Every mother-daughter relationship is different. This special bond is a source of great inspiration, around which authors can create moving stories.  

There is no stronger bond than that of a mother and her children. It’s a relationship full of unconditional love and care but also friction and confrontation. Often, mothers have a different way of thinking than their children and this can create distance and hostility. But, at the end of the day, a mother is always thinking about their well-being. 

For this and many other reasons, this bond is a source of literary inspiration for many authors. Great novels have described the mother-daughter relationship from different angles that allow us to explore this intriguing human bond.

Starting with the birth of her daughter, a mother will give her life to protect her and make her happy. This feeling increases over time, and the love between a mother and her daughter becomes unconditional. But, their relationship is also visceral, volatile, and with its fair share of conflicts. Each of the following books looks at a different aspect of this relationship. 

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Four stories that tell the story of eight different women. Four Chinese women emigrate to the United States in search of a better life. When their daughters are born into a different culture, they are unable to connect with their mothers. This novel isn’t only a window into cultural and generational differences between mothers and daughters but also a demonstration of the sacrifices that a mother will make to ensure a better future for her daughter. 

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Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

A daughter’s relationship with her mother comes to a halt after the mother mysteriously disappears. For over a decade, no one hears from her, but the protagonist does not lose hope. By reading her mother’s diaries and working with a psychic and private detective Jenna Metcalf, the daughter hopes to find answers, and eventually, her mother. This is a journey motivated by love and hope. 

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Paula by Isabel Allende

A mother decides a write a letter to her daughter to tell her what is going on around her while she is in a coma. It is a heartbreaking story done justice by Allende’s writing. This story is an autobiographical account of one of the most difficult moments in Isabel’s life, when her own daughter, Paula, suffered an illness that led to her death. It is a story that will not only move you but make you cry. 

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My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

This book intertwines the past and the present. We get to know the protagonist through flashbacks that reveal her difficult childhood and the experiences she had to overcome. We also see her gradually restore her relationship with her mother, who she hadn’t seen in years, but never stopped loving. Every page of this book shows us just how complicated the relationship between a mother and daughter can be.

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The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

In 1964 Lily escapes an abusive household with her friend and mother figure Rosaleen. On their journey to find a new home, they eventually come upon Boatwright residence, where three sisters work doing beekeeping. In addition to finding a place to live, they find the familial love they had been seeking and a place to put down roots for the future. This book shows us how motherly love is sometimes found in people outside the family.

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Each of these books shows us how complicated a mother-daughter relationship can be. They illustrate what many of us already know: the love between mother and childovercomes any situation. We can distance ourselves from one another and return, and it’s as if no time has passed. This bond forms at birth, and it is something so natural for human beings that if we do not have it in our biological mother, we try to find another type of mother figure.  Each of these mother-daughter stories is full of emotion, humanity, and magic.

You’re sure to love these books starting from the very first chapter of each. If you’re a mother, these stories will move your heart, and if not, they might make you see your own mother through a new lens.  



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