Friday, April 22, 2011

"Mothers and Daughters"

Rae Meadows is the author of Calling Out, which received the 2006 Utah Book Award for fiction, and No One Tells Everything, a Poets & Writers Notable Novel. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Mothers and Daughters, and reported the following:
Mothers and Daughters follows three generations of women: Sam, Sam’s mother, Iris, and Sam’s grandmother, Violet. Violet’s story is at the heart of the novel. It takes place in 1900, when she is 11 and living in the urban cesspool of New York City’s 4th Ward. Page 69 meets up with Violet after she has escaped from the Home for Destitute Children, has found her mother at an opium den, and has reunited with her friend Nino. Violet, Nino, and other wayward boys sit behind the Water Street Tavern.
“Mikey left on the train,” Nino said, chucking oyster shells.

Violet took a look at him to see if he was serious. “How do you know?” she asked. “He’ll show up.”
This is the first time Violet has heard about someone she knows being put on an orphan train. (The purpose of these trains was to send orphaned, delinquent, and needy children from the city to new Christian homes in rural America. People could just show up at a destination and take a child, no questions asked.) As the group of kids gets drunk on rum, teases each other, and kills time, Violet continues to question the boys about the trains, her curiosity piqued.

The page ends with: She could not leave her mother, not that her mother would ever let her go anyway. This thought of Violet’s seeds what will become the moral dilemma of her story, whether her mother will/should put Violet on an orphan train, and thus sets the whole novel in motion.
Read an excerpt from Mothers and Daughters, and learn more about the book and author at Rae Meadows's website.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue