Millicent Glenn’s Last Wish, a review by Allison

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Millicent Glenn’s Last Wish
Tori Whitaker

Women’s Fiction
351 pages
Published October 1st, 2020 by Lake Union Publishing

I absolutely LOVE when an author settles me into a decade of long ago.Β  Take me back in time to the world-war 40’s, poodle-skirt and sock-hop 50’s and I am THERE!Β  The groovy 60’s andΒ  I-am-Woman-hear-me-roar 70’s? Yes please, Gloria Steinem. The neon-soaked 80’s and the grungy 90’s? Can’t get enough.

This multi-generational book by Tori Whitaker set in the late 40’s/early 50’s and present day was really, really good. I loved how the author gave us a glimpse into 1950’s suburbia and how running one’s house and having babies were the expected duties of the wife. And– for the majority of women–what they expected their lives to be. This story- based inΒ  Cinncinati suburbia- follows Millicent, her daughter, Jane and her granddaughter, Kelsey.

Millicent was aΒ  strong woman, yet followed the gender norms of that time. She was independent and driven, she wanted to be a partner to her husband, not simply a subservient wife. And this did not bode well with those who believed a woman’s place was in the home, managing the house and having babies.

The characters were beautifully flawed.Β  Millicent’s sister-in-law and husband were perfectly placed secondary characters. Their neighborhood friends added just the right amount of reality for the story of a young family in suburban America, circa 1951.Β 

This book resonated so strongly with me, as Millicent reminded me so much of my grandmother, Alice. I often wonder what her life would’ve been like, had she not followed what everyone EXPECTED of her. Had she not met my dashing grandfather, waited for him during WW2, reunited, married and started a family.

All in all, a beautiful story of the relationship between mothers and daughter as these 3 women bond over the joys and heartbreaks of life. How we sometimes take things for granted or just assume when we should not. How we can forgive ourselves and just…..love.
A great debut novel!

 

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