Sins of the Mother is a story of a mother and a daughter, spanning three decades and two continents.
In 1946, sixteen year old Franny Healy finds herself pregnant and ditched by her boyfriend in Country Cork, Ireland. She had no intention of being married off to a local boy, which is what her mother plans to do to her, so in the middle of the night, Franny sneaks out and heads to London. After finding a place to stay, and having her daughter Cara, Franny makes strides to accomplish her dream of becoming a famous Hollywood actress.
Through some well-timed luck, Franny finds herself on her way to Hollywood, but leaves her daughter with her estranged mother, hoping to send for her in a few months, but things don't quite end up that way. Franny ends up being a famous film actress known as Frances Fitzgerald and keeps her daughter a secret.
The first half of the book switches back and forth between Franny and Cara, showing each one's point of view of being apart from the other. After her mother's move to Hollywood, Cara only sees her one more time, for a week two years later.
The second half of the book is showing through the eyes of Cara, and boy, does she get put through the wringer. After her grandmother dies, she's sent to an orphanage run by a sadistic Mother Superior, and eventually escapes. She then ends up in an abusive relationship with a boy from her childhood.
One day Cara takes a hold of her life, and starts a respectable career, and then sets out about information about her mother, and why she abandoned her.
Sins of the Mother didn't have just one, but two strong heroines. Neither one of them are perfect, but with strength and determination, they're both able to pull themselves from whatever situation they're in and will themselves to something better.
The last part of the book blew me away, what twists! We're shown flashbacks of the years Franny was married, and we see that things weren't as they were the first time we saw them. I got unexpectedly emotional at one point, after getting one huge shock.
I love surprising twist endings, they're the ones I remember the most. I found the end completely satisfying and ended up loving the book more than I planned on.
NOTE: This is published in the UK as Fallen Angels.