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The Making of Her

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An unforgettable debut novel about family secrets, falling apart, and coming together. Dublin 1996. Joan Egan lives an enviable life. She and her husband, Martin, and daughter, Carmel, are thriving in Dublin at the dawn of an economic boom. But everything changes when Joan receives a letter from Emma, the daughter who she and Martin gave up for adoption thirty years before An unforgettable debut novel about family secrets, falling apart, and coming together. Dublin 1996. Joan Egan lives an enviable life. She and her husband, Martin, and daughter, Carmel, are thriving in Dublin at the dawn of an economic boom. But everything changes when Joan receives a letter from Emma, the daughter who she and Martin gave up for adoption thirty years before, asking for a life-or-death favor. While Joan grapples with the guilt over giving up her baby long ago, she must confront her present as the cracks in her marriage become impossible to ignore and simmering tension with Carmel boils over. Meanwhile, Carmel and Emma must come to terms with the perceived sins of their mother, to imagine a future for their family before it is too late. Spanning the nineties and the sixties, with Dublin as its backdrop, The Making of Her is the tender and page-turning story of marriage, motherhood, a culture that would not allow a woman to find true happiness--and her journey to finally claim it.


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An unforgettable debut novel about family secrets, falling apart, and coming together. Dublin 1996. Joan Egan lives an enviable life. She and her husband, Martin, and daughter, Carmel, are thriving in Dublin at the dawn of an economic boom. But everything changes when Joan receives a letter from Emma, the daughter who she and Martin gave up for adoption thirty years before An unforgettable debut novel about family secrets, falling apart, and coming together. Dublin 1996. Joan Egan lives an enviable life. She and her husband, Martin, and daughter, Carmel, are thriving in Dublin at the dawn of an economic boom. But everything changes when Joan receives a letter from Emma, the daughter who she and Martin gave up for adoption thirty years before, asking for a life-or-death favor. While Joan grapples with the guilt over giving up her baby long ago, she must confront her present as the cracks in her marriage become impossible to ignore and simmering tension with Carmel boils over. Meanwhile, Carmel and Emma must come to terms with the perceived sins of their mother, to imagine a future for their family before it is too late. Spanning the nineties and the sixties, with Dublin as its backdrop, The Making of Her is the tender and page-turning story of marriage, motherhood, a culture that would not allow a woman to find true happiness--and her journey to finally claim it.

30 review for The Making of Her

  1. 5 out of 5

    Suz

    What a true delight! Reminiscent of one of my all-time favourites, Maeve Binchy, this young Irish born Australian author I am sure will become well known. I listened to an impeccable audio version narrated by Aoife McMahon. What lovely Irish accents she performed seamlessly. Highly recommended in this version! This story alternated between the 1960’s and 1990’s. The poverty of the times made me feel I was a part of the scene as Joan goes to work in the factory to barely earn a living, while her What a true delight! Reminiscent of one of my all-time favourites, Maeve Binchy, this young Irish born Australian author I am sure will become well known. I listened to an impeccable audio version narrated by Aoife McMahon. What lovely Irish accents she performed seamlessly. Highly recommended in this version! This story alternated between the 1960’s and 1990’s. The poverty of the times made me feel I was a part of the scene as Joan goes to work in the factory to barely earn a living, while her father drinks it away. Their mother lost in childbirth, Joan ends up being the mother to her younger sister, and their father barely scrapes by with odd jobs to pay for his drinking, leading them further into poverty. Wet school shoes being stuffed with newspaper, and hunger being all too real. Joan falls for the rich boy in town, the first love for them both, the son of successful business owners running the family run hardware supply business. Martin is the young and dashing boy of the town, and they quickly fall in love. This is seeped in tragedy though, with their married life starting a lie which simmers a tension throughout. It is always great to have an insipid character that we can ball our fists at, and this comes perfectly in the package of mother-in-law Molly – oh my she was the worst! Everything this woman did and said was horrendous - Joan will never win. Joan’s personality unfortunately being worn down by this overbearing woman and her kowtowing son from the beginning. She had it in her to fight, but really, could not muster anything substantial over the years. Every scene was worthy of so much angst, so much emotion that I wanted to wring both their necks. They were deplorable. And thus my momentum was captured at every moment. Molly demanding to be waited upon by Joan (why would Martin want to live separate to Molly? Why indeed!), constant ridicule and fault finding and calling the shots for decades. Unfortunately, the family secret wore Joan down such that the relationship with their one daughter Carmel was fraught. Joan was unable to show her emotions and Carmel always sensed something was amiss; she couldn’t wait to move out. Her grandmother controlled her in a way, too, she was stifling and controlling. Every scene with Molly was awful. Carmel was stuck. Stuck working in the business and stuck in life. Relationships did not work and she was sick of being in the middle of forced birthday lunches and a wooden family life. This employment in the family business caused much problem for both mother and daughter, and kept father and husband, and mother in law in control. I was enthralled with this story from beginning to end, this family’s tragedy finally having some silver lining when truths finally emerge, and I was left feeling warmed to the heart with Carmel and her mother becoming close, and those causing grief receiving their comeuppance. With thanks to my public library for their ample choice and providing this via the Libby format. An absolute easy five star read which I recommended highly, and surely an author to keep an eye out for!

