Today we have with us historical romance author Ashley March promoting her newest release Romancing the Countess. Take it away Ashley!
The Mother-Daughter Relationship: It’s Complicated
Thanks so much to The Book Pushers for having me on the blog today as I continue to celebrate my latest release, ROMANCING THE COUNTESS!
In romance novels there are usually other important relationships outside of the developing romantic relationship between the hero and the heroine. In ROMANCING THE COUNTESS, one of the relationships that I included in the book was the heroine’s relationship with her mother.
Leah George (the heroine) and Adelaide Hartwell (her mother) once played their roles very well. Adelaide would tell Leah what to do, and Leah would do it. She might not have liked it very much, but she did it because it was expected of her and she was a people-pleaser, and also because she wanted to keep the peace. On a micro-level, the relationship Leah has with her mother is the same sort of relationship she has had with Society at large. Society had expectations for how a proper young lady should behave, and Leah jumped to meet those expectations. Being the dutiful person she’s always been, when Leah marries she continues this role of propriety.
The change in this story occurs, however, when Leah’s husband dies. Suddenly Leah does not need to bow down to anyone else’s expectations but her own. She’s a widow now and has no need of either a guardian or a husband. Although her mother and Society still have expectations for her, Leah finally realizes that she’s free to do as she wishes. Leah’s mother does not want Leah to change. She wants her to continue being the same she’s always been, even after she becomes a widow.
When I wrote this story, I became aware that I was painting Leah’s mother as a villainous sort of character. And in some ways, she is: she criticizes her daughter endlessly, doesn’t believe that anything she does is right, and constantly tries to control her life.
Thank goodness I didn’t have a mother who was anything like this, but I have known a few people who did. And as with these other mothers, I never thought of Adelaide Hartwell as an evil person. Someone who was misguided and trying to live vicariously through her daughter, yes, but not malicious for the sake of being malicious. Fortunately, as the story continues, Leah learns not to bend to her mother even though the habit of doing so is there. Following someone else’s decisions can be safe, and one way Leah pursues her own happiness is by making her own decisions, even if those decisions do not always have what we would consider good consequences.
In the end, we see that even though Leah has changed, her mother hasn’t. She’s still controlling and very determined to have her own way. Yet one of the reasons why I really love Leah as a heroine in this story is not only because of how she changes herself and overcomes her own demons, but also how she learns to accept her mother so that she remains an important part of Leah’s life.
Family dynamics, including the relationships between mothers and daughters, can be very complicated. And I enjoy knowing that even when they don’t get along, the families in the romance novels I read and write can still love one another—even if it’s not the easiest thing to do. There’s hope in that, I think.
If you could give one piece of advice to Leah or any other person who has a difficult mother/family member, what would it be? When my brother turned sixteen my stepdad took a balloon bouquet made of condoms into his workplace. Has your family ever done anything extremely embarrassing to you?
One random commenter will be chosen to win a copy of my newest book, ROMANCING THE COUNTESS! Open internationally and ends October 28th. Also, find out how to win the ROMANCING THE COUNTESS Book Tour Grand Prize of 50+ romance novels by visiting www.ashleymarch.com!
34 thoughts on “Guest Post & Giveaway with Ashley March”
i know how it feels if you are embarrassed by your parents. i have live with it all my life. the thing i hate the most is that when i am compared to others and that they tell me im this and that, in front of many persons 🙁
Since I have a very controlling mother-in-law, my advice is to move as far away as possible, and only answer the phone when you feel lilke you can deal with her. In 2002 my family moved from the west coast to the east coast and it has been wonderful not having to deal with people unless I choose to. I didn’t realize how controlling she was until I didn’t have her around all the time.
She has embarrassed me by saying things in public that you shouldn’t, and also by giving unsolicated advice on how to keep her son happy. That was totally embarrassing and completely awkard. There is some knowledge I think I parents should not pass on. I do have to say, she did do my future daughters-in-law a favor, because there are things that I will not do or say because I didn’t like them being done to me.
I would tell Leah to be true to herself and distance herself from the negativity that her mother brings to her life.
My parents had me when they were older so there has always been a huge generational gap between us. It can be hard at times to deal with rigid rules and ideas.
