a natural storyteller. She writes with raw and relatable generosity. Your Own Kind of Girl is beautiful read. Clare lays bare her truth in the hope that doing so will inspire anyone who’s ever done battle with their inner critic. This is the work of a woman who has found her true power – and wants to pass it on. It has light and shade, humour and pain, warmth and honesty. It is a moving memoir and an excellent read.
13. Below Deck
A riveting read, which I read in days. Below Deck by Sophie Hardcastle. This is a powerful story – about trauma, recovery and the awful ways that men treat women. The novel centres on 21-year-old Olivia, born to privilege and frighteningly smart, but socially isolated and estranged from her parents. She falls into the company of two remarkable strangers, Mac and Maggie, who show her the majesty of the sea and help her to grasp her unsung potential. It’s a powerful story of self-discovery, art, nature, community, the colour of voices and the sound of sailing.
14. The Lost Man
Let me preface this review by saying I love everything that Jane Harper writes. She is utterly brilliant. And while I adored The Dry, her first novel, The Lost Man is my favourite of hers. Dark, suspenseful, and deeply atmospheric, The Lost Man is an absolute page-turner. The Lost Man takes place in the remote Australian outback, where strangers are vanishingly rare, and every soul is known to everyone. Jane Harper shifts direction with this novel, less crime, more a character driven mystery and family drama. What has not changed is her ability to write an utterly gripping story set in the outback. One of the best books I have read in years.
I’ve saved the very best for last. Because anything by Bluey and Bingo has to be good! Bluey and Bingo love their mum and she loves them! Discover all of Chilli’s special mum skills in this touching and humorous book. The perfect Mother’s Day gift for Bluey fans young and old. Bluey: My Mum is the Best is a must-have for Mother’s Day.