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8 Family Saga Novels to Read with Your Mom This Mother’s Day

May 3, 2024


As Mother’s Day approaches, we want to honor the profound and complex bond between mothers and daughters. The following novels explore complicated family dynamics between multiple generations of women, whether mother-daughter, grandmother-granddaughter, maternal figures and children in need of mothering, or sisters dealing with different stages of motherhood. Yet, amid all the turmoil, these novels offer the characters paths full of resilience, redemption, and hope.

Consider the possibility of reading these with the mother or daughter figures in your life. These family dramas entertain but they also inspire, and we hope that they can spark conversation with the women in your life. After each description, you’ll find one of the discussion questions from the book, as an example of a conversation starter. These questions can help you notice themes, engage in meaningful conversation, or open the door to see the storyor the world—from each other’s perspectives.

Pick one of these family drama novels to read with your mom this Mother’s Day!

All My Secrets

By Lynn Austin

All My Secrets by Lynn Austin

Three generations of women in the Stanhope family are at odds with each other as they pursue different goals for the youngest member, Adelaide, whose future is at stake after the death of her father and the passing of their estate to a male relative. A peek into the sacrifices and choices of different generations introduces surprise revelations.


Q: Addy’s mother and grandmother both tell her their life stories to help her understand them better. How much do you know about your parents’ and grandparents’ stories? What parts of your own story do you want to pass on to the younger generations?



Dysfunction Junction

By Robin W. Pearson

Dysfunction Junction by Robin W. Pearson

Three grown sisters blessed by an endearing stand-in mother, Miss Hattie, grapple with what to do in the aftermath of their neglectful mother’s death while they navigate the complicated relationships they have with each other. A perfect intergenerational read for anyone struggling with the need to forgive and possibly to forget.


Q: Miss Hattie befriends the girls when they are young and eventually becomes integral to their lives. Has someone outside your immediate family invested in your life in a similar way? Have you had the opportunity to be this kind of mentor or caregiver to others?



The Wings of Poppy Pendleton

By Melanie Dobson

The Wings of Poppy Pendleton

This time-split novel highlights the 1907 disappearance of young Poppy Pendelton from her family’s Gilded-Age castle, devastating her mother. Fast-forward eighty-five years after Poppy’s disappearance, and a young, ragtag girl shows up on the same shores as the dilapidated Pendleton castle, revealing a mysterious connection to Poppy’s family. Read this one for a glimpse into a tangled family saga spanning decades and with modern-day implications.


Q: When Emma finds a sparrow with a broken wing, she says, “Even a fragile wing can fly again.” Do you have an example from your life where a broken or seemingly hopeless situation was restored?


Appalachian Song

By Michelle Shocklee

Appalachian Song by Michelle Shocklee

A young, motherless teen, injured and afraid, gives birth in a childless midwife’s home in 1943. Thirty years later a famous musician searches for his biological mother, wanting to know why he was given up for adoption. If you enjoy a found-family story, this one introduces the powerful bonds created by those who love well and sacrificially.


Q: Bertie tells Walker: “Family don’t always mean blood kin.” What does your family look like?




The Year of Jubilee

By Cindy Morgan

The Year of Jubilee by Cindy Morgan

It’s the turbulent 1960s and Grace’s hometown of Jubilee, Kentucky, faces extreme cultural upheaval with newly introduced racial integration and conflict within Grace’s own family. She longs for a different mother-and-daughter story—and then she’s introduced to her difficult mother’s history. This family drama sheds light on generational pain and secrets. 


Q: Though Grace is deeply wounded by her mother’s distance and unforgiveness, she gets glimpses into the things that have shaped Virginia, like her family of origin. How has your view of your own parents changed as you’ve gotten older?




By Sandra Byrd

Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd

Spanning generations, this time-slip novel features four women whose lives intertwine as heirlooms discovered in the modern day expose long-hidden secrets. The story begins when two widowed Navy wives, Helen and Eunhee, bond over Eunhee’s pregnancy and Helen’s experience as a nurse. Their stories influence future generations and reveal how our histories travel through generational lines.   


Q: Helen and Eunhee agree that they would like to live “a hero’s life,” ultimately finding that such a life is earned day by day, decision by simple decision. What do you see in your own life, or the lives of those around you, that is genuinely heroic, though they might not find that to be so?


The Best Weve Been

By Beth K. Vogt

The Best We've Been by Beth K. Vogt

This final book in the Thatcher Sisters series depicts the fragile friendship between the three Thatcher sisters, who must decide what it means to be family and to preserve their sisterhood. With broken, fractured sibling relationships and unfulfilled longings that get in the way of finding joy, this family displays the messiness of doing life together.  


Q: Family roles often define us as we’re growing up: we’re the middle child or the athletic one or the quiet one. What has helped your family recognize that you are no longer a child? If they haven’t, how do you think you can help them see that you’re different?


Marta’s Legacy series

By Francine Rivers

Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers

This sweeping family saga covered in two books (Her Mother’s Hope and Her Daughter’s Dream), spans 100 years of women in one family struggling to understand each other and preserve their relationships. The novels depict the sometimes unknown sacrifices offered from one generation to the next. With a peek into the complicated bonds between mothers and daughters, and the tender love between granddaughters and grandmothers, we witness the repercussions of tough love and mutual shortcomings, as well as the transforming power of unconditional love. Read these powerful multigenerational stories for a glimpse into the lives of some unforgettable women.



Her Daughter's Dream by Francine Rivers

Q: Marta’s mother gave her a blessing when she left home to make her way in the world. In what ways, verbal or otherwise, did your parents give you their blessing? If they didn’t, what do you wish they had said to you? In what ways did you—or do you hope to someday—do the same for your own children?






Love these stories? Check out more family dramas here | 8 Family Saga Novels to Read with Your Mother This Mother's Day