In praise of The Secret Mother:
Really fantastic.You cannot fail to be moved by this story of the tenacity of a mother’s love. Full of vibrant scenes of the realities of Chinese life, Victoria Delderfield’s debut novel explores the complexities of growing up in a different culture with sensitivity and heart. A beautifully written, poignant story of how love knows no cultural boundaries. Highly recommended. Deborah Swift, author of The Lady’s Slipper
Every character in The Secret Mother is believably real, but it’s Mai Ling, the eponymous mother, who makes it such a warm and engaging read. Spirited and courageous, she overcomes every obstacle put in her path: arranged marriage, the gulag conditions of a car plant in Deng Xiaoping’s new era, unplanned pregnancy and separation from the daughters she moves heaven and earth to find again. The Secret Mother is an epic that focuses on one of the big stories of our time: Western families’ adoption of Chinese babies. Victoria Delderfield has crafted the story of Mai Ling, her lost daughters and their adoptive mother with great skill, and the result is this powerful, compelling novel.
Robert Graham, author of Holy Joe.
A beautifully written story of motherhood, loss and love across cultures. I was immediately gripped by this book from the harrowing first chapter onward and read compulsively for the well drawn characters. Delderfield evokes Manchester and Nanchang with great care and conviction, using telling details of both words to make the reader feel immersed in each. The descriptions of motherhood and the loss of children are particularly heartfelt. Highly recommended! Kate Horsley, author of The Monster’s Wife.
Warm, intriguing and beautifully written. This is a lovely book that manages to keep up the suspense and produce the unexpected from set-piece scenes. Delderfield’s characterisation is subtle and her interweaving of cultures enjoyable. Her narrative is threaded with motifs and objects that carry a weight beyond their size. Definitely a novel to read for anyone interested in family, adoption or ‘roots’. Cath Nicholls, poet.