Click here to read reviewer Luan Gaines' take on Mothering Sunday.
Click here to read reviewer Michael Leonard's take on Mothering Sunday.
Mothering Sunday is the third Sunday before Easter, originally a day when individuals visited their original or 'mother' church. Over the years, it became a day on which domestic servants were freed from service to visit their families or do whatever pleased them.
On Mothering Sunday in 1924, follow the day of
22-year-old Jane Fairchild, a maid in the home of the Nivens. They are kind to her, even encouraging her desire to read and educate herself. On this Mothering
Sunday, the Nivens are off to lunch with their friends whose son is to marry the
Nivens' daughter in two weeks.
Jane has other plans. She has been involved in an affair with that son, whose house is next to the Nivens's, for seven years. Today all the families involved are off at lunch, and the two have his house to themselves. The novel opens in the moments when they
have finished having sex and are lying naked in his bed. But he must meet his fiance for their own lunch. Will this be his last time with Jane? They have taught each other everything about sex over the years. Is that all to come to an end?
The novel is told from Jane's viewpoint decades later, when she is an established and celebrated author. She looks back at her first lover and her life in those days and sees how far she has come. This
intricate novel delves into the lifestyle common in England in the days surrounding World War I,
when great families have large homes and there is an entire class of people 'in service' to them. Is Jane being exploited, or is she taking charge of her own life? The reader must determine this and other questions about Jane as her life is slowly unfolded for examination.
Graham Swift has authored nine novels and won both The Guardian Fiction Prize and the Man Booker Prize. This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction.