“Provides a topographical map through the complex landscape of the mother-daughter relationship … with characters both noble and deeply flawed. … Deeply moving and wise.” —Betsy Graziani Fasbinder, therapist and author of Filling Her Shoes and Fire and Water

“Davis has a unique ability to capture the details of everyday life in vivid color, as she allows the reader to shadow her on this intimate, challenging, and often humorous family journey. It’s a fabulous read.” —Talin Vartanian, producer at The Sunday Edition and creator of Canada Reads, CBC Radio

“As in the best memoirs, I learned, I grew, I questioned, I contemplated, I changed. … Vividly, honestly, and vulnerably written. I couldn’t put it down. A tour de force!”—Gretchen Cherington, author of Poetic License: A Memoir


This riveting memoir by Laura Davis examines the endurance of mother-daughter love, how memory protects and betrays us, and the determination it takes to fulfill a promise when ghosts from the past come knocking.

When she published The Courage to Heal in 1988, Davis helped more than a million women work through the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. But her decision to go public with her grandfather’s incest deepened an already painful estrangement with her mother, Temme.

Over the next twenty years, from a safe distance of 3,000 miles, Laura and Temme reconciled their volatile relationship and believed that their difficult past was behind them. But when Temme moves across the country to entrust her daughter with the rest of her life, she brings a faltering mind, a fierce need for independence, and the seeds of a second war between them.

As the stresses of caregiving rekindle Laura’s rage over past betrayals, they threaten her intention to finally love her mother “without reservation.” Will she learn what it means to be truly openhearted before it’s too late?

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