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Publisher's Summary

In this haunting short story of loyalty and betrayal, a young woman in early 1900s Massachusetts discovers that in navigating her treacherous coming-of-age, she must find her voice first. 

For fatefully observant Adeline, growing up carries an ominous warning from her adulterous mother: don’t say a word. Adeline vows to never speak again. But that’s not her only secret. After her mother takes a housekeeping job at a lighthouse off the tip of Cape Ann, a local woman vanishes. The key to the mystery lies with Adeline, the silent witness. New York Times bestselling author of The Rules of Magic Alice Hoffman crafts a beautiful, heart-wrenching short story. 

Alice Hoffman’s Everything My Mother Taught Me is part of Inheritance, a collection of five stories about secrets, unspoken desires, and dangerous revelations between loved ones. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single setting. By yourself, behind closed doors, or shared with someone you trust.

©2019 by Alice Hoffman. (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about Everything My Mother Taught Me

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This story is incredible

Sweet Lord many twists and turns... The narration is so good guys..you will love and pity the characters...

6 people found this helpful

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Great short story!

I didn’t realize this was a short story. Good read!! Going to check out the other short stories from this Inheritance collection!

4 people found this helpful

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Dajavu

This story reminds me of my own life experiences as a child and young girl. Such as it was, at times I think about growing up with a mother who didn't like me. I am happy I am a loving caring person in spite of my mother.

4 people found this helpful

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Too Short

I really enjoyed listening to this book.
story was tight and effective
I wished it was longer

3 people found this helpful

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Everything my Mother Taught Me

This was short and sweet. I didn’t like the way the mother treated the daughter. She was just looking out for herself.

2 people found this helpful

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Surviving a narcissistic mother

This short story has Hoffman’s careful establishment of environment. It’s in first person, from the point of view of a preteen girl who’s father recently died. Her very beautiful mother traded on her looks to get ahead, and had a string of married boyfriends while her husband was sick. She gets a job as a cleaning lady at a lighthouse on a remote island, unusual for its orchards and gardens and immediately strikes up an affair with one of the lighthouse keepers (there’s three of them). The daughter makes friends with the wife being cheated on, and they come up with an escape plan when the light keeper becomes increasingly abusive. It’s a decent story. I didn’t like the narrator initially, although I got used to her. She sounded too modern for a story taking place in the early 20th century, if that makes sense.

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Total waste of 50 minutes of my life.

Sorry for being a Debbie Downer but in summary: mother-daughter angst + abusive man + nasty sex talk + faked suicide = nothing I’m interested in reading. The setting was cool, and I liked Julia. The End.

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great short story

Interesting short story, found it relatable and raw. emotional and full of depth. worth the listen!

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Fortitude Strength and Future

The fortitude demonstrated by a youth in the face of motherly exasperation leads to Strength and a Future free from pain

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comfort food for the soul

Alice Hoffman never disappoints me. This is a perfect book for a short car ride

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Profile Image for AZ
  • AZ
  • 04-03-21

Skillful tale-telling in a short story

This short story included a lot of detail from the backstory to the sense of place.

Set in the 1900s, the narrative centres around a young girl and her narcissistic mother. Our heroine has lost her father and finds herself, literally and metaphorically in a strange place. She has become non-verbal through trauma. This begins partially voluntarily, but it seems she was silenced by threats used by her mother to keep her quiet, and grief at the loss of her father. She and her mother move to take up the position of lighthouse cleaner and housemaid in a remote and beautiful stretch of New England's shore. She finds ways to communicate as she grows and develops under the care of a new, gently maternal friend. But soon her friend needs saving. Our young protagonist must find the strength and wit to help weave the escape of the one person she trusts. Now her silence is a shield but soon she must find her voice, and perhaps her own freedom.

If you like historical fiction and short stories this is a good way to pass 50 minutes. Hoffman's story-telling skill means that the plot is rich.

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  • Wide Eyes, Big Ears!
  • 02-20-20

Powerful short by one of the best!

Adeline’s mother has only ever looked out for herself and cannot be trusted. After the death of Adeline’s father, they find work at a lighthouse where Adeline’s mother causes her usual problems. Adeline is young but determined to right her mother’s wrongs. Alice Hoffman is one of my favourite authors. She always writes strong female characters, and she doesn’t disappoint with this short but captivating story set in the early 1900s.