The most touching parent/adult-child relationship books leading to success and redemption

Who am I?

Women’s fiction is about relationships and issues that women deal with daily. I wish I could write thrillers or fantasy—those are so much fun to read, but I’m most fascinated by people and the life-changing choices they make. Being the daughter of immigrants has made me obsessed with two things, one is identity and the second is success. My books touch on the discovery of self and how that leads to success. And if we're honest, our relationships with our parents have a massive effect on who we become and our beliefs. I’ve explored parent/child relationships in all my novels, but most intimately in Let Us Begin which is based on my father’s life.

I wrote...

Let Us Begin

By Julia Amante,

Book cover of Let Us Begin

What is my book about?

Salvador has idealistic dreams of success when he immigrates to America from Argentina in the late 1960s. But the American Dream does not come without struggle and sacrifice. In his quest to succeed, Salvador risks everything, including his relationship with his wife and children.

Let Us Begin is based on a true story about a young immigrant who travels to America after hearing John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address. When Argentina is involved in a war in the early 1980s, a mentally unstable Salvador must decide where his allegiances lie. Spanning decades, Let Us Begin is a moving story filled with joy and despair about a family searching for a home and a place to belong.

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The books I picked & why

American Daughter: A Memoir

By Stephanie Thornton Plymale, Elissa Wald,

Book cover of American Daughter: A Memoir

Why did I love this book?

American Daughter caught my interest because of the title. I was writing a novel based on my father’s search for the American Dream, and we had a contentious relationship. I always felt like the American Daughter of an Argentine dad.

American Daughter, however, didn’t really have anything to do with being American aside from showing the realities or another side of the American Dream, the pain, the struggle, and the brokenness of American families.

I ended up relating to this book much more than I expected. The author’s mother was mentally unstable, selfish, and unable to actually mother. My father, and the character of my novel, was also all three of those things.

I felt a connection with the author because I understood how difficult it must have been for her to ultimately forgive her mother and see her as a damaged human being who did the best she could.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone wanting to read a book about a mother/daughter relationship.

By Stephanie Thornton Plymale, Elissa Wald,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked American Daughter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The sharp and surprising true story of a woman who finally sets out to understand her past, and the mother she had one day hoped to forget. Full of unexpected twists and unbelievable revelations, American Daughter is an immersive memoir that will have you on the edge of your seat to the very last page.

For years, Stephanie Plymale, successful CEO and interior designer, kept her past a fiercely guarded secret. Only her husband knew that her childhood was fraught with every imaginable hardship: neglect, hunger, poverty, homelessness, truancy, foster homes, a harrowing lack of medical care, and worse. Stephanie,…

The Mother-In-Law

By Sally Hepworth,

Book cover of The Mother-In-Law

Why did I love this book?

The Mother-in-Law is a funny mystery about a mother-in-law who is found dead and the likely suspect is the main character, Lucy who had a challenging relationship with her mother-in-law.

The main reason I recommend this book is not so much because Sally Hepworth is an amazing writer (she is!) and she keeps you turning the pages (she does!), but because this book ended up being so much more than a “whodunit” story.

As the story builds and we see the relationship between daughter and mother-in-law develop, we come to love both characters because they are so real, and their relationship is deeply complex. How do you love a difficult person? It’s not easy, but Lucy shows us how. I loved this book, and in fact, I want to read it again.

By Sally Hepworth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mother-In-Law as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of The Family Next Door comes a new domestic page-turner about that trickiest of relationships and what happens when it all goes wrong


'Fiction at its finest' Liane Moriarty, Number One bestselling author

'Perfect for fans of BIG LITTLE LIES' - Library Journal

She has never approved of you. But it's when her body is found the secrets really start to come out ...

From the moment Lucy met her husband's mother, Diana, she was kept at arm's length. Diana was exquisitely polite, and perfectly friendly, but Lucy knew that she…

Book cover of Becoming Latina in 10 Easy Steps

Why did I love this book?

What do you do when you find out that the man you thought was your father, really isn’t? Well, you begin to question everything. If a mystery man is your real father instead of the man who raised you, then what does that make you?

When Marcela, a Latina animator learns that her father might be a white friend of her mother’s, she tries to prove that she is still Latina enough as she goes in search of her biological father.

Part of what makes us who we are is what we believe about ourselves, and in this book the character’s entire identity comes into question. My book is about a man’s search for the American Dream; however, to achieve success, you have to believe in yourself and have a clear understanding of who you are.

Immigrants, in many ways, leave their old identity behind to become a new version of themselves. This commonality about identity, and the fact that both stories deal with father/daughter relationships makes me enthusiastically recommend Becoming Latina in 10 Easy Steps.

By Lara Rios,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Becoming Latina in 10 Easy Steps as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Considered the family spinster because of her high-powered career and lack of marital prospects, Marcela Alvarez receives an unexpected shock when she discovers that her deadbeat dad is not Latino and embarks on a ten-step plan to reunited with her Chicana roots. A first novel. Original.

Educated: A Memoir

By Tara Westover,

Book cover of Educated: A Memoir

Why did I love this book?

Educated is a memoir about a young girl who grows up with an extreme prepper family who does not trust government institutions, so they do not send their children to schools, use medical institutions, or participate in society in general. Tara’s older brother and father are both abusive, and eventually, Tara decides to leave her family to pursue a college education. 

I am a college professor as well as a writer, so I really enjoyed this book. It’s a book about pursuing your dreams. It’s a book about not giving up. It’s a book about leaving your family or a bad situation even though you feel guilty. These are all themes that are part of my book and that I related to well before I wrote my novel.

I also had to move away from my family to become a stronger version of myself. I also had to reinvent myself. So, though my situation was very different, and this memoir is not like my novel in an overt way, it shares similar themes because it is a story about a woman’s relationship with a dysfunctional family.

By Tara Westover,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked Educated as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



'One of the best books I have ever read . . . unbelievably moving' Elizabeth Day
'An extraordinary story, beautifully told' Louise O'Neill
'A memoir to stand alongside the classics . . . compelling and joyous' Sunday Times

Tara Westover grew up preparing for the end of the world. She was never put in school, never taken to the doctor. She did not even have a birth certificate…

America's First Daughter

By Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie,

Book cover of America's First Daughter

Why did I love this book?

This is a fascinating historical novel about Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, Patsy Jefferson. Aside from learning much more about history than I ever did in high school or college, I enjoyed reading about the relationship that she had with her father. 

It’s difficult, I think, to have a relationship with a man like Jefferson who was devoted to his ideals and dreams first and to his family second. He had goals that were so immense that there was no competing with them. And yet, Patsy is completely devoted to her father and his goals. It’s a story about loving an imperfect man and making sacrifices.

It gave me a different perspective on a historical figure, but it also made me think about my own relationship with my father because I could relate to coming second or third in the life of a father you love. I know what it’s like to be disillusioned when you realize he’s a man like any other with serious defects.

I found the story to be well-told and expertly researched though I didn’t verify that all the facts were historically accurate. I would definitely recommend this book to those who like historical fiction.

By Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked America's First Daughter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson's eldest daughter, Martha "Patsy" Jefferson Randolph--a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.

From her earliest days, Patsy Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson's oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of…

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