Guest Post By Lori Nelson Spielman

Books With Wine and Chocolate would like to give a big welcome to author Lori Nelson Spielman on the publication of her debut novel, The Life List. Loria is going to tell us a bit about her book and also about the uniqueness of the mother and daughter relationship,so over to you Lori.

From my window, I watch a goose leading her goslings down the river, squawking and thrusting at anything that might threaten her gaggle. What causes a goose to act with such guardianship? And why do the goslings follow? Whether we call it love or simply an innate protective instinct, there’s something universal about a mother’s defence and safekeeping of her offspring. And likewise, a biological bond of trust seems to be present in the baby.

As a child, I had separation anxiety. I didn’t have a label for it then. I only knew that my chest felt hollow whenever I was away from my mother for any length of time. I feigned sickness during sleepovers. I was bereft the entire week I spent at my grandmother’s house. When my mother travelled, I loaded the car with rosaries and holy cards to keep her safe. The last episode I remember was in fifth grade, when at the last minute, I backed out of a Girl Scout trip because I didn’t want to be away from her.

Other mothers didn’t smell like her. They didn’t cook like her or keep their home like she did. And most of all, they didn’t make me feel the way she did. She didn’t have to do or say anything. It was more a feeling of stability she created, an atmosphere of constancy and protection that made me know I was loved. More than anyone on earth, I trusted my mother.

A central theme in The Life List is the mother-daughter relationship. In the novel, 34-year-old Brett Bohlinger is forced by her mother to complete the life list Brett had written as a teen. After having witnessed the slow erosion of her daughter’s spirit, the settling and compromising of her relationships and values, Brett’s mother used her death as a last ditch effort to change the trajectory of her daughter’s life.

As Brett reluctantly embarks on the journey through her adolescent dreams, she discovers the self she’d lost along the way—the same fearless, kind-hearted girl her mother once knew.
Each time Brett accomplishes one of her old dreams, she moves closer to true happiness. Every achievement is punctuated with a letter of encouragement, support, and at times, tough love, from her beloved, deceased mother, Elizabeth. 

Elizabeth’s motherly message was crystal clear and universal—she wanted to protect her daughter. But unlike the goose, squawking at predators, Elizabeth wasn’t shielding her daughter from a physical threat. Instead, she was protecting her child from her own choices. She wanted what every mother wants for her daughter: happiness. And just as I struggled to do as a child, Brett learned to trust her mother, even when she was no longer present. Protection and trust: two essential elements of a healthy mother-child relationship, regardless of the species. 

Thank you Lori. Having a daughter myself I know how special the relationship is and how we just want them to be happy. I'm looking forward to reading and reviewing The Life List in the coming weeks.

Lori Nelson Spielman, a former speech pathologist and guidance counselor, currently works as a homebound teacher for inner-city students. She enjoys sailing, running, and reading, though writing is her passion. She lives in Michigan with her husband and a very spoiled cat.
You can find Lori on twitter at  @lnelsonspielman


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