Maude: A Review

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

-Ian Maclaren

The quote by Maclaren kept ringing in my mind as I was reading Maude and days later, she is still on my mind.

Maude is a heartbreakingly beautiful story about a young woman’s life. Married at 14, a widow at 16, and willing to do anything necessary for her family. Her story had me going through an emotional rollercoaster wondering, “What could possibly happen next?”

Donna Mabry artistically tells the story of her grandmother’s life in a way that had me on the edge of my seat and reading late into the night. We always understand how difficult it was to be a woman in the 1900s, but “hearing” the story of one woman’s life makes it all the more realistic and relatable.

Maude left me with the book hangover I love to hate and hate to love.

I came across this book one night digging in the Kindle store and was instantly attracted to the beautiful young girl on the cover. I have always loved reading historical fiction and non-fiction and the summary had me hooked.

Helen’s statement to Maude on her wedding day about how she would have to let her husband do whatever he wanted to do to her now that she was married was both shocking and provided a very powerful glimpse into how life used to be for women.

Maude’s life was filled with tragedy and joy and I felt those emotions right along side her. Mabry’s story-telling skills are amazing in this book and had me feeling at times like I was listening to my own grandmother talking.

I became invested in their lives and wanted them to succeed. I was angry at Mom Foley right along with Maude and was amazed at Maude’s commitment to being a good Christian woman. Despite all the hardships, she maintained her faith and strived to pray everyday. She managed to care for her family despite economic struggles and I am willing to bet, did so with a smile. I feel like Maude was the woman you always saw doing everything she could for everyone with a smile on her face, never showing how much she was struggling on the inside.

This was a wonderful tribute to her grandmother’s memory. I ached every time Maude ached and rejoiced with her when things went right. The joy that she felt when Gene bought her an electric washing machine had me smiling ear to ear, because I could see it happening. I could just imagine how after washing clothes by hands for years and years it would be to have a machine to do the hard work for you.

I am still thinking about Maude even though I have finished reading and started reading other books. I dream about her leaving her home, walking to the city looking for work, and caring for her children and grandchildren.

Maude has left me with the book hangover and, this time, I’m okay with that.


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