The Truth About My Mother is the debut novel from Jemma Wallace, the winner of the Trapeze and Gingerbread ‘One in Four’ New Writer Award. Wallace who has one son was partly inspired by her own experience of single motherhood and also of her grandmother’s experience of being a single mother in the 1950s. She works part-time as a project manager for the University of Edinburgh.
The story, based in Edinburgh, uses many of the city’s main attractions as a backdrop for the action. It revolves around the lives and loves of three generations of women from the 1950s to the present day and highlights that although attitudes may have changed with regard to single mothers the mental struggles and hardships remain basically the same. The women portrayed are colourful but believable characters who all have secrets to hide but when the truth starts to emerge the relationships between them changes radically. The loves and lies that come to light open up the possibilities for the healing of old wounds and an appreciation of the sometimes invisible bond that exists between mothers and daughters.
Lovable old grandmother, Jeannette, keeps a tight hold on the secrets of a past love: her granddaughter Amy is trying to juggle work and motherhood in the present day and Judith is the eccentric mother and daughter caught betwixt the two. It is a thought-provoking work throwing light on the importance of family relationships and how often we identify more with grandparents than our own parents who we tend to blame for our mistakes.
This is an impressive first novel which requires both a better title and cover to attract the reader. The sentiment is clear though and it is also a wonderful advert for Gingerbread – the leading national charity for single parent families. Their vision; a world where diverse families can thrive.