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The Burning Light of Two Stars: A Mother-Daughter Story

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This riveting memoir by Laura Davis, coauthor of "The Courage to Heal," examines the endurance of mother-daughter love, how memory protects and betrays us, and the determination it takes to fulfill a promise when ghosts from the past come knocking. When she published "The Courage to Heal" in 1988, Laura Davis helped more than a million women work through the trauma of child This riveting memoir by Laura Davis, coauthor of "The Courage to Heal," examines the endurance of mother-daughter love, how memory protects and betrays us, and the determination it takes to fulfill a promise when ghosts from the past come knocking. When she published "The Courage to Heal" in 1988, Laura Davis helped more than a million women work through the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. But her decision to go public with her grandfather’s incest deepened an already painful estrangement with her mother, Temme. Over the next twenty years, from a safe distance of three thousand miles, Laura and Temme reconciled their volatile relationship and believed that their difficult past was behind them. But when Temme moves across the country to entrust her daughter with the rest of her life, she brings a faltering mind, a fierce need for independence, and the seeds of a second war between them. As the stresses of caregiving rekindle Laura’s rage over past betrayals, they threaten her intention to finally love her mother “without reservation.” Will she learn what it means to be truly openhearted before it’s too late?


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This riveting memoir by Laura Davis, coauthor of "The Courage to Heal," examines the endurance of mother-daughter love, how memory protects and betrays us, and the determination it takes to fulfill a promise when ghosts from the past come knocking. When she published "The Courage to Heal" in 1988, Laura Davis helped more than a million women work through the trauma of child This riveting memoir by Laura Davis, coauthor of "The Courage to Heal," examines the endurance of mother-daughter love, how memory protects and betrays us, and the determination it takes to fulfill a promise when ghosts from the past come knocking. When she published "The Courage to Heal" in 1988, Laura Davis helped more than a million women work through the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. But her decision to go public with her grandfather’s incest deepened an already painful estrangement with her mother, Temme. Over the next twenty years, from a safe distance of three thousand miles, Laura and Temme reconciled their volatile relationship and believed that their difficult past was behind them. But when Temme moves across the country to entrust her daughter with the rest of her life, she brings a faltering mind, a fierce need for independence, and the seeds of a second war between them. As the stresses of caregiving rekindle Laura’s rage over past betrayals, they threaten her intention to finally love her mother “without reservation.” Will she learn what it means to be truly openhearted before it’s too late?

30 review for The Burning Light of Two Stars: A Mother-Daughter Story

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    The Burning Light of Two Stars: A Mother Daughter Story (2021) is an absorbing and thoughtfully written exploration of author Laura Davis challenging and turbulent relationship with her mother Temme Davis; who passed away in a Santa Cruz California nursing facility near the home Davis shared with her wife Karyn and their two children. Davis (1956-), is a bestselling author of seven non-fiction books, and a popular international writing instructor, her retreats are attended by students and follow The Burning Light of Two Stars: A Mother Daughter Story (2021) is an absorbing and thoughtfully written exploration of author Laura Davis challenging and turbulent relationship with her mother Temme Davis; who passed away in a Santa Cruz California nursing facility near the home Davis shared with her wife Karyn and their two children. Davis (1956-), is a bestselling author of seven non-fiction books, and a popular international writing instructor, her retreats are attended by students and followers from the US and abroad. Throughout her life, Davis felt the profound absence and loss of her twin sister Vicki, who died at birth following their premature delivery. Temme’s marriage to her wayward husband would not last, her father abandoned the family after taking Laura to the Woodstock festival. Laura witnessed the young people openly smoking weed and a few couples having sex in sleeping bags on the muddy fields, while listening to the music of Jimmy Hendrix and Janis Joplin in the rain. As an overworked social worker and single mother, Temme became highly stressed out, often impatient and clueless of her daughter’s feelings and needs. Paul, her older brother, soon left the home becoming a “Premie” of the east Indian spiritual master and guru Maharaji Ji/Prem Rawat. Laura eventually joined the cult and lived at an ashram for a few years, but left after finding it overly controlling and restrictive. Davis met Ellen Bass in a writer’s group-- the co-author of Davis controversial book: “The Courage To Heal: For Women Survivor’s of Sexual Abuse” (1988). This was the acclaimed groundbreaking book that ignited the Recovered Memory Movement. There is a great deal of research and academic studies that address the social and cultural impact of this movement, also the unknown numbers of personal stories and memoirs; many are/were related to this notable book, which is no longer in print. Davis briefly recalled her fame resulting from the book’s release. However, Laura, Temme, and other family members were estranged for over a decade after the book was published. After Davis invited her mother to leave her condo in New Jersey and move nearby in California, Temme was in her eighties, and had seen a personal physician that diagnosed her with Alzheimer’s Disease. The care of Temme’s end of life journey was challenging for them both, their combined knowledge of eldercare seemed somewhat limited. The detailed account of Temme’s cremation stands out, and can’t be unread, not allowing for a final dignity she deserved. Still, Davis truly loved her mother and fully supported and cared for her in several unexpected ways until she passed in peace. (3.5*GOOD) **With thanks to Girl Friday Books (GFB) via NetGalley for the DDC for the purpose of review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Yasmin Kerkez

