Sometimes, when a book is so hyped, so far in advance, we get our expectations sky-high and end up disappointed. Such is definitely not the case with The Mothers, an excellent debut novel from Brit Bennett.
In it, we’re introduced to Nadia Turner, Luke Sheppard and Aubrey Evans, three young people coming of age in a tight-knit African American community in Southern California. Nadia, a beautiful 17-year-old, is struggling to cope with her mother’s suicide when she gets pregnant with Luke’s baby and promptly has an abortion. Making matters worse, Luke is the son of the beloved pastor of Upper Room Chapel, where gossip is dished out more readily than empathy.
Years later, after moving across the country for college and law school, Nadia returns to her hometown, where she, Luke and her childhood best friend Aubrey are forced to confront unfinished business from their youth. Here, as readers, we’re forced to confront the fact that not every story ends tied up in a perfect bow.
Told partly by Nadia and partly by a judgmental chorus of women from church (the titular “Mothers”), Bennett’s novel is sad and wise, tackling themes of secrets, loyalty and the lasting impact of the decisions we make when we’re young.
This isn’t a novel to miss but this is a wickedly talented author you need to keep your eyes on.