cover image Mothers and Other Strangers

Mothers and Other Strangers

Gina Sorell. Prospect Park (Consortium, dist.), $16 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-938849-89-3

Sorell’s debut novel explores a fractured mother-daughter relationship as the daughter seeks answers following her mother’s death. Elsie, a dancer, was estranged from her mother, Rachel, for years. She returns to Toronto from Los Angeles following Rachel’s death. Rachel had told Elsie that her real father died when they were living in South Africa and that she married his brother, Howard, who never knew that he didn’t father Elsie. As Elsie seeks to piece together the puzzle that was her mother’s life, she reflects on how she admired her mother’s uniqueness but despised her for devoting all her energy to her religious organization, the Seekers, and their founder, Philippe. Elsie recalls immersing herself in dance and becoming a prominent member of a touring dance company, always hoping for her mother’s approval but never seeming to obtain it. Elsie flies to Paris, determined to uncover the secrets of the Seekers and her mother. Mesmerizing and quietly revealing, Sorell’s memorable novel expertly weaves Elsie’s search for answers about her origins with her own journey of healing. (May)