    I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. I was completely captivated by The Burning Light of Two Stars and had a very soulful/emotional connection to the story. As a reader – it was one of those books you start reading and feel as if you’ve stumbled on a treasure; a book you’re not going to want to end. Every night I found it hard to put down. I was hungry to always read more, to turn each page, and consume each paragraph. The story is brilliant. There is intrigue, emo I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. I was completely captivated by The Burning Light of Two Stars and had a very soulful/emotional connection to the story. As a reader – it was one of those books you start reading and feel as if you’ve stumbled on a treasure; a book you’re not going to want to end. Every night I found it hard to put down. I was hungry to always read more, to turn each page, and consume each paragraph. The story is brilliant. There is intrigue, emotion, life lessons, and a deep connection to real family life and relationships. Laura captures every detail and emotion. The mother-daughter relationship at the center of the story was captured perfectly and portrayed in the most beautiful way. As a reader, I was fully able to partake in Laura’s struggle and experience each stage of her journey toward wholeness. Laura’s mother, Temme, is an extremely three-dimensional character. I see her as an incredibly strong woman – one of those brilliant characters who had struggles in life but “did her best” and was a real survivor. She had flaws but they made her even more lovable. She was real, passionate and strong. She had heart and soul and talent and intellect. And she had deep love in her heart. At the end – her soul only shone more brightly. I loved her. Laura, the daughter in this tale, is a woman of strength and incredible depth. A real person. Someone who faced life, and all its difficulties, with bravery, honesty and strength. Like Temme, I was in awe of her depth of love and compassion and how it never died. I found her to be inspirational, a beautiful guiding light to those on their own healing journey. And the relationship between them? With all its wounds – it never died. Always at the core was love. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting a good read—but especially to those living with family estrangement now or in the past.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hollye Dexter

    (I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.) In this raw, gripping, inspiring memoir, Laura Davis recounts how, piece by piece, she let her mother back into her life after betrayal and a very public estrangement, and then, piece by piece, lost her again to dementia. After her mother’s death, Davis finds a box of letters that forces her to confront painful truths, but also provides evidence that through estrangement, anger, reconciliation and her mother’s decline, there (I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.) In this raw, gripping, inspiring memoir, Laura Davis recounts how, piece by piece, she let her mother back into her life after betrayal and a very public estrangement, and then, piece by piece, lost her again to dementia. After her mother’s death, Davis finds a box of letters that forces her to confront painful truths, but also provides evidence that through estrangement, anger, reconciliation and her mother’s decline, there was always a thread of undeniable love that connected these two powerful women. Reading this book changed my heart and inspired me to pick up the phone and call my mother for the first time in 18 years.