Luckily, I had a wonderful relationship with my mother. However, with my dad, not so much. The one thing I’ve come to realize is that it isn’t my fault that he is the way he is. He’s going to act like he does regardless of me and I can’t change that. So, I guess my advice would be to not expect more from the relationship than the other person is capable of giving.
I love my parents but they were embarrasing all the time! There was no need to go out of their way to do so!!!! I’m not good at advice but I would say to cherish and love your family even if they are a pain because time is short and sometimes we don’t get the next chance to say I love you!
Hi Jel! That does not sound like fun. =( I have to admit that I REALLY started getting along with my parents after I moved away from them. Thank goodness we can do that. 😉
Hi Ora! My MIL used to be very controlling as well, but I think she’s mellowed a lot in the past 8 years my husband and I have been married. My mom had a horrible relationship with her mother, and I got the benefit of it–my mom always remembered how her mother was, and made sure to be the exact opposite with me. I can’t say it made everything rosy all the time, but I never doubted she loved me. And I think moving away from family is sometimes necessary for our sanity. 😉
I have a very supportive and loving family. I also know people love differently but at the end of the day it is still love. They want the best for you and their advice is often borne from their own experience. I would tell Leah to listen to what her mother has to say, but it is her choice to make. People learn from mistakes and sometimes her mother needs to let go and Leah needs to experience. Whatever happens, her mother should let Leah know that she will be there to support her. Love after all, should not come with conditions.
Hi Crystal! Thanks for the great comment! I also think that there’s something to be said for standing up for yourself because once a controlling mother sees that she can’t control her children anymore, there’s an opportunity for her to look inside herself–possibly she hasn’t ever done since becoming a mother.
Hi Jen! This is a wonderful comment. I have to admit that I’m the same way with my stepdad, and what you say makes a lot of sense to me. The other thing I’ve realized is that just because we love somebody doesn’t mean that they need to be a constant presence in our lives.
LOL Johanna. Yes, sometimes it seemed my parents were that way, too. =) Great advice–there are a lot of things I regret doing in the past, but showing/telling my family I loved them has never been one of them.
Hi Na! I agree with you wholeheartedly. One of the best things my family ever did for me was to show me how much they supported me no matter what I did. I’ve had friends and even my husband where this hasn’t always been true for their families, and I know it makes a huge difference in their confidence and the way they lead their lives. Thanks for the thoughtful comment! =)
I guess the best thing to do even if your parents embarrassed you is to remember that they love you. At least that’s how I kept my sanity when I was a teenager! I am sure that my daughter will feel the same way about me when she’s a teenager..
As usual, just a wonderful post.
I hadn’t thought Adelaide Hartwell so much evil as a consummate manipulator. She had a certain picture of herself and her family that she needed to control and present to the society, and she didn’t care really for anything BUT that. Feelings never entered into the equation.
As for the advice…Boy, that’s a hard one! I think I might need advice in how to handle my own ‘princess’, and I’m sure my mother on occasion thought the same 😉
I do have a Cousin and I tell her all the time that she needs to stop ‘hovering’ around her daughters and now grandchildren. They know she loves them, but if your granddaughter is calling you ‘mom’ and not her own mother, then something’s broken and it needs to be fixed…
I know it’s hard to let them go, but we need to make them strong, and then let them fly, and if they fall, we’ll be there…
My mother had a couple of sisters who could be very critical, so she was always trying to figure out how to do things so that they wouldn’t make comments. I eventually realized that if they were in ‘a mood’ they would always find something to remark on, so we might as well do what we thought was right or just what we wanted. Then if they made a remark, try to have the attitude that they were the ones with the problem and we should just feel sorry for them.
Hi Ashley, I’ve been blessed with a wonderfully supportive mother, but not all my friends were. It’s always sad to see the power negative comments can have on a person. My advice would be to remember that you are responsible for your own choices–as is the family member causing you difficulty. Forgive them and move on.
Don’t enter me in the contest. Thanks for another great post!
