Jo McMillan - Motherland - Hodder & Stoughton

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  • Paperback £8.99
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    • ISBN:9781473612020
    • Publication date:16 Jun 2016
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    • ISBN:9781473612013
    • Publication date:02 Jul 2015

Motherland

A Novel

By Jo McMillan

  • Hardback
  • £16.99

A charming, witty and original debut reminiscent of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit meets Goodbye Lenin.

'I hadn't expected the Berlin Wall to be clean and white and smooth. It looked more like the edge of the swimming baths than the edge of the Cold War. On the grass of No-man's Land, fat rabbits ate and strolled about as if they'd never been hunted and nothing could disturb them. This was their land and they ruled it, and there were three parts to Berlin: East, West and Rabbit.'

It is 1978, Jess is thirteen and she already has a reputation - as the daughter of the only communist in town. But then, it's in the blood. The Mitchells have been in the Party since the Party began. Jess and her mother Eleanor struggle to sell socialism to Tamworth - a sleepy Midlands town that just doesn't want to know.

So when Eleanor is invited to spend a summer teaching in East Germany, she and Jess leap at the chance to see what the future looks like. On the other side of the Iron Curtain they turn from villains into heroes. And when Eleanor meets widower Peter and his daughter, Martina, a new, more peaceful life seems possible.

But the Cold War has no time for love and soon the trouble starts. Peter is dispatched for two years of solidarity work in Laos. Friends become enemies, and Jess discovers how easy it is to switch sides, and how sides can be switched for you, sometimes without you even knowing.

Motherland is a tender mother-daughter story and a tragi-comic portrait of a childhood overcome with belief. It's about loss of faith and loss of innocence, and what it's like to grow up on the losing side of history.

Biographical Notes

Jo McMillan grew up in the UK and has lived and worked in China and Malaysia. She is currently based in Berlin. Motherland is her first novel.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781473611993
  • Publication date: 02 Jul 2015
  • Page count: 272
  • Imprint: John Murray
Funny, smart, and packed full of all the melancholy you would expect from a novel that slowly sheds a child's innocence — Red
There's a great deal of humour in Motherland, all underpinned with a sober tone . . . Jess makes an engaging narrator — alifeinbooks
In its warm and witty portrait of offbeat mother-daughter relations, Motherland often recalls Nina Stibbe's Man At The Helm. Jess's gift for wry observations also gives rise to some wonderfully quotable lines — Lady
Motherland cuts a swathe through history without feeling like a lesson . . . Even though Motherland is full of historical detail, between 1980s Tamworth and the GDR, the oppression of the era never overwhelms. At the heart, and most important are the human relationships and which bonds survive — Emerald Street
I'm sure that these are characters (and the voice of a new novelist) that I for one will gladly revisit over and over again . . . A beautiful story tinged with fun, sadness and insight — Bookbag
A delightful tragi-comic novel, primarily about a mother/daughter relationship (hence the title) and also about coming of age and disillusionment . . . Motherland combines a teenager's cold-eyed view of adult absurdities and a wistfulness for lost certainties; a compelling blend — Historical Novel Review
A funny and poignant first novel — Daily Mail
This assured debut from Jo McMillan was a delight from start to finish; I was immediately drawn into the lives of the main characters and was sorry to get to the end. McMillan is now based in Berlin and she writes convincingly of both sides of the Cold War, she has a very distinct voice and will be a writer to watch in the future — We Love This Book
McMillan's writing is excellent; she captures brilliantly the voice of Jess, naive and committed at the start of the book, knowing and more questioning by the end. Although there's perhaps a certain irony in places in her portrayal of the various members of the counter-culture groups, she never belittles their belief and their faith in their cause . . . Motherland is McMillan's debut, and it's an excellent one - highly recommended! — Kaggsy's Bookish Ramblings
For those of us who remember how well youthful politics can entangle teenage love, this funny, sweet, sad first novel is both a delight and a glorious journey back to a time and place many of us only recall with a wry shake of the head — Stella Duffy
An ambitious coming-of-age novel from debut author Jo McMillan, which is wonderfully written and filled with quirky details and descriptions . . . A touching and poignant read, which uniquely explores this period in time in a way in which few other authors have attempted to — Herald
Genuinely funny — Socialist Worker
A touching and poignant read, which uniquely explores this period in time in a way in which few other authors have attempted to — Press Association
An ambitious coming-of-age story, filled with quirky details and descriptions — Scotsman
It's an ambitious coming-of-age novel from debut author Jo McMillan, which is wonderfully written and filled with quirky details and descriptions . . . a touching and poignant read, which uniquely explores this period in time in a way in which few other authors have attempted to — Catholic Universe
The book (sometimes very funny, sometimes desperately embarrassing and sad, always absorbing and moving) is full of her ineradicable love for her batty, determined Stalinist mother . . . I urge you to [read it] — Mail Online