  4. 5 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of THE BURNING LIGHT OF TWO STARS by Laura Davis in exchange for my honest review.*** *Disclaimer #2 Laura Davis is a hero of mine. Her first book, THE COURAGE TO HEAL about recovery from sexual abuse saved my life, literally and figuratively. Our personal lives share many similarities from sexual abuse to breast cancer to Jewish grandparents. I don’t know her personally and despite my admiration for her, I believe my review to be objec ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of THE BURNING LIGHT OF TWO STARS by Laura Davis in exchange for my honest review.*** *Disclaimer #2 Laura Davis is a hero of mine. Her first book, THE COURAGE TO HEAL about recovery from sexual abuse saved my life, literally and figuratively. Our personal lives share many similarities from sexual abuse to breast cancer to Jewish grandparents. I don’t know her personally and despite my admiration for her, I believe my review to be objective. I’m not a big memoir reader, particularly of someone whose life is so similar to mine in many ways, but wanted to read Davis’s as I followed her publishing journey on Facebook. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I’d be interested as mothers aren’t my favorite topic and I just found out my estranged father died last month. I was approved for the ARC of THE BURNING LIGHT OF TWO STARS the day before my move to an over 55 community so I couldn’t begin for a few days and I sat down to read a chapter in between unpacking. Hours later, buckets of tears shed and no boxes unpacked, I finished. THE BURNING LIGHT OF TWO STARS begins in utero with Laura’s identical twin Vickie who lived only a day. From start to finish I cycled through a myriad of emotions from sentimental longing to joy to sadness to wanting to punch her brother in the face (which *is* a feeling to me and I’ll die on that sword). Davis’s writing is alive, active, personable, passionate and gritty, though never in a manner that feels over-written or indulgent. She’s clearly someone who knows herself, warts and all, and is comfortable sharing her imperfections. The steady pacing did have some detail that I wanted to skim, like details about her brother’s new age journey (not enough to detract from my enjoyment or to drop to 4.5 stars because I should be unpacking and I’m highly distractible right now). THE BURNING LIGHT OF TWO STARS is the memoir I didn’t know I needed to read (for even more personal reasons than I wrote). The audience for this book is as diverse as the topics covered, family, abuse, estrangement, LGBT, caregiving to name a few.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Autumn Vandiver

    This book made me laugh and cry out loud. There were moments when I felt my breath catch and I had to pause and set the book down and take some deep breaths before I picked it back up again. It was a powerfully evocative, spellbinding, and transformative read. Juicy, insightful, contemplative, gripping, generous, reflective. Throughout the book, I found myself ping ponging between relating to the protagonist and then relating to the mother. I'm not sure that's never happened to me in a book...wh This book made me laugh and cry out loud. There were moments when I felt my breath catch and I had to pause and set the book down and take some deep breaths before I picked it back up again. It was a powerfully evocative, spellbinding, and transformative read. Juicy, insightful, contemplative, gripping, generous, reflective. Throughout the book, I found myself ping ponging between relating to the protagonist and then relating to the mother. I'm not sure that's never happened to me in a book...where I could identify with both of the main characters. I found myself aching for my dead mother, feeling empathy for my teenager who currently hates me, and soothing all the younger and grieving parts of myself that I saw reflected in these pages. There is a line in the book that I have carried with me ever since I read it on the page...my mother gave me someone it was safe to hate. (I might be paraphrasing, but this is the idea that I took away from the exact words.) I have held on to this every day while my own teenager rails against just about everything I do or say and the positive moments between us are few and far between. I have clung to this idea as a life raft, reminding myself that my daughter needs someone it is safe to hate. And that this doesn't have to last forever. It may just be for right now. I cannot recommend this book highly enough to anyone who has had a less than perfect relationship with their mother or their daughter. This book is relatable and inspiring and one that I can see myself reading again and again, picking up new bits of meaning each time I read. It will live on my shelf alongside The Glass Castle and Wild, other books that carry special meaning for me. I am so grateful that Laura wrote this book, and that it took her ten years to write it, because that meant that it landed in my lap at the absolute perfect time. Thank you, Laura, for your bravery in telling this story in all of its raw, unfiltered beauty and ugliness and everything in between.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Margo