  2. 5 out of 5

    MicheleReader

    It is 1996 and Joan is living a seemingly happy life in Dublin. She's been married for thirty years to Martin Egan and they are the parents of daughter Carmel. When the couple married in 1969, Joan left her life of struggles behind as Martin was heir to Egan's Builders and Supplies, a successful family business. Joan's working-class life was filled with tragedy and hardship. When the story shifts to the 1960s, we learn that the unmarried couple had another daughter in London who they gave up for It is 1996 and Joan is living a seemingly happy life in Dublin. She's been married for thirty years to Martin Egan and they are the parents of daughter Carmel. When the couple married in 1969, Joan left her life of struggles behind as Martin was heir to Egan's Builders and Supplies, a successful family business. Joan's working-class life was filled with tragedy and hardship. When the story shifts to the 1960s, we learn that the unmarried couple had another daughter in London who they gave up for adoption fearing the scorn of their community. Joan and Martin stayed together and kept the first pregnancy a secret for all these years. Martin was able to move on. Joan was brokenhearted. When their first daughter Emma reaches out to Joan, old wounds open wide up. Could this offer Joan an opportunity for redemption? In her debut novel, Irish-born author Bernadette Jiwa has written a deeply moving book about motherhood. It also addresses the shame women faced if they found themselves "in trouble". And the story details the division in social classes showing how the people working in the factories and living in government housing were looked down upon. I teared up many times reading this beautiful and powerful book which will touch mothers, daughters and sisters. Many thanks to Dutton / Penguin Group for the opportunity to read The Making of Her in advance of its publication. Rated 4.5 stars. Review posted on MicheleReader.com.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Judy Collins

    A captivating and tragic story...beautifully told! A truly gorgeous debut. Get set to be HOOKED!" Bernadette Jiwa's THE MAKING OF HER is a poignant love story for mothers and daughters worldwide. I LOVED it so much—I did not want it to end. Saturday afternoons were invented to read "heart-tugging" novels like this. From Dublin 1965 to Dublin 1996, we meet Joan Eagan. Told from the POV of Joan and her daughter, Emma (April). Joan grew up on the poor side of town and worked in a factory. When sh A captivating and tragic story...beautifully told! A truly gorgeous debut. Get set to be HOOKED!" Bernadette Jiwa's THE MAKING OF HER is a poignant love story for mothers and daughters worldwide. I LOVED it so much—I did not want it to end. Saturday afternoons were invented to read "heart-tugging" novels like this. From Dublin 1965 to Dublin 1996, we meet Joan Eagan. Told from the POV of Joan and her daughter, Emma (April). Joan grew up on the poor side of town and worked in a factory. When she met Martin, she thought her dreams had come true. He was from a wealthy and prominent family-owned business. However, things did not work out as planned. There was an unplanned pregnancy which was taboo back in the day. The two escaped to London while she was pregnant and lived in a boarding house. However, Martin needed to return to Dublin, Ireland, due to the family business. His mother, Molly— was quite controlling (and mean) and handled the purse strings. She would kick him out if he had a baby out of wedlock. Martin planned on marrying Joan, but he stated they would have to give up the baby for adoption. No way around it. Joan was devastated. She had no money, a deadbeat drunk dad and sister she loved back in Dublin, but no means to take care of herself and her unborn child. She had few choices, and Martin made her feel he was doing her a favor by marrying her. Martin eventually wore her down, and they gave up the baby, but Joan never was the same. They moved back to Ireland into the house with Molly (her horrible mother-in-law), which always treated her like a second-class citizen their entire marriage. They had a lovely home, money, and status, but that mattered little to Joan. Joan was miserable. Martin promised that if the little girl they named April came to find them at age 18, he would accept her. Joan even purchased her a diamond pendant necklace, but she never contacted them at the time. Joan and Martin went on to have another daughter, Carmel. However, Joan became nostalgic about the birthdays she missed with her first daughter every year. She was saddened and heartbroken and could not talk about it with anyone. She could not believe Martin had washed his hands of their past. Their daughter. Due to this, she was never close to her daughter, Carmel. Carmel and Martin worked in the business together. That was all her husband cared about the family name, money, greed, and position. Joan felt like an outcast. Until she received a letter postmarked from England in Sept of 1996. Unfortunately, this scenario rings true for many couples in the 50s and 60s, when women were controlled by men and had little or no choices. When people worried about social status and what people thought. I picked up this book and could not put it down! It grabs you immediately and does not let go. A story that reveals heartbreak, tragedy, and loss...yet hope and love for second chances. One that will stay with you for a long time. An uplifting book for all women, no matter the age. An impressive debut, well written, and engaging! An author to watch. I cannot wait for her next book! For fans of author Kathryn Hughes. Thank you to #DuttonBooks and #NetGalley for an ARC to read, enjoy, and review. Blog Review Posted @ www.JudithDCollins.com @JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks Pub Date: Aug 9, 2022 My Rating: 5 Stars + ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Aug 2022 Must-Read Books Top Books of 2022

  4. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    I won this book as a giveaway ✨️ I must say I hit the jackpot.From the first page I was drawn into Joan and Martin's lives. I read the book in 2 days and didn't want it to end. I Loved how it spanned to era's going back and forth from the nineties and the sixties. Joan didn't have many options when she got pregnant and let her husband and mother in law control her but in the end she rises up and takes charge...I also loved the setting of the book in Ireland and London..its a must read book I won this book as a giveaway ✨️ I must say I hit the jackpot.From the first page I was drawn into Joan and Martin's lives. I read the book in 2 days and didn't want it to end. I Loved how it spanned to era's going back and forth from the nineties and the sixties. Joan didn't have many options when she got pregnant and let her husband and mother in law control her but in the end she rises up and takes charge...I also loved the setting of the book in Ireland and London..its a must read book

  5. 4 out of 5

    The Bookend Diner

    Thank you, Dutton Books, for the gifted copy of The Making of Her. {partner} Genre: Fiction Format: 📖 Pub Date: 8.9.2022 Star Rating: ☆☆☆.5 “Words alone change nothing. Promises were broken as easily as they were made.” This debut novel from Bernadette Jiwa focuses primarily on Joan Egan as she comes to terms with the decisions that she’s made and the path that her life has taken. I fell right into step with the Jiwa’s effortless writing style, and before I knew it, I’d read 120 pages of The Making Thank you, Dutton Books, for the gifted copy of The Making of Her. {partner} Genre: Fiction Format: 📖 Pub Date: 8.9.2022 Star Rating: ☆☆☆.5 “Words alone change nothing. Promises were broken as easily as they were made.” This debut novel from Bernadette Jiwa focuses primarily on Joan Egan as she comes to terms with the decisions that she’s made and the path that her life has taken. I fell right into step with the Jiwa’s effortless writing style, and before I knew it, I’d read 120 pages of The Making of Her. I was taken aback by the story and the authentic history that came from 1960s Ireland. I carried right along with the book until the last 40% of the book, when the storyline began to slow. It might have been that I felt it was a bit too predictable - I had a feeling as to the direction the book would go, and I think I just needed a little more. While I was happy to see that some amends could be made, I struggled with the wishy-washy feelings of one of the characters (not giving anything away). I understand that there had been past hurt and resentment, but it seemed cruel to continue to blame someone for a mistake that wasn’t entirely their fault. This lack of reconciliation left me wanting as I closed the book's last page. 💪🏼 Strength of mother/daughter relationships 🇮🇪 Set in Ireland ✨ Debut Novel 🗣 Character-driven ✌🏼 Dual Narrative & Dual Timeline Overall, I would say that The Making of Her is the perfect book for those of you who love historical fiction who aren’t necessarily looking for a historical fiction story to read but rather a book that focuses heavily on relationships. I’m looking forward to reading the next book that Bernadette Jiwa writes! _____ Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thebookend.... Follow my blog: https://thebookenddiner.com/ Follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/thebookendd... Follow me on StoryGraph: https://app.thestorygraph.com/profile...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    3.5 bc it’s a debut The first half was very well done and then it started to lose steam. The outcome of the story was a little too predictable as well as rushed. The characters were a little underdeveloped and one dimensional.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Craig / Phil

