The Mother Act: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Set against the sparkling backdrop of the theater world, this propulsive debut follows the relationship between an actress who refuses to abandon her career and the daughter she chooses to abandon instead.
Sadie Jones, a larger-than-life actress and controversial feminist, never wanted to be a mother. No one feels this more deeply than Jude, the daughter Sadie left behind. While Jude spent her childhood touring with her father’s Shakespearian theater company, desperate for validation from the mother she barely knew, Sadie catapulted to fame on the wings of The Mother Act—a scathing one-woman show about motherhood.
Two decades later, Jude is a talented actress in her own right, and her fraught relationship with Sadie has come to a scandalous head. On a December evening in New York City, at the packed premiere of Sadie’s latest play, the two come face-to-face and the intertwined stories of their lives unfold—colorfully and dramatically. What emerges is a picture of two very different women navigating the complicated worlds of career, love, and family, all while grappling with the essential question: can they ever really understand each other?
Compelling, insightful, and cleverly conveyed as a play in six acts, The Mother Act is a stylish page-turner that looks at what it means to be a devoted mother and a devoted artist—and whether it is possible to be both.
About the Author
Heidi Reimer is a novelist and writing coach. Her writing interrogates the lives of women, usually those bent on breaking free of what they’re given to create what they yearn for. Her front-row seat to the theater world of her debut novel, The Mother Act, began two decades ago when she met and married an actor, and her immersion in motherhood began when she adopted a toddler and discovered she was pregnant on the same day. She has published in Chatelaine, The New Quarterly, Literary Mama, and the anthologies The M Word: Conversations about Motherhood and Body & Soul: Stories for Skeptics and Seekers.
"Readers who are in the acting world will rejoice at Reimer’s hyperspecific theater references (no notes on opening night!), and all readers will get lost in Reimer’s gift for writing heart-wrenching, multidimensional relationships. An affecting story about love, abandonment, and the murky middle between them."
“Wholly engrossing, beautifully crafted, and uncanny in its depiction of family intrigue and the life of the artist, this is a rare treasure of a book about both motherhood and daughterhood. I savored every page of this spellbinding debut. Reimer is truly a writer to watch.”
—Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Spectacular
"Mesmerizing, poignant, and elegantly wrought, this is the best novel I’ve read in ages! Do yourself a favour and read The Mother Act—then share it with your book club, your best friends, and the women you love talking to most."
—Marissa Stapley, New York Times bestselling author of Lucky
“Heidi Reimer’s debut The Mother Act is an incisive and at-times raw exploration of what it means to be both a mother and an artist, and the fallout that comes when you have to choose. Told in six acts, and spanning years in the lives of ambitious Sadie and the daughter she abandoned as a baby, Jude, readers are in expert hands with Reimer’s storytelling. Provocative and profound, this is a beautiful take on the mother-daughter story.”
—Karma Brown, #1 international bestselling author of Recipe for a Perfect Wife
“Heidi Reimer's clear-eyed take on a complicated mother-daughter relationship is both emotionally exacting and highly entertaining. An honest, endearing family story for any theater fan, or for anyone who has ever been or had a mother. I devoured this book.”
—Aja Gabel, author of The Ensemble
“Explosive, gripping, and insightful, The Mother Act depicts the fraught mother-daughter relationship in all its messy, poignant complexity. Reimer explores the fascinating and painfully intimate nature of performance, the friction between love and duty, and the contradictions of motherhood. Her novel is a soaring ode to both the page and the stage, honoring all the bookish theatre-lovers who have only ever felt at home in imagined worlds. Even Shakespeare himself, who is quoted and performed throughout the novel, would approve of its drama, intrigue, and emotional heft. The Mother Act deserves a standing ovation.”
—Caitlin Barasch, author of A Novel Obsession
"A dazzling debut and beautifully crafted mother-daughter love story. The Mother Act hooked me from the first page to the last as I willed Sadie and Jude to find their way back to each other."
—Bernadette Jiwa, author of The Making of Her
"Sensational… this gorgeous, engaging novel made my heart rethink itself over and over. Jude and Sadie are unforgettable characters, and their story crackles with powerful chemistry. I read it all in a weekend, and didn’t want to put it down. I love this book, I love this book, I love this book, 153 times plus more!"
—Sarah Selecky, Giller-nominated author of This Cake Is for the Party and Radiant Shimmering Light
"From their soaring theater-world achievements to the squalid humiliations of new motherhood, Reimer’s characters explode off the page in scene after scene of spiky tension and carnivalesque misbehavior. With raw insight and razor-sharp wit, The Mother Act asks us to consider the price we make women pay for true artistic freedom. An urgent—and urgently funny—book."
—Sarah Henstra, Governor General's Award-winning author of The Red Word
"Like a set of nesting dolls, The Mother Act—with remarkable acuity—unpacks notions of motherhood, daughterhood, and personhood to arrive at essential questions about what it means to love and be loved, to be vulnerable, and human, all the while employing the framework of a theatrical performance whose effect is truly dazzling."
—Kerry Clare, author of Asking for a Friend