    I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. I had trouble putting this book down. The story is compelling. I read it at night before I went to sleep and most nights, I’d think ‘just a few more pages’ or ‘just one more chapter.’ I never got bored. I appreciated the pacing of the story as there were sections that were more intense or moved at a quicker pace and others where the story went deeper or slowed down. It allowed me to savor the writing in a way I might not have i I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. I had trouble putting this book down. The story is compelling. I read it at night before I went to sleep and most nights, I’d think ‘just a few more pages’ or ‘just one more chapter.’ I never got bored. I appreciated the pacing of the story as there were sections that were more intense or moved at a quicker pace and others where the story went deeper or slowed down. It allowed me to savor the writing in a way I might not have if the whole book had maintained the same intensity. Although The Burning Light of Two Stars is the story of one family, it has a universal quality. I found myself comparing and analyzing my own family against the backdrop of Laura’s, wondering what we would have done, have done or did do under similar circumstances. Also, unlike some memoirs I’ve read, there are multiple themes to the book: the mother-daughter relationship, the impact of dementia, the relationship between siblings, balancing the needs of children and a family with those of an aging parent, the impact of Laura’s grandfather’s sexual abuse on her and her relationship with her family. There were lots of entry points into the story and many ways to relate to it. Laura successfully captures the complexity and beauty of the relationship between a mother and her daughter. What drives us crazy, what irritates us, what we cherish about each other. The ways a mother will fight for her daughter and let her down in others. The importance of focusing on what matters in the relationship and not allowing past pain to keep you from enjoying the days you have left together. Laura also conveys the frustrations and joys of caring for and spending time with a beloved parent or grandparent with Alzheimer’s disease. All that is lost and all that remains. The Burning Light of Two Stars is a reminder of why we don’t necessarily have the time we think we do to repair relationships with our most important people. That both we and our family members make mistakes, say the wrong thing, fail each other, do our best. The book provides a roadmap for reconciliation and will show you why it matters. It will help you forgive yourself for the times you’ve stumbled and show you that perfection isn’t possible. I highly recommend this beautifully written and inspiring book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rosilyn Muirhead

    My experience reading this book was profound. I opened the book with no preconceived idea of the story. I knew Laura was a writing teacher, but other than that, I knew nothing about her personal life. Until the last few lines of the opening, I had no idea that this was a mother-daughter story. When I realized that, my heart skipped a beat because I'd lived my own turmoil and challenges with my own mother. I ended up reading the book in a day and a half. I found the story compelling for several re My experience reading this book was profound. I opened the book with no preconceived idea of the story. I knew Laura was a writing teacher, but other than that, I knew nothing about her personal life. Until the last few lines of the opening, I had no idea that this was a mother-daughter story. When I realized that, my heart skipped a beat because I'd lived my own turmoil and challenges with my own mother. I ended up reading the book in a day and a half. I found the story compelling for several reasons. The story was never predictable or boring. The writing was superb. Laura's journey toward forgiveness and acceptance was entirely relatable, and I was draw into her life story in a deeply personal way. As a character, Laura felt real. And her mother, Temme, was fascinating, even when she was at her worse. I liked and disliked her at the same time. The core question Laura's book seeks to answer is whether it's possible to move beyond past pain and disappointment to establish a fulfilling relationship. I kept turning the pages because I really wanted to find out "Will this mother and daughter be able to reach beyond their pain and find a way to love each other unconditionally? I wholeheartedly recommend The Burning Light of Two Stars: A Mother-Daughter story to anyone, man or woman, who has a desire to heal past relationship hurdles. The uplifting message in this book is that it is never too late, that we should never give up on emotional healing no matter how painful. The message is clear - release those feelings of hurt and resentment - be brave and buckle your heart belt... the journey is worth it."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shoshana Helman