Alexandra Potter

Alexandra Potter was born in Yorkshire. Having lived in Los Angeles and Sydney after university, where she worked variously as a features editor and sub-editor for women's magazines including Elle, Company, Red and Australian Vogue, she now writes full time and lives between London and Los Angeles. She is the author of nine internationally bestselling novels of romantic fiction with a magical twist, including Don't You Forget About Me and Me and Mr Darcy, which won the Best New Fiction Award at the Jane Austen Regency World Awards 2007.You can find out more at www.alexandrapotter.com or on her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Alexandra.Potter.Author or follow Alexandra on Twitter @AlexPotterBooks.

Alexandra Raife

Alexandra Raife has lived abroad in many countries and worked at a variety of jobs, including a six-year commission in the RAF and many years co-running a Highland hotel.

Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. He studied at the universities of Delhi and Oxford, has taught at a number of institutions and written for many magazines. The first novel in the Ibis trilogy, Sea of Poppies, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2008. In 2015, Amitav Ghosh was named as a finalist of the Man Booker International Prize.

Ashley Hay

Ashley Hay is the internationally acclaimed author of the novels The Body in the Clouds, The Railwayman's Wife and A Hundred Small Lessons. The Railwayman's Wife was honoured with the Colin Roderick Award by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the most prestigious literary prize in Australia, among numerous other accolades. She has also written four nonfiction books.She lives in Brisbane, Australia.ashleyhay.com.au

Chris Cleave

Chris Cleave's debut novel INCENDIARY won the Somerset Maugham Award, among others. His second, the Costa-shortlisted THE OTHER HAND, was a global bestseller and sat in the New York Times Top Ten for over a year (under the US title, Little Bee). Both books were shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prizes. He lives in Kingston-upon-Thames with his wife and three children, and welcomes readers at facebook.com/ChrisCleaveBooks, www.chriscleave.com and twitter.com/chriscleave.

Chrissie Manby

Chrissie Manby is the author of twenty romantic comedies including A PROPER FAMILY HOLIDAY, THE MATCHBREAKER and SEVEN SUNNY DAYS. She has had several Sunday Times bestsellers and her novel about behaving badly after a break-up, GETTING OVER MR RIGHT, was nominated for the 2011 Melissa Nathan Award. Chrissie was raised in Gloucester, in the west of England, and now lives in London. Contrary to the popular conception of chick-lit writers, she is such a bad home-baker that her own father threatened to put her last creation on www.cakewrecks.com. She is, however, partial to white wine and shoes she can't walk in. You can follow her on Twitter @chrissiemanby, or visit her website www.chrissiemanby.co.uk to find out more.

Christine Marion Fraser

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Ciara Geraghty

Ciara Geraghty is the author of five novels: Now That I've Found You, Saving Grace, Becoming Scarlett, Finding Mr Flood and Lifesaving for Beginners. She lives in Dublin with her husband, three children and dog.You can find out more at www.ciarageraghty.com, visit her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/CiaraGeraghtyBooks, or follow her on Twitter www.twitter.com/ciarageraghty.

Courtney Cole

Courtney Cole was born and raised in rural Kansas but moved to Indiana over a decade ago and now resides in Mishawaka, near Lake Michigan. Her favourite place in the world is on the shore with her toes in the water. Although, since she is deathly afraid of sea gulls and things that float in the water, it makes days at the beach interesting.She is married with three children. She worked for a decade in corporate America, in an international marketing department for a military vehicle company. Courtney is always working on her next novel. If she isn't, then she is staring dreamily out her office window.To learn more about Courtney, visit her website, www.courtneycolewrites.com. You can find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/courtneycolewrites or follow her on Twitter @Court_Writes.

