'You are her mother at this moment. The future is another time.'
In a remote corner of Tanzania, Essie Lawrence lives with her husband in an archaeologist's camp. One morning a chance encounter with two strangers sees her making a rash promise. When she returns home to the research base, she has a baby in her arms. Essie is to care for the little girl until the coming of the rains. And then hand her back.
The organised world of Magadi Research Camp is turned upside down. As her heart opens up to new life, Essie is drawn into the ancient wisdom of the Hadza, the last hunter-gatherer tribe in East Africa. And she is led back to memories of her own mother and her first home on the island of Tasmania, at the far end of the world. But there is a price to pay. Essie's marriage, her career - everything she's worked for - is put at risk.
On the shores of the flamingo lake, personal stories are played out alongside the Lawrences' quest to find the origins of the human species. Nightmares and dreams go hand in hand as past and present merge. What is real and what will turn to dust? And after a season of being a mother, will Essie be able to survive the hardest challenge of all? To love, and then let go ...
An exquisite and heart-piercing story of one woman's bond with a baby, The Beautiful Mother will resonate with every parent, crossing time, place and culture. It is an unforgettable exploration of what it really means to be a member of the human family, revealing the deep need we all have to find our own tribe.
Katherine Scholes is the author of international bestsellers including The Rain Queen, Make Me An Idol, The Stone Angel, The Hunter's Wife, The Lioness, The Perfect Wife and Congo Dawn. She is particularly popular in Europe, where she has sold over two million books.
Her novel The Blue Chameleon won a New South Wales Premier's Literary Award and The Stone Angel was longlisted in the International Dublin Literary Awards. Her work has been translated into over a dozen languages, and includes children's titles as well as novels for adults. She has also worked as a documentary filmmaker.
Katherine was born in Tanzania, the daughter of a doctor and an artist. Parts of her childhood were spent camping in remote areas where her father operated a clinic from his Land Rover and her mother painted. When she was ten, the family left Africa, going briefly to England, then migrating to Australia. She now lives in Tasmania with her husband and two sons, but makes regular trips back to her homeland, where many of her novels are set.
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