    I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. The Burning Light of Two Stars is a riveting memoir of a mother and daughter, once separated by a painful truth, who are determined to heal their relationship before dementia steals the mother away. I was drawn into Laura’s story from the very first page. I couldn’t put the book down. I read the whole thing in two days. Every time I had to set it down, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I still can’t. The relationship between m I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. The Burning Light of Two Stars is a riveting memoir of a mother and daughter, once separated by a painful truth, who are determined to heal their relationship before dementia steals the mother away. I was drawn into Laura’s story from the very first page. I couldn’t put the book down. I read the whole thing in two days. Every time I had to set it down, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I still can’t. The relationship between mother and daughter was so rich and nuanced, complicated and interesting. What an incredible story—a beautiful testimony to the power of love. The Burning Light of Two Stars addresses so many core human issues we all face: trust and selflessness, parenting, dependency and death. I’d enthusiastically recommend it to anyone in the “sandwich generation,” raising kids and caretaking elder parents, anyone struggling to reconnect with loved ones that they don’t see eye-to-eye with, and to those who have lived with secrets—whether or not they eventually shared them. Laura grapples with questions that many of us struggle with: “How do family members stay in relationship when they can’t agree on critical elements of their collective past?” “How do families overcome past hurts when they need to show up for each other in their hour of need? And “Is it possible to risk loving someone you desperately want to be able to love, but who has repeatedly betrayed you?” As a palliative care doctor, The Burning Light of Two Stars put me in touch with what the caregiver experience is really like. I’m grateful. It will definitely enrich my work with patients and their families.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. Laura’s book blew me away. It's a wonderful read and I’m amazed that anyone could pull all this together into a single beautiful story. It’s a memoir written like a novel (no small trick, I think), which is usually my first reading choice. The Burning Light of Two Stars is a good story well told. And it’s about mothers and daughters, a dynamic I find fascinating. Is there a daughter who doesn’t? The Burning Light of Two Stars p I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. Laura’s book blew me away. It's a wonderful read and I’m amazed that anyone could pull all this together into a single beautiful story. It’s a memoir written like a novel (no small trick, I think), which is usually my first reading choice. The Burning Light of Two Stars is a good story well told. And it’s about mothers and daughters, a dynamic I find fascinating. Is there a daughter who doesn’t? The Burning Light of Two Stars paints a very real picture of a very difficult relationship. The book rings true, and set off many memories of my own relationship with my mother. The story centers on Laura’s memories of childhood incest, which her mother, Temme, denies. For a while, Laura must focus on surviving the shock of realizing what happened to her as a child, and then build a life that recognizes that child’s truth. But as decades pass, things change. Finally, Laura is ready to dig into her relationship with Temme — not as failing mother and failed daughter, but as two women with a connection in life, in grief and throughout time, from the beginning of one life to the end of the other. Laura makes a decision to recognize that she has outlived her previous focus. It’s true, but it’s past, and it’s time to move on. It's an amazing example of the capacity for growth, and the strength it takes to try. Laura’s book reads like a mystery novel; though I sometimes dreaded what I’d learn, I couldn’t wait to find out what would come next. I highly recommend The Burning Light of Two Stars.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Terry Stein

    I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. I’d definitely recommend The Burning Light of Two Stars. It’s beautifully written and I was immersed in Laura’s story right away. I felt very connected to her throughout. I found her to be an honest, likeable, relatable, and admirable narrator. And I’m even more in awe of her portrayal of her mother. The Burning Light of Two Stars traces decades of a challenging mother-daughter relationship, and Laura’s portrayal of Temme, her m I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. I’d definitely recommend The Burning Light of Two Stars. It’s beautifully written and I was immersed in Laura’s story right away. I felt very connected to her throughout. I found her to be an honest, likeable, relatable, and admirable narrator. And I’m even more in awe of her portrayal of her mother. The Burning Light of Two Stars traces decades of a challenging mother-daughter relationship, and Laura’s portrayal of Temme, her mother, is multi-dimensional. Temme comes across as dynamic and charismatic at times, completely ill-attuned at others, limited in her emotional intelligence and courage to face difficulty, yet also deeply loving. Laura never vilifies her, even though Laura’s anger and contempt kept the two apart for so long. I loved the way Laura showed the broad range of reactions she had toward her mother—specifically how powerfully she craved her love and approval and admired her on one hand, while finding her completely intolerable on the other. What ultimately made the book so interesting was the love and reconciliation and forgiveness that came at the end—and how painful the journey was to get there. Laura Davis has written a compelling book with many deep important themes, many of which resonated with me. I was always eager to return to the book to read more. The Burning Light of Two Stars was an easy story to relate to—definitely a winner!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nguinther