    Thank you Bernadette for sending us a copy to read and review. The Making Of Her is a fine example of an impressive, addictive and exciting debut and one of my favourite reads of the year. A story about the strength of a mother / daughter relationships and the effect and melodrama it creates around those involved in a society that is very opinionated. Dublin 1966, Joan Quinn meets Martin Egan and the magic of love casts its spell. But soon the perfect romance clouds when a baby arrives. The couple ma Thank you Bernadette for sending us a copy to read and review. The Making Of Her is a fine example of an impressive, addictive and exciting debut and one of my favourite reads of the year. A story about the strength of a mother / daughter relationships and the effect and melodrama it creates around those involved in a society that is very opinionated. Dublin 1966, Joan Quinn meets Martin Egan and the magic of love casts its spell. But soon the perfect romance clouds when a baby arrives. The couple makes the decision to give their daughter up for adoption but Joan never forgets. The incident never to be spoke of again. As the decades past, Joan marry’s and has her second daughter, Carmel. But their relationship is difficult and without motherly love. One day in 1996, a letter arrives from her firstborn asking for help. Joan’s world and secret is about to be revealed to the world and the consequences are dire. This historical fiction is very powerful, influential and remarkable, I was completely drawn into the lives of lead character Joan and her family dynamics. There’s much to discuss with some delicate and at times heavy issues. Bernadette invites you into her fictional world and writes with power, emotion, heartbreak, drama and humour. It’s well constructed, thought provoking, written with compassion, the plot performance is stunning and characters well crafted and developed. A definite read that will consume you all the way to the end. I put my hands together and applaud this wonderful introduction into the book world and am excited to see what we get next.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I was given this book from the publisher through NetGalley and I could not put it down. The story was so compelling. We follow Joan in the 1960s in Ireland when she was forced to give up her daughter for adoption and then in the 1990s when her daughter contacts her needing help. The issue is that no one knows about her adoptive daughter. This will turn their worlds completely upside down. Joan may need her second daughter's help which will complicate things further. She has a sister that she kno I was given this book from the publisher through NetGalley and I could not put it down. The story was so compelling. We follow Joan in the 1960s in Ireland when she was forced to give up her daughter for adoption and then in the 1990s when her daughter contacts her needing help. The issue is that no one knows about her adoptive daughter. This will turn their worlds completely upside down. Joan may need her second daughter's help which will complicate things further. She has a sister that she knows nothing about. This secret coming out will change her relationships with her husband and daughter. I cannot believe this is a debut novel. "What kind of woman would deny her instinct to love her child? The kind of woman who had no other choice." "Talking won't change anything. It's what we do that matters." "How can a man capable of denying his own flesh and blood change?"

  9. 5 out of 5

    Blodeuedd Finland

    I am sot of conflicted about this one. At the same time that it was interesting, it was also a bit boring and I could not connect to anyone. Joan grew up poor, married rich. But her husband was such an ahole, and his mum was so toxic. 30 years ago she gave up a child to avoid scandal, and then married him. Like hello man! Man up and marry her before the baby came. Alas no, he was an idiot and this was the 60s . I get it. It could have been much worse for her. Catholic institutions back then, yike I am sot of conflicted about this one. At the same time that it was interesting, it was also a bit boring and I could not connect to anyone. Joan grew up poor, married rich. But her husband was such an ahole, and his mum was so toxic. 30 years ago she gave up a child to avoid scandal, and then married him. Like hello man! Man up and marry her before the baby came. Alas no, he was an idiot and this was the 60s . I get it. It could have been much worse for her. Catholic institutions back then, yikes, she was lucky. And I guess I have to give him some credit for marrying her. The book takes place back then, and in now. The child that was given up comes back. But honestly, Emma was not that nice either. I mean if she had listened to her mum. I can't say I liked anyone in this book. I think it could have been more interesting if more about the 60s and less about a middle aged couple bickering

  10. 4 out of 5

    Blue

    Want to see more... Bookstagram Website Thank you Penguin Australia for this book in exchange for an honest review The Making of Her was a hidden gem. This well constructed novel shines a light on the difficult situations that woman can find themselves in when others decide what path she must take when it comes to her child and her body. Joan, our main character was left with no choice as her mother-in-law and husband controlled her, forcing her put her child up for adoption in the 60’s. Fast forw Want to see more... Bookstagram Website Thank you Penguin Australia for this book in exchange for an honest review The Making of Her was a hidden gem. This well constructed novel shines a light on the difficult situations that woman can find themselves in when others decide what path she must take when it comes to her child and her body. Joan, our main character was left with no choice as her mother-in-law and husband controlled her, forcing her put her child up for adoption in the 60’s. Fast forward to the 90’s, her long lost child reaches out. The back and forth between the two time periods was well delivered, with small detailed scenery around Joan vividly creating that time period and allowing you to visualise it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