Daniel Woodrell

Daniel Woodrell was born in the Missouri Ozarks, where he still lives. He left school and enlisted in the Marines the week he turned seventeen, and received his BA at the age of twenty-seven. He also has an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He is the author of eight novels including Winter's Bone, the film of which was nominated for four Oscars in 2011, Woe to Live On, the basis for the film Ride with the Devil directed by Ang Lee, and Tomato Red, which won the PEN West Award for fiction in 1999. Five of his novels have been selected as New York Times Notable Books of the year. His most recent novel was The Maid's Version, published by Sceptre in 2013.

Declan Hughes

Declan Hughes was born in Dublin, where he lives with his wife and daughters. He has worked as a playwright and director and co-founded the award-winning Rough Magic Theatre Company, where he was artistic director and writer-in-residence. The first in the series of Ed Loy mysteries, The Wrong Kind of Blood, won the Shamus Award for best first novel and the third, The Dying Breed, was nominated for the prestigious Edgar Allan Poe award for best novel.

Diana Cooper

Diana Cooper received an angel visitation during a time of personal crisis, which changed her life. Author of 19 books in over 20 languages, she has inspired thousands of people to fulfil their spiritual potential. Diana is known for her work with angels, unicorns, ascension, Atlantis, Orbs and 2012. Through her guides and angels she enables people to access their spiritual gifts and psychic potential and also connects them to their own angels, guides, Masters and unicorns.Diana is the Principal of The Diana Cooper School, a not for profit organisation which offers certificated spiritual teaching courses throughout the world.www.dianacooper.com

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Elisabeth Smith was born and educated in Germany. She studied English at Hamburg University with a teaching career in mind, and well before EU days was offered her first assignment at a London prep school. While on contract in Africa she became sidetracked by commerce. She spent the next ten years learning about printing and publishing in Zambia before joining a publishing house in Johannesburg where she ultimately became the company's chief executive. In spite of climbing the corporate ladder she never lost her interest and skills in teaching languages. During the last 30 years she has taught French to English children, English to Zambian students, German at evening classes and Italian to her daughter "just for fun".Since moving to Spain she had to learn Spanish in a hurry - cutting across traditional learning methods. This gave her the inspiration for thehighly successful "Teach Yourself Instant..." series currently offering eight titles with a further four to be published in early 2001.Elisabeth Smith now lives in Marbella like a "proper" author with a volatile PC and two cats.

Elizabeth Goudge

Elizabeth de Beauchamp Goudge was born on April 24th 1900 in Wells, Somerset, where her father was Principal of Wells Theological College. Although she had privately intended writing as a career, her parents insisted she taught handicrafts in Oxford. She began writing in her spare time and her first novel ISLAND MAGIC, set in Guernsey, was a great success here and in America. GREEN DOLPHIN COUNTRY (1944) projected her to fame, netting a Literary Guild Award and a special prize of £30,000 from Louis B. Mayer of MGM before being filmed.In her later years Elizabeth Goudge settled in Henley-on-Thames. She died on April 1st, 1984.

Elizabeth H. Winthrop

Elizabeth H. Winthrop was born and raised in New York City. She graduated from Harvard University in 2001 with a BA in English and American Literature and Language, and in 2004 she received her Master of Fine Arts in fiction from the University of California at Irvine. Her stories have appeared in a variety of publications including the Missouri Review and the Indiana Review. Fireworks, her first novel, was published by Sceptre in 2006, and her second, December, was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick for 2009. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, daughter and St. Bernard.

Emily Giffin

Emily Giffin is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law. After practicing litigation at a Manhattan firm for several years, she moved to London to write full time. The author of six New York Times bestselling novels, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love The One You're With, Heart of the Matter, and Where We Belong, she lives in Atlanta with her husband and three young children.You can find out more at www.emilygiffin.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EmilyGiffinFans or on Twitter @emilygiffin.

Erin Kelly

Erin Kelly is the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Poison Tree, The Sick Rose, The Burning Air, The Ties That Bind and Broadchurch: The Novel, inspired by the mega-hit TV series. In 2013, The Poison Tree became a major ITV drama and was a Richard & Judy Summer Read in 2011. Born in London in 1976, she lives in north London with her husband and daughters. www.erinkelly.co.ukwww.twitter.com/mserinkellywww.facebook.com/Erin-Kelly-Author

Fiona Walker

Fiona Walker, whose novels have been Sunday Times bestsellers, leads the field as the voice of young, media-aware women. She lives in Somerset with her partner and two children plus an assortment of horses and dogs.

Holly Bourne

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