    I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. Laura Davis crafts a raw, powerful story of her difficult relationship with her mother, from Laura’s birth to her mother’s passing, moving the reader easily and deftly through time like a magician. Her vivid storytelling is so credible and real that after reading The Burning Light of Two Stars, I feel I know her well, and the details she provides only magnify her honesty. In her public life, Laura is a teacher and hero to many I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. Laura Davis crafts a raw, powerful story of her difficult relationship with her mother, from Laura’s birth to her mother’s passing, moving the reader easily and deftly through time like a magician. Her vivid storytelling is so credible and real that after reading The Burning Light of Two Stars, I feel I know her well, and the details she provides only magnify her honesty. In her public life, Laura is a teacher and hero to many who have suffered from sexual abuse. Yet she also has a private voice which is often at odds with her public persona. Like most of us, Laura is a living contradiction, and in this brave memoir, she doesn’t hold back. We see her through her raging moments and in her softer ones. Fearlessly, she exposes her very private thoughts alongside her public ones. It’s that internal voice that she’s not afraid to use, the one most of us keep hidden, that gives The Burning Light of Two Stars its potency and staying power.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth M.

    I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. You should know too that I am a clinically-trained interfaith chaplain, as well as a live-in caregiver for my aging father - and also have responsibilities for two young adults. What does it take to heal from trauma, especially sexual abuse within a family? And how does that healing happen again and again over a lifetime - and particularly through the practice of caregiving? This fierce and surprisingly gentle love story, on th I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. You should know too that I am a clinically-trained interfaith chaplain, as well as a live-in caregiver for my aging father - and also have responsibilities for two young adults. What does it take to heal from trauma, especially sexual abuse within a family? And how does that healing happen again and again over a lifetime - and particularly through the practice of caregiving? This fierce and surprisingly gentle love story, on the surface between a mother and daughter, is also the long and resolving love story with the self, the continuing learning showing how even more wholeness grows out of the heartbreaks revealed years ago. As I read The Burning Light of Two Stars, I found myself challenged, encouraged, enlivened and ultimately filled with hope for my path ahead.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Owen

    I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. The Burning Light of Two Stars provides the reader with a deeply insightful look into the dynamics of family relationships fraught with tension and unresolved conflict; in this case a mother and daughter bound together by their losses and their deep desire for acceptance from one another. Setting this story against the backdrop of incest and divorce increases the poignancy and burden of rebuilding trust between these two strong I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. The Burning Light of Two Stars provides the reader with a deeply insightful look into the dynamics of family relationships fraught with tension and unresolved conflict; in this case a mother and daughter bound together by their losses and their deep desire for acceptance from one another. Setting this story against the backdrop of incest and divorce increases the poignancy and burden of rebuilding trust between these two strong women. Woven throughout Laura Davis’ powerful story of reconciliation is the inexorable decline of her mother’s dementia, trapping both women in roles they never had anticipated or desired. When you sit down to enjoy this story, don’t be surprised if your task list falls away and you find yourself deeply engrossed, reading hungrily until the very last page.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sunny Shaw

    I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. The Burning Light of Two Stars is a beautiful book. I couldn't put it down. It reads like a poem and is dominated by a sense of wonder as Laura explores herself and her family’s journey into her mother’s dementia and end of life. Laura's book is a travel itinerary/photo album of memories (good and bad), emotions (the gamut), look-out points and homecoming. Her story loans an empathic voice to the struggles, joys, laughter and a I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. The Burning Light of Two Stars is a beautiful book. I couldn't put it down. It reads like a poem and is dominated by a sense of wonder as Laura explores herself and her family’s journey into her mother’s dementia and end of life. Laura's book is a travel itinerary/photo album of memories (good and bad), emotions (the gamut), look-out points and homecoming. Her story loans an empathic voice to the struggles, joys, laughter and anguish caregivers voyage through on this 'no short-cuts' adventure. After 13 years of taking care of people experiencing dementia, beginning with my father, I found The Burning Light of Two Stars to be most encouraging, especially for those of us who carry primary responsibility, as well as for those whose participation is more peripheral.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Kramer