    Joan had a hard life growing up. She was the oldest of 5 and when her mother dies in childbirth she has to take care of her sisters. Her father drinks most of his paycheck and finding it hard to support that many kids he puts the younger ones up for adoption leaving just Joan and her sister, Teresa. While working at the candy factory she becomes attracted to a delivery boy not realizing he is the heir to his family business. She decides to sleep with him in the hopes he will realize how much he Joan had a hard life growing up. She was the oldest of 5 and when her mother dies in childbirth she has to take care of her sisters. Her father drinks most of his paycheck and finding it hard to support that many kids he puts the younger ones up for adoption leaving just Joan and her sister, Teresa. While working at the candy factory she becomes attracted to a delivery boy not realizing he is the heir to his family business. She decides to sleep with him in the hopes he will realize how much he loves her but the result is a pregnancy. The storyline was a bit predictable but I enjoyed it anyway. I thought the characters were well developed but most of them weren't very likeable. It is told in two time lines, 1960s when Martin and Joan meet. Women at that time didn't really have a say in what happened to them. In this day and age it is hard to imagine what it must have been like for her having to give up her daughter when she had hoped Martin would marry her. He does stick by her but she is not allowed to make decisions and do what she wants. Unfortunately this becomes her life. Her mother-in-law is a tyrant and took every opportunity she had to belittle Joan because of her upbringing. I found Martin to be spineless, a mama's boy, selfish and only worried about how others perceive him. The second timeline is in the 1990's when after 30 years of putting up with Martin's and his mother's crap things come to a head when the daughter she gave up for adoption 30 years early comes asking for a favor. This book surprised me in how much I enjoyed it and I would like to thank Netgalley and Penguin House Dutton for providing me with a copy.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Theresa Smith

    The Making of Her ticked all the boxes for me. Set in Ireland; a character driven narrative; social and cultural norms of the place and time woven tightly into the story; and a good solid ending that doesn’t necessarily wrap everything up in a neat bow, yet still leaves you feeling satisfied. This is a love story between a mother and her daughters, heart-breaking and uplifting at the same time. I absolutely adored it. Highly recommended. Book 10 in my 22 in 2022 challenge.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Caren

    I found this very Irish story highly engaging – the setting, the narrative structure moving between the 1990s and back to the 1960s and, particularly, the stunning characterisation of Joan and Martin. In Ireland, their relationship is threatened by the difference in their classes: Joan, from a poor estate and employed as a factory girl; Martin, the son who has inherited his father’s lucrative business and whose mother denigrates Joan from the moment she comes into Martin’s life. Martin is vulner I found this very Irish story highly engaging – the setting, the narrative structure moving between the 1990s and back to the 1960s and, particularly, the stunning characterisation of Joan and Martin. In Ireland, their relationship is threatened by the difference in their classes: Joan, from a poor estate and employed as a factory girl; Martin, the son who has inherited his father’s lucrative business and whose mother denigrates Joan from the moment she comes into Martin’s life. Martin is vulnerable to his mother’s resentment and encourages Joan to join him in England, where they face Joan’s pregnancy and plan to marry. Martin forces a decision to relinquish their newborn, which Joan will regret for the rest of her life. For Martin, their life goes on as if the birth had never happened. The author skilfully portrays Joan’s guilt and the impact of their decision on their relationship, specifically on her inability to be the mother she wishes to be with their second daughter, who knows nothing about their firstborn. Surprisingly, I accepted the melodrama inherent in the unfolding of the story as 30 years later, their birthchild makes contact, asking for their help “in a matter of life and death.” The deterioration of Joan’s marriage is evident as the birth parents have significantly opposing views on getting involved. The title of the novel certainly reflects Joan’s growth as she becomes a stronger and more independent woman, finally realising that she can no longer tolerate Martin’s refusal to even discuss the impact of the adoption of their first daughter, whom he has never acknowledged. The reader then stands with Joan and with her 2nd daughter, Carmel, as they make room in their hearts to rebuild their own relationship and reach out to their newly discovered daughter and sister.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    This book takes place in both the 1960s and the 1990s in Ireland and you get a real window into how classist and rigid things were back int he 1960s and how much the Catholic faith ruled over people’s lives. Joan and Martin are a long-married couple in the 1990s, with one grown daughter, Carmel. But they’ve been carrying a secret and it has broken Joan. Back before they were married, Joan was a very poor working class girl and Martin’s family was much more prosperous, with their own thriving bus This book takes place in both the 1960s and the 1990s in Ireland and you get a real window into how classist and rigid things were back int he 1960s and how much the Catholic faith ruled over people’s lives. Joan and Martin are a long-married couple in the 1990s, with one grown daughter, Carmel. But they’ve been carrying a secret and it has broken Joan. Back before they were married, Joan was a very poor working class girl and Martin’s family was much more prosperous, with their own thriving business. Then Joan got pregnant. With Martin in England for business training, she moved there in the hope that they would get married and raise the child together in England. But Martin convinced Joan that they should return to Ireland and that it would be best if they gave up that daughter for adoption in England, fearing the reaction of their Dublin social set. Fast-forward to the mid-1990s and the daughter they gave away contacts them, setting off wide-ranging effects. I was really drawn into this family story, and while I guessed at some of the outcome, it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the drama at all. We gradually learn Joan’s backstory and why she has behaved the way she has. My heart went out to her faith in Martin’s love, when she was a teenager and naive. That’s the only excuse I could think of for her not having discussed their future plans with Martin in more concrete terms. I grew to despise Martin. Joan found herself living in Martin’s childhood home with his domineering and nasty mother. I’m sure I would have walked out many years before! This is a terrific debut novel. Highly recommended. Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton for the opportunity to read an advance readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    An awesome book about choices we make when we are younger that can affect us for the rest of our lives. It's about A mother and a daughter. Its about family and what that means. Most of all its about second chances. Joan falls for Martin instantly when she sees him trying to get his bike up the hill to deliver materials. It takes awhile but they eventually meet and fall in love. Martin is to inherit a business and his mother makes no secret that she doesn't approve of his sons choice. She even m An awesome book about choices we make when we are younger that can affect us for the rest of our lives. It's about A mother and a daughter. Its about family and what that means. Most of all its about second chances. Joan falls for Martin instantly when she sees him trying to get his bike up the hill to deliver materials. It takes awhile but they eventually meet and fall in love. Martin is to inherit a business and his mother makes no secret that she doesn't approve of his sons choice. She even makes them stop seeing each other. All that changes when Martin leaves for school and invites Joan to go with him. Joan decides to sleep with him one weekend and Martin swares he'll take care of her. Then she starts to show and Martin changes his mind. He all but insists that they give up the baby. Joan goes along with it because of lack of choice not because she agrees. A part of her dies that day. The story is told from Joan's point of view and switches between now and the 60's when Joan was growing up. I loved to see the difference between how she is now and what made her that way. It really gives the reader a connection with the character. I felt for her so much. The novel is a good look into how women were treated in the 60's and how limited their choices were.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Hooker

    Thank you @prhaudio and Dutton Books for the complimentary ALC and electronic ARC. Stories of motherhood just hit right for me. With three boys four and under I’m really in the thick of it. I love to read about people and experiences different from my own, but there’s something about a story that mirrors my current life situation that resonates with me too. THE MAKING OF HER follows Joan in 1960s Dublin when she makes the heartbreaking choice to give up her daughter Emma for adoption because of so Thank you @prhaudio and Dutton Books for the complimentary ALC and electronic ARC. Stories of motherhood just hit right for me. With three boys four and under I’m really in the thick of it. I love to read about people and experiences different from my own, but there’s something about a story that mirrors my current life situation that resonates with me too. THE MAKING OF HER follows Joan in 1960s Dublin when she makes the heartbreaking choice to give up her daughter Emma for adoption because of societal pressures. Years later, Joan is married and gives birth to a second daughter Caramel, who Joan and her husband raise. Tensions run high when Emma reconnects with Joan decades later. This character-driven story highlights themes of motherhood, marriage, and forgiveness. The nuances of adoption were also brought to light in a thoughtful way. I read this book in my favorite way, a combination of audio and print. The audiobook was narrated by Aoife McMahon and her Irish accent made for great listening. Despite the dual timelines I found the story easy to follow on audio. Bernadette Jiwa has an extensive nonfiction backlist, but THE MAKING OF HER is her debut novel. I enjoyed the writing and themes she explored and look forward to picking up future books. RATING: 4/5 PUB DATE: August 9, 2022

  17. 5 out of 5

    Penny (Literary Hoarders)

    The Making of Her had me at "for fans of Maeve Binchy". Jiwa said those were big shoes to fill, but I think she filled them quite nicely. A lovely Binchy-esque Irish story and the title "making of her" was perfect. This is a story of a mother having to give up, with great reluctance, her first born daughter. The impact this has on her life and her relationship with her second daughter, the one she is allowed to claim is significant. When her first-born daughter is facing a crisis and reaches out The Making of Her had me at "for fans of Maeve Binchy". Jiwa said those were big shoes to fill, but I think she filled them quite nicely. A lovely Binchy-esque Irish story and the title "making of her" was perfect. This is a story of a mother having to give up, with great reluctance, her first born daughter. The impact this has on her life and her relationship with her second daughter, the one she is allowed to claim is significant. When her first-born daughter is facing a crisis and reaches out to her birth mother, does Joan fully realize she needs to claim agency, for herself, and for her two daughters. Thank you to Penguin Random House, Dutton Books and Netgalley for the opportunity to read The Making of Her. It's out now for your reading enjoyment as well!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mitzi

    The Making of Her by Bernadette Jiwa is about mother-daughter relationships, family dynamics, and resentment over empty promises. When circumstances bring buried secrets to light, true character is revealed. Do we really know those closest to us? This book surprised me - in a good way! I couldn’t put it down. Don’t miss this well-written, remarkable debut. It would be a wonderful book club pick. I can’t wait to discuss it, and I’m recommending it to everyone! I voluntarily reviewed a complimentar The Making of Her by Bernadette Jiwa is about mother-daughter relationships, family dynamics, and resentment over empty promises. When circumstances bring buried secrets to light, true character is revealed. Do we really know those closest to us? This book surprised me - in a good way! I couldn’t put it down. Don’t miss this well-written, remarkable debut. It would be a wonderful book club pick. I can’t wait to discuss it, and I’m recommending it to everyone! I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dianah Hoving Stedman

    This one had so much potential. It grabbed my attention right away and I devoured it. But it ended abruptly! To the point I was surprised when it was done, I even went back a page on my Kindle thinking wait what?! Stop reading here for my spoiler questions about the book. What happened between her and Martin? Did he really let her go? Did Martin/Molly ever meet Emma/Ben? Did Ben survive? Whatever happened to her sisters?

  20. 5 out of 5

    Janine

    Review to come

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dive Into A Good Book

    Have you ever had to make an impossible decision? A decision that will haunt you for the rest of your life. Joan Egan made such a decision thirty years ago when she gave up her baby daughter. She is haunted daily by this choice and regrets it to this day. It is an open wound that has never healed and keeps opening as more and more cracks in her marriage become apparent. The Making of Her is an emotional tale that will leave you with tears streaking down your face and have you wondering what you Have you ever had to make an impossible decision? A decision that will haunt you for the rest of your life. Joan Egan made such a decision thirty years ago when she gave up her baby daughter. She is haunted daily by this choice and regrets it to this day. It is an open wound that has never healed and keeps opening as more and more cracks in her marriage become apparent. The Making of Her is an emotional tale that will leave you with tears streaking down your face and have you wondering what you would do if you were ever put in this unimaginable situation. Bernadette Jiwa has created perfection in the characters that she has created. Joan is a lost soul that you can relate to. She grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. Lost her mother early and had to help raise her siblings. She falls head over heels in love with Martin, who comes from a wealthy family and a mother who can only love him. No one would ever be good enough for her Martin and she makes Joan feel this to her very core. This is how a new relationship begins to crumble even before they walk down the aisle and thirty years later Joan is still paying the price. This book will pull on every single one of your heart strings. The way family dynamics come into play creates such a rich story. Thank you to Bernadette Jiwa and Penguin Random House for gifting me this phenomenal novel!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Thirty years ago, Joan was working in a candy factory, keeping house for her alcoholic father and younger sister, when she fell for Martin, a delivery boy. But it turned out Martin was delivery boy for his family’s successful business. His mother was not supportive of his relationship with Joan and shipped him off to London. What she and nobody else knew was that Joan was pregnant by Martin. Thirty years later, Joan and Martin are married with a daughter, Carmel, and still living in Martin’s fami Thirty years ago, Joan was working in a candy factory, keeping house for her alcoholic father and younger sister, when she fell for Martin, a delivery boy. But it turned out Martin was delivery boy for his family’s successful business. His mother was not supportive of his relationship with Joan and shipped him off to London. What she and nobody else knew was that Joan was pregnant by Martin. Thirty years later, Joan and Martin are married with a daughter, Carmel, and still living in Martin’s family home where his mother rules the roost. But when the baby they gave up for adoption 30 years ago contacts them, the fissures in their marriage begin to widen. Joan wants to see their first child and tell Carmel she has a sister. All these years later, Martin is still worried about a perceived scandal and ruin caused by the revelation he had premarital sex thirty years ago. Gasp! This book really is a page turner. The reader grows to care about Joan, Carmel, and Emma, even as Martin transforms from a handsome savior to middle-aged oppressor. But it brings to life the ridiculous social mores and actual laws of the 1960s—really not that long ago. #TheMakingofHer #NetGalley

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    The Making of Her by Bernadette Jiwa is an emotional and riveting historical fiction that takes place in Ireland the latter 20th century. This is a poignant and fundamental look at family, society, love, loss, sacrifices, and expectations (perceived and real) that affected many within Ireland during the latter decades of the 20th century. Told within different timeframes and points of view, we see the life of Joan, Carmel, Martin, and Emma…we see how society, religion, family, and our own selves c The Making of Her by Bernadette Jiwa is an emotional and riveting historical fiction that takes place in Ireland the latter 20th century. This is a poignant and fundamental look at family, society, love, loss, sacrifices, and expectations (perceived and real) that affected many within Ireland during the latter decades of the 20th century. Told within different timeframes and points of view, we see the life of Joan, Carmel, Martin, and Emma…we see how society, religion, family, and our own selves can create barriers, corners, ultimatums, consequences, pain, and also second chances. 4/5 stars Thank you NG and Dutton for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 8/9/22.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    Thank you Penguin Random House for the advanced copy of this book. The Making of Her by Bernadette Jiwa is set in Dublin in the 1960s and 1990s voiced from three perspectives. Joan gave up her first born daughter in the 1960s and really never recovered from the loss. The title of this story is so fitting, throughout the story we learn why Joan turned out the way she did and why her relationships are the way they are. It wasn't always an easy read as Joan had a rough childhood and was then treate Thank you Penguin Random House for the advanced copy of this book. The Making of Her by Bernadette Jiwa is set in Dublin in the 1960s and 1990s voiced from three perspectives. Joan gave up her first born daughter in the 1960s and really never recovered from the loss. The title of this story is so fitting, throughout the story we learn why Joan turned out the way she did and why her relationships are the way they are. It wasn't always an easy read as Joan had a rough childhood and was then treated poorly by her husband and mother in-law. Also, it was a bit predictable but I was happy with the ending even though I guessed it. This book is all about choices and lack of choices for women long ago, about love and loss, and recovery and resiliency. Great read!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nicola

    A very emotional story revolving around mother and daughter relationships. The Making of Her was a ok read for me. Not overly sure why I didn’t enjoy it more. I did feel that the story seemed to drag a bit. Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read this book for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Howard

    Wonderful story. I enjoyed the seamless moves through time. The pain of the mother giving up her child. The big differences of her desires, and what HAS to be done. All put together in a touching, tear jerking and potent story. The lovely details of scenery buttoned up the story into a lovely package. This is an incredible work of art.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nicoletta

    The premises of the book were very good, it seems to me it was going to be a good story but at the end I didn't like it. The characters are not very nuanced, they don't have much depth or development. May be I was expecting more and the story ended up be very predictable. Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton for the opportunity to read an advance readers copy of this book. The premises of the book were very good, it seems to me it was going to be a good story but at the end I didn't like it. The characters are not very nuanced, they don't have much depth or development. May be I was expecting more and the story ended up be very predictable. Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton for the opportunity to read an advance readers copy of this book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kailey (kmc_reads)

    3.5 rounded up

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jazzie077

    The Making of Her by Beradette Jiwa. Pub Date: August 9, 2022. Rating: 3.5 stars. This debut was a character driven novel set in Ireland that centers around family, mothers and daughters, secrets, adoption, and society/social norms in the 1960s. When the daughter who as given up for adoption reaches out to the mother who remained heartbroken at the choice to give her up for adoption, the past slowly creeps to the forefront. This was a beautiful debut, lyrical writing and a moving story all aroun The Making of Her by Beradette Jiwa. Pub Date: August 9, 2022. Rating: 3.5 stars. This debut was a character driven novel set in Ireland that centers around family, mothers and daughters, secrets, adoption, and society/social norms in the 1960s. When the daughter who as given up for adoption reaches out to the mother who remained heartbroken at the choice to give her up for adoption, the past slowly creeps to the forefront. This was a beautiful debut, lyrical writing and a moving story all around. Thanks to #netgalley and #Dutton for this e-arc in exchange for my honest review. #themakingofher

  30. 5 out of 5

    Intriga WH

    Joan and Martin have enjoyed prosperous life and raising their daughter together. Their well crafted life comes to a halt by one phone call. A daughter they gave up for adoption years before needs help. A magnificently written story about strength, families and motherhood. What drives a family a part and the strength and resilience that keeps them together. This story gives a rollercoaster of emotions and it’s a beautiful story. Disclaimer: Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton for this review copy, Joan and Martin have enjoyed prosperous life and raising their daughter together. Their well crafted life comes to a halt by one phone call. A daughter they gave up for adoption years before needs help. A magnificently written story about strength, families and motherhood. What drives a family a part and the strength and resilience that keeps them together. This story gives a rollercoaster of emotions and it’s a beautiful story. Disclaimer: Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton for this review copy, I received this review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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