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The Many Mothers of Ivy Puddingstone

by Randy Susan Meyers

Seven Children. Five Mothers. One idyllic commune. What could go wrong? Annabel Cooper is on a mission to save the world. Annabel’s story begins in 1964 with her journey to Freedom Summer in Mississippi, where the disappearance of her first love ignites a life-long fight for justice. Years later, she and her husband, together with four other couples, form a Boston political collective called Puddingstone where they live together as one like-minded family, parenting their children together. As the social upheaval of the Vietnam era intensifies, they move their community to Vermont, where the adults will take turns parenting while the others continue their activism, a place where their children can remain safe from the threats of the world. But not all danger comes from the outside. Annabel’s daughter, Ivy, yearns for normalcy, not the patchouli-soaked, natural-food-laden confines of Puddingstone…but mostly she longs for Annabel's attention. She must learn what it means to be a woman from the five mothers who parent her, her brother, and five other children she considers family. But she’ll learn the limits of what family means after one cataclysmic event that will alter the course of all their lives. The Many Mothers of Ivy Puddingstone delves into the intricate and nuanced dance of familial love and communal ties through the lens of sociopolitical upheaval from the 1960s to present day. Will all their sacrifices be worth it in the end?

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