    I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. The Burning Light of Two Stars tells the story of a young woman’s struggle with her evolving identity throughout her life. Like many daughters, Laura Davis juggles the tangled balls of yarn which are the mother-daughter dynamic: we seek love, affection, validation and acceptance from our mothers, yet are unable to easily return these same virtues to them. In Laura’s case, it wasn’t until her mother’s death was staring her down I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. The Burning Light of Two Stars tells the story of a young woman’s struggle with her evolving identity throughout her life. Like many daughters, Laura Davis juggles the tangled balls of yarn which are the mother-daughter dynamic: we seek love, affection, validation and acceptance from our mothers, yet are unable to easily return these same virtues to them. In Laura’s case, it wasn’t until her mother’s death was staring her down that she was finally able to breathe in the connection she’d sought from the beginning. This book made me laugh and cry and reflect on my own experience as both a mother and a daughter. When I got to the last page, I wanted to turn back to the beginning, and start all over again.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne

    Laura Davis has written a brilliant memoir. The Burning Light of Two Stars is destined to become as much a classic as The Courage to Heal, her groundbreaking book on healing from sexual abuse. The Burning Light of Two Stars, written more than thirty years later, explores Laura’s attempts to reconcile with her mother, who continued to deny that Laura had been sexually abused. Here, a mature writer looks back on the most primal and pivotal relationship in her life. Laura handles the complex emotio Laura Davis has written a brilliant memoir. The Burning Light of Two Stars is destined to become as much a classic as The Courage to Heal, her groundbreaking book on healing from sexual abuse. The Burning Light of Two Stars, written more than thirty years later, explores Laura’s attempts to reconcile with her mother, who continued to deny that Laura had been sexually abused. Here, a mature writer looks back on the most primal and pivotal relationship in her life. Laura handles the complex emotions and interactions of mother and daughter with deep insight, clarity and compassion. Her storytelling is compelling, poignant and heartfelt. At times gut-wrenching, at other times hilarious, The Burning Light of Two Stars is a ‘must read.’

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Brigit

    “From the opening moment when Laura Davis is called into life by her mother, to their braided, sometimes twisted, often beautiful, long life together, The Burning Light of Two Stars takes us on a journey of two unforgettable, larger-than-life characters. We are pulled into their story and their struggles, and read on to know if they will find it within themselves to make peace together. A tour de force of indelible scenes woven together in an innovative structure, it seemed to me that the pages “From the opening moment when Laura Davis is called into life by her mother, to their braided, sometimes twisted, often beautiful, long life together, The Burning Light of Two Stars takes us on a journey of two unforgettable, larger-than-life characters. We are pulled into their story and their struggles, and read on to know if they will find it within themselves to make peace together. A tour de force of indelible scenes woven together in an innovative structure, it seemed to me that the pages literally turned themselves. Laura Davis’s first book in nineteen years is a major publishing event, not to be missed.” — Carolyn Brigit Flynn, author of Communion and editor of Sisters Singing and Sacred Stone, Sacred Water

