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Publisher's Summary

From a bold new voice in literary fiction comes a compelling story of three mothers whose lives intersect during a generation-defining period in South Africa’s history.

The year is 1994, and South Africa is in political turmoil as its first democratic election looms. Against a backdrop of apartheid and racial violence, traumatized artist Yolanda Petersen returns from the Appalachian foothills to the land of her youth at the behest of her mother. While there Yolanda longs to reconnect with her estranged daughter, Ingrid, the product of an illegal mixed-race affair with a white man. 

But Ingrid is missing, and as Yolanda quickly discovers, she isn’t the only woman in Cape Town desperate to protect her own. Ingrid’s very existence is proof of a white man’s crime, and that man’s mother will do anything - even kill - to ensure the truth remains buried.

An evocative debut novel set during a defining period in history, A Conspiracy of Mothers tells a gripping story of love and betrayal from multiple perspectives while deftly balancing the painful legacy of apartheid with the trials of motherhood.

©2021 by Colleen Louw. (P)2021 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

“Narrator Kineta Kunutu's South African accent is paired with a slow, melodic cadence for the sweeping narration of this convoluted novel…. Kunutu uses a mélange of accents for the multitude of characters who tell their interconnected stories. British and Afrikaans accents, along with a fluid timeline, the presence of magic, and waking dreams, require close attention from the listener.” (AudioFile Magazine)

“The fierce maternal instincts of an entire community of women drive this unforgettable debut novel. Van Niekerk paints a vivid portrait of how the political was personal, and often tangled to the point of rot, in this time and place. These characters, their resilience, and van Niekerk’s reverence for her native South Africa make for an unforgettable read.” (Booklist, starred review) 

“Deeply affecting and beautifully rendered, A Conspiracy of Mothers is a tapestry woven with sacrifice, suffering, and loss but also with a love between generations of women so deep it invokes ancestral magic that defies the laws of space and time. This story of pilgrimage and reckoning amid the unraveling of apartheid should resonate with anyone interested in breaking down systems of racism and oppression, wherever they exist. A brilliant novel to be read alongside Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime and Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste.” (Susan Bernhard, author of Winter Loon

What listeners say about A Conspiracy of Mothers

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Mothers

I loved it..This is a good story, very mystical, it shares some of the horror but also a lot of love

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sacrifice and vision

loved the story of sacrifices of mothers - each different; did not love the visions - detracted more than it added

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Great book! Hard to put down

The author is amazing and so is the narrator. The author keeps the tension high but at the same time her writing is very authentic. She moves from the USA to London and South Africa with ease. The narrator nails the various accents, especially the Boers and Cape Coloreds. Keep the tissues handy!

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Loved it!!

A very good read on 1980s Apartheid in South Africa. I would definitely recommend it.

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Deeply profound, crossing all boundaries.

Although I grew up about us far from South Africa as you can get the smell and flavor and heart rending truths of this book brought to my heart and incredible awareness of deep pain and rare love that crosses all boundaries.

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Astonishing book!

This beautifully written and constructed book will bring you both pleasure and pain as it recounts the human suffering behind the apartheid system of South Africa.

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Captivating

Just enough:
Romance
History
Intrigue

I didn't want it to end, so I found myself listening to parts over again. Happy Endings!!!