THE TROUBLE WITH MOTHER
“Mothers aren’t supposed to have a past,
yet alone one like Eileen’s.”
The Trouble With Mother is a novel full of clashes: clashes of identity, conscience and worlds,
as Eileen, a fairy godmother bent on reining in magical power abuses in the Fairy Kingdom
ruled by her cousin, the Queen, defies convention, falls in love with a human, marries him and defects
to earth. Later her cousin and old world come after her and the child Eileen should never have had
…hybrids are considered dangerous, as Kingdom history confirms.
The novel spans decades as Eileen’s child, Jennifer, matures and marries. When Eileen is forced to
reveal what she is, Jennifer must decide what world she wants and is there a place in it for her
troublesome mother? Whilst the novel is told from Eileen’s viewpoint, the Kingdom’s Chief Witch
rebels against the Queen, making the Queen’s attitude towards Eileen reasonable.
The Queen wants to know when push comes to shove which way will Eileen jump?
The wrong answer could prove fatal…
What do you do when you’ve continually risked your life supporting your family despite misgivings about their misuses of magic only to fall for someone from a species your world despises? You marry him and take the consequences, including those from producing a hybrid, and wait for your past to catch you. For all the dragons and ogres Eileen Paige, a brilliant fairy godmother, fought, she never anticipated her daughter would make her face that past again or that her cousin, the Fairy Queen, would trigger this to regain control over Eileen. Jennifer is forced to question what to do when her usually sensible parent says she’s a fairy godmother and has physical proof. This is a story about identity, losing control over your life, and the struggle to put family first regardless of external pressures.
The Trouble With Mother shows the struggle Eileen has before marriage, humans were imported to the Kingdom before with disastrous consequences, and the fall out from the Queen, who thinks Eileen’s behaviour betrayal, as she acceded to the throne through her mother’s assassination and needs all the support she can get, especially against her Council who pressurize her to wed. Chief Wizard Brankaresh feels the Queen should marry him. She decides to let her cousin marry but plans to reclaim Eileen. The human will die long before Eileen. The Queen feels she can wait but bans Eileen from reproducing with this human. When Eileen has daughter, Jennifer, the Queen, after initial anger (and worry about a hybrid’s capabilities) decides to claim the girl as she is partly magical. The Kingdom needs all the good magical beings it can get. Eileen’s determined not to sacrifice her marriage or family and gets Jennifer through childhood, college and married off without magic breaking out. The Queen is set on bringing both to their proper world and is prepared to trigger Jennifer’s inherent magical talent when it suits her.
The Trouble With Mother shows the effects on Jennifer when the Queen makes Eileen reveal her past setting up a mother-daughter clash as well as continuing the Eileen-Queen one. Once magic does show itself, there is no going back, as Eileen knows.
Matters worsen when the Witch, related to Queen and Eileen, decides to usurp the Kingdom, forcing Eileen to decide if she can dump her old world despite growing antipathy to her cousin, exacerbated when the Queen insists Eileen makes Jennifer move to Brenebourne, the Kingdom’s link to earth, to care for its talking wildlife and get ready to fend off strange beasts who might wander through. Eileen can guess how Jennifer will react to this, confirmed when Jennifer makes it clear what she thinks of her mother’s tale. Used to prevailing over evil beings, this is a bitter pill for Eileen.
As for Jennifer, her mother’s tale makes her suspect Eileen’s showing the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s and hopes this is temporary. Jennifer sees there are two alternatives: Eileen is manipulating her, something Jennifer won’t stand, or Eileen’s telling the truth. When Jennifer moves to Brenebourne, because she and husband, Paul, need a bigger place, and finds Fairy Kingdom sprites, Whespy and Stanrock, in her garden, Jennifer must decide what to do. Her mother’s honesty was the last thing Jennifer wanted, needed or expected. The Queen happily jerks strings of mother and daughter to secure the Kingdom’s future.
Ironically it was the Queen who sent Eileen to earth to meet the Kingdom’s divine commission to watch worlds, the idea being to keep Eileen so busy tackling threats to the realm she can’t cause trouble only for Eileen to fall in love. Chief Wizard, Brankaresh, hopes this means exile or death for Eileen. He is after the Queen but whether it’s for love or power is anyone’s guess. When the Queen decides she’ll use the situation to make Eileen do what she wants (she owes the Queen for letting her go to earth), a stunned Brankaresh realizes he may have to kill Eileen and make the Queen marry him. An alliance with the Witch to foment trouble is intended to achieve this.
Eileen returning to tackle the Witch aggravates Brankaresh though Eileen only returns when Jennifer rejects her. Eileen dare not use magic against Jennifer as the girl’s powers, suppressed by Eileen, emerge thanks to another fairy, Rose, going to earth, dying there and passing on her powers as a gift. Eileen feels everyone is out to get her. Rose was sent to earth with rebellious sprites continuing the Queen’s policy of removing meddlers. While Eileen wants to tell the Queen where to go, when the Witch’s riots erupt, can Eileen condemn her old world to save her new life? If not what are the consequences? Jennifer feels betrayed by Eileen. When Jennifer’s powers emerge she’s left wondering what she is.
All Jennifer really knows is that mothers aren’t meant to have a past, yet alone one like Eileen’s.
And Jennifer really wishes Eileen didn't have her past.