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jackie Mccullough

    I loved "The Burning Light of Two Stars." Laura's "Courage to Heal" was my bible while healing from incest and other childhood trauma. This new book is an intimate and vulnerable look at her mother-daughter relationship and the ramifications of that relationship on the whole of her life. She was clear that she, as well as her mother kept "burning" to reconnect and stay connected even when raw unhealed emotions seemed to stand in the way. I was never able to heal my relationship with my mother an I loved "The Burning Light of Two Stars." Laura's "Courage to Heal" was my bible while healing from incest and other childhood trauma. This new book is an intimate and vulnerable look at her mother-daughter relationship and the ramifications of that relationship on the whole of her life. She was clear that she, as well as her mother kept "burning" to reconnect and stay connected even when raw unhealed emotions seemed to stand in the way. I was never able to heal my relationship with my mother and know the longing that keeps driving us back. Laura's courage stands out in this beautifully written memoir that had me feeling a whole range of emotions from sadness to joy and everything in between. It reads like a novel and I highly recommend it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. I quickly ran out of superlatives for The Burning Light of Two Stars because so many of the scenes grabbed me. From the first page, I was fully engaged in Laura’s world and didn’t want to put the book down. It was as if she was speaking my story, her mother a mirror of my own. I am certain this wise exploration of personality challenges set against the backdrop of deep mother-daughter love will resonate broadly. As I pored over I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. I quickly ran out of superlatives for The Burning Light of Two Stars because so many of the scenes grabbed me. From the first page, I was fully engaged in Laura’s world and didn’t want to put the book down. It was as if she was speaking my story, her mother a mirror of my own. I am certain this wise exploration of personality challenges set against the backdrop of deep mother-daughter love will resonate broadly. As I pored over its pages, I didn’t want this beautiful, compelling story to end. And for me, it hasn’t: Laura’s memoir and all of her characters have stayed with me to this day.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Janilyn Kocher

    Davis writes an honest telling of her relationship with her mother, fraught with many pitfalls. I had much empathy as I read all the care that fell on her and her partner as her mother aged. How she has to manage her mother’s care, deal with her mother’s issues, while her brother shirked his responsibilities. Anyone who faces elder care or who has experienced it will have loads of sympathy. The most difficult part of the book, for me was reading about and her brother and her literally watching t Davis writes an honest telling of her relationship with her mother, fraught with many pitfalls. I had much empathy as I read all the care that fell on her and her partner as her mother aged. How she has to manage her mother’s care, deal with her mother’s issues, while her brother shirked his responsibilities. Anyone who faces elder care or who has experienced it will have loads of sympathy. The most difficult part of the book, for me was reading about and her brother and her literally watching their mother be cremated. I thought that was macabre. It’s an interesting book. Thanks to NetGalley, Edelweiss, and Girl Friday Press for the advance copy.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gail B

    If you are a mother, read this book. If you are a daughter, read this book. If you are a mother and a daughter, you have to read this book.”

  22. 5 out of 5

    Betsy Blankenbaker

    I have no doubt that Laura Davis’ memoir, The Burning Light of Two Stars, will be as important as her first book, The Courage to Heal, was when it was first released in 1988. Once again, Laura has written a book about things people don’t usually talk about—silence around family and secrets. With The Burning Light of Two Stars, she offers readers a special gift. It’s almost as if your own family heals as you read about Laura’s determined quest to make peace with her mother. (I received a free cop I have no doubt that Laura Davis’ memoir, The Burning Light of Two Stars, will be as important as her first book, The Courage to Heal, was when it was first released in 1988. Once again, Laura has written a book about things people don’t usually talk about—silence around family and secrets. With The Burning Light of Two Stars, she offers readers a special gift. It’s almost as if your own family heals as you read about Laura’s determined quest to make peace with her mother. (I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my review.)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    This was one of the bravest books I have ever read. Laura Davis brings you directly into the heart of her crucible, again and again with power and vulnerability and a tenderness that is utterly disarming. There were times that the mirror being held up was almost too great to bear, but I simply could not stop reading and found that my heart kept opening, breaking and then piecing itself back together. This book is pure revelation.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen Cherington

    In Laura Davis’ much anticipated new memoir, The Burning Light of Two Stars, we meet two flawed and magnificent women, initially and conveniently well-separated between east and west coasts, then thrust into the same small city as Davis’ mother invites herself three thousand miles to die in proximity to the daughter she’s long berated. So interrupts Davis’ “well ordered life.” Over --- days, Davis gnaws at the bone of her maternal discontents, as we count down to her mother’s inevitable death, w In Laura Davis’ much anticipated new memoir, The Burning Light of Two Stars, we meet two flawed and magnificent women, initially and conveniently well-separated between east and west coasts, then thrust into the same small city as Davis’ mother invites herself three thousand miles