At the thought of her mother, Bay’s heart ached. Even a year later, Bay couldn’t believe she was dead. Her mother had loved this garden. Bay used to take a cup of tea out to her in the early morning, so they could sit together on the swing and decide where to stake the tomatoes and how many pumpkins they might need for the fall fair. This was the first planting without her.
Sisters Bay and Tansy are complete opposites. Widowed mother Bay had never lived anywhere but Louisbourg; restless Tansy left town as a teenager and stayed away for years.
And now, Tansy is home. Home, and unwittingly falling in love with her sister’s almost boyfriend. Home, and befriending Ashley when all Bay can do is fight with her teenaged daughter. Home, and desperately hiding the real reason she fled all those years ago.
When crisis hits the family, the sisters draw closer. But the closer they are, the more explosive their relationship, and soon their troubled history threatens to shatter what’s left of their family forever.
Complex and heartwarming, Her Mother’s Daughter is an exploration of family and friends and the tangled skeins of love, mistakes, and secrets twisting between us all.
“Lesley Crewe’s extraordinary storytelling takes us on a wry and bittersweet journey into the heart of the nor’easter that is family.”
– Stephens Gerard Malone, Author
Bay and Gertie met in sixth grade. Gertie’s family moved into their grandmother’s house after the old lady died and because her parents were older, they’d shoo her out of the house at every opportunity. Gertie was left to fend for herself, which was deadly, since she was the new, fat kid in town.
The first week of school was hell. The school bully was overjoyed to have a new target to practice on. Bay would watch from the sidelines, too afraid to intervene as Bradley taunted Gertie about her fat ass and jelly belly. Once Gertie looked at Bay with tears in her eyes, as if to ask, why don’t you help me? The only reason she didn’t was that Bradley had just started to leave her alone after ribbing her for weeks about her knobby knees and stick legs. No way did she want that to start over.
And so she was ashamed when her little sister, Tansy, came out of the school one day and happened to witness Bradley point at Gertie and laugh at her, calling her names while a group of kids stood around and watched the show.
Even though Tansy was in fifth grade, she marched up to Bradley and kicked him in the shin. When he bellowed and started after her, she held her ground and said for all to hear, “You dare hit me, Bradley, I’ll tell your da I saw you cryin’ in the principal’s office.”
That stopped him dead.
Tansy went up to Gertie. “You okay?”
“Good.” Tansy walked away and so did everyone else once the fun stopped.
Bay stayed behind and smiled at Gertie. “Want to come to my house? My mom makes good cookies.”
Gertie sniffed and nodded as she shuffled along beside Bay. “Wasn’t that your little sister?”
“I like her. She’s pretty, and really brave.”
Tansy didn’t become Gertie’s friend. Tansy wouldn’t be caught dead with a loser. Gertie thought she came to her rescue because she didn’t like to see injustice, but Bay knew it was because Tansy loved being the centre of attention. No matter. Gertie became Bay’s best friend and it it weren’t for Tansy it might not have happened.
Whenever Bay thought of her sister, it was as if she were remembering a character in one of the fairy tales their mother would read to them at night, more illusion than flesh and blood. She didn’t talk to anyone about her sister and hadn’t seen her in years. People in town were scandalized when Tansy didn’t show up for her mother’s funeral. They never said as much to Bay, but she knew by the hints that were dropped while they licked envelopes and stuck stamps on parcels.
“Must be hard to be on your own, dear, with only your daughter to comfort you,” they’d say in a variety of ways. Bay would nod and change the subject. Only grouchy old Mrs. Skinner had the nerve to say it to her face.
“I think it’s dreadful that Tansy wasn’t there to say goodbye to your ma. A finer woman I’ve never met, but I’m afraid I can’t say the same about your sister. Stuck-up little trollop she was, always parading around and chasing anything in pants. You mark my words, no good will come to her. No good at all.”