Motherlands is a family saga about ‘the ties that strangle.’ It is the story of Margaret’s unquestioning loyalty to Ethel, her dysfunctional mother, and its impact on the daughter of the next generation, Deirdre. Ethel is born into a deep-rooted and respected Liverpool family, and suffers a series of traumatic events including the early death of her mother, marital abuse and war.
Ethel is forced into marriage at an early age, then she more or less, does the same thing to her daughter. When that blows up across Canada and England, Margaret—at an unconscious level—is driven by the shame caused by her mother's impulses. She puts on a brave face and covers up for her. All of this seeps into Margaret’s life, creating episodes of chaos, immeasurable stress, and alienating her from her children—the very people she most seeks closeness with. She lives suspended between high-alert and shutdown.
Added to this, the family lives in transient, military environments, where they are always outsiders, where sexism prevails, and a woman’s history can destroy her beloved husband’s reputation too.
Deirdre, the child most impacted—is now a castaway in Australia—and from this odyssey, she learns about loss, reconnection, resilience and compassion.
You'll have to read the book to find out how Margaret and Deirdre confront the machinery Ethel set in motion.
A woman should always have her own money
-- Margaret Halstead Taylor née Ashworth
1872 -1910 Everton, Liverpool