adaughter-ebook-300dpiYesterday I had one of those experiences that make me feel I only open my mouth to insert my foot. My most recently released book, A Daughter’s a Daughter, starts with a bang when my fiftyish heroine loses her job in the Wall Street meltdown. Suddenly she’s forced to confront the emptiness of her life since her husband died and her daughter grew up and became estranged.

It’s an enticing storyline to women in midlife, since so many of us come to a crossroads and don’t immediately know which way we’re going next. This book features a new romance for Pam, my main heroine, a new professional direction in her life, and much personal growth in her family relationships. The story also is told from the point of view of her ambitious young daughter, Linley, a cable television financial reporter who has a hot love affair with her handsome coworker. If that’s not interesting enough, there’s a new neighbor next door to Pam’s mother, Dorothy, out at the beach on Long Island, and he’s using his cute dog to start up a friendship with the redoubtable old lady because he has a secret agenda.

I brought a copy of A Daughter’s a Daughter over to a friend’s house as a gift. Okay so far, but then I goofed. When she asked me what it was about, I felt compelled to mention that the heroine realizes during the course of the story that her previously extremely competent, retired social activist mother has begun to develop dementia. I don’t want to sideswipe anyone who is having a hard time with a family member or friend in a similar situation. So I mentioned the dementia, which is just one of many interesting adult issues in this story, and my friend immediately shut down. I’m pretty sure she’ll never read my book, which is a shame, because my elderly character, Dorothy, is a grand old gal who has led a fascinating life and is still a vivid personality.

Women’s fiction is not just about young people falling in love and marrying the right person for the first time. In the women’s fiction world, both good stuff and bad stuff happens. Yet by the end of the story, the main heroine comes to a position of peace and acceptance about the things she can’t change, and she’s also made great inroads on changing the things she has discovered are within her power to change. Pam, my fiftyish heroine, grows and makes new choices. She faces up to the life situations that previously daunted her. But of course her mom isn’t going to suddenly be cured of dementia. Am I supposed to invent a fake medical breakthrough or pretend old age never happens?

A Daughter’s a Daughter is a story of life renewal for my baby boomer heroine. Through her mother’s memories, it’s my nod to the post-World War II years, to the women who were young wives then and coped with a very different world from the one we have now. And then there’s the annoyingly self-centered young heroine (who isn’t as nasty as the daughter in Mildred Pierce, but she comes close), who finally learns the lesson that she ought to treat others better. This story even has a cute dog, too.

I hope being honest about just one aspect of this big, juicy read has not doomed the copy sitting on my friend’s end table to remain unopened. Enjoy the excerpt below and consider checking out the many pleasures of A Daughter’s a Daughter.

 EXCERPT from A Daughter’s a Daughter:

“I got us a great opportunity. A spot on the Today Show tomorrow morning. They want to interview you about how it feels to have been laid off from Menahl.”

Pam grimaced. Those jackals outside the building this morning had wanted fresh blood, too. “Thousands were let go. Why talk to me?”

“Because I called them and pitched it.” There was great satisfaction in Linley’s tone. Her daughter was triumphant at having arranged an opportunity for Pam to be an object of pity on national television. “You wouldn’t believe how many news agencies are interested,” Linley continued. “The Today Show is the big deal.”

“That’s nice, dear. Couldn’t you do it by yourself?” She’d never been comfortable as the center of attention.

“Of course not. They want the story from the person directly involved. From you.” The impatience was in her daughter’s voice again, the undertone that said Pam knew nothing.

The moment stretched out silently.

“You’ll do it, right?” Linley prodded.

Pam cringed at the idea of exposing herself in public. She’d like to help Linley, of course, but she did not want to be on television. “Why not interview Magda instead? She has a more dramatic story. Magda works with—” she corrected herself, stumbling over her words, “she worked with me. She has a son she’s putting through college. Tuition is due in a month and she has no way of making payments if she doesn’t have a job.”

“The interview is with you and me, not with Magda.”

“I’d rather not be on television,” Pam said.

“Say yes.”

“I’d freeze up.”

“I promised you’d be on. Don’t make me a liar.”

“I hate being the center of attention. I can’t.”

“How can you be so selfish?” Linley wailed. “You’re ruining my day.”

Linley clicked off.

Pam stared at the phone. Linley had hung up on her. Oh, technically, Linley could not hang up a telephone she carried in her pocket, but it was the same thing.  Her daughter had hung up on her.

Useless tears trickled down Pam’s cheeks. Why was she so weak? So afraid of being in the public eye?

She and Linley hardly communicated anymore. Unlike her, Linley was ambitious. Linley’s quick success in her glamour career had reinforced her opinion that she was far superior to her mother. An adolescent attitude that hadn’t changed in a decade.

Ten minutes later, the phone rang again.

“It’s me,” Linley said, her voice hard. “You’ve got to do the Today Show. Otherwise, I’ll lose the spot.”


“If you don’t do this for me, I’ll never speak to you again.”

Pam gasped.

“I mean it,” Linley said.

“You’ll be interviewed, too?” Pam choked out the question.


“I won’t have to be alone?”

“Yes,” was the impatient reply. Linley didn’t bother to coax.

Pam knew what hung in the balance. “It will help your career?” she asked, anyway.

“Are you kidding?” Linley named the time and the address. “Be there. Or I’ll never speak to you again. Never.” She clicked off.

Pam hung up the land line and stared into space. Linley had not asked her for anything in years. Now suddenly, she demanded this from her mother.

What if Pam made a fool of herself? Being on live television was exactly the kind of public exposure from which she had always shrunk. What if she started crying? Would Linley feel guilty? Would she care?

No use going there. All Linley thought about was the publicity for herself. Was there a chance that doing this would revive their old mother-daughter closeness? In case there was, Pam would go on the Today Show. But how could she keep from making an utter fool of herself or breaking down?

She picked up the phone again. When Dorothy answered, Pam said, “Mom, I need your help.”


Award-winning author Irene Vartanoff combined her love of romances and comic books by working for Harlequin, Bantam, Berkley, and My RomanceStory.com, as well as Marvel Comics and DC Comics. She is the author of six published books so far, including Summer in the City, also women’s fiction. The third book in her Selkirk Family Ranch sweet contemporary romance series is coming out soon as is the third book in her chick lit vibe superhero series, Temporary Superheroine.

A Daughter’s a Daughter is available at Amazon:



Or visit Irene Vartanoff’s Amazon author page.



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