Hi May! Thanks for visiting with me today! =) This is good advice–although I have to think that the reason parents continue embarrassing their children every generation is that they finally get to be the ones in that position! 😉
Hi Melanie! I actually said “Whoa” out loud when I read about your cousin’s granddaughters calling her “Mom”. Yeah, I agree a little distance would be nice. This is the kind of situation where I think it would be best for families to live a little distance from each other. =) And you’re perfectly right about Adelaide. I’m glad you were able to know her so well. =) Now that I’ve become a mother, I can definitely understand how easy it would be to hover and control. I think overprotectiveness can become a habit very quickly, and just grow to extremes. That’s why I hope that if I’m ever like that with my children, I’ll have someone to tell me to back off, too. =)
Hi Diane! It’s so difficult to be around people like that. I feel for you and your mom. But I agree with you–we are the ones in control of our attitudes, not them. I need to remember this when my children are screaming their heads off, too. 😉
Hi LSUReader! “Forgive them and move on.” What a wonderful statement. How many times do we hear the statement: I can forgive, but I’ll never forget? I like yours a lot better. =)
Thanks for a great post! I’ve heard really awesome things about this book and I can’t wait to read it 🙂 I got it for my Kindle and I’m waiting on a day off to start!
As for the ‘rents… siiiiigh. It was easy to blame them as children but as an adult I see the other side. They do the best they can as they see it and you can either take it in that spirit or hold onto the resentment. It was cats and dogs for all of my childhood and into my twenties until I realized that I couldn’t change them or me, just accept or walk away. I learned to accept their criticisms and not be hurt and to take it in the context that they love and worry. To give them credit, they too learned to accept who I am and to agree to disagree and not allow it to ruin our relationship. As for the rest of the family, my mom’s side has always been uber critical and negative. Now that I’m an adult, I speak up in defense of my mom and I figure they are going to be negative no matter what, but this way, my mom knows I’m on her side 🙂
Thanks for the great post and giveaway! Have a wonderful weekend 🙂
I think the only thing I can say is they have to sleep sometime. I don’t embarrass easily, so nothing my family does fazes me. I tend to just laugh & appreciate the humor.
I have a sister who’s very insensitive and says mean things without thought or care. One time I was so excited that I had lost 30 lbs, and when I told her and my older sister, she said, “Oh, where?” I’m pretty sure a such a significant loss showed, and I was happy until she made her comment. That’s the type of thing she does without thinking, but I’ve learned
to just consider the source and ignore her when those things happen.
I’m looking forward to reading Romancing the Countess, it sounds like such a fantastic book.
Barbed1951 at aol dot com
I don’t know your books, but i would like to discover them
thank you for the opportunity ( international)
O_O That is just so embarrassing, I would have died. I am lucky to never have been embarrassed like that.
As for advice, i can’t say I have any. You just gotta love with it
First – awesome book cover. Love it.
2nd – the stepdad did that? Wow. The idea itself is hilarious, but sending it to his workplace? Bad.
3rd – Advice: Not sure if I can give any. But you should always try to be strong and find people that actually like you and give good advice & don’t criticize everything you’re doing. In the end it’s just bad for your own self esteem. You have to be confident in yourself, no matter what.
Advice: move away. I live on a different continent than my mother and we now get along very well. 🙂
Thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com
I would love to read this book! It sounds awesome..
Well I can’t say that my family has ever done anything that extreme as a condom bouquet, but when dealing with a difficult mother my advice would be to have lots of patience and whenever possible go get lost in a great book:) Works for me every time. In fact I think my mom is responsible for my reading addiction! Oh well there are worse things to be addicted to:) Thanks for the great giveaway & HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!
Mine would be when I first started having my period, my mother sent my dad to the store for supplies and he brings back the HOSPITAL maxi pads. You know the ones that you actually wore a belt with? Totally embarrassing and I truly thought my mom was going to kill him.
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my mother until I got married 7 years ago. I’m not sure advice to give except that when I moved out at 19, I never lived under my mother’s house again and for reason, that actually helped.
Thanks for the contest.
The mother daughter relationship is a tough one speaking as the mother of a daughter and a daughter. I found the hardest part was the teenage years. My advice to people with difficult family members is that you have to determine what’s right for you but when unwanted advice is given just nod and smile.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com
My advice would be: laugh! There’s nothing you can do about it so you may as well enjoy! 🙂
hankts AT internode DOT on DOT net
Laughter is definitely something that will keep you from screaming at them. If you’ll just remember that the really do love you and want the best for you. They won’t be around forever and you’ll actually miss the embarrassing things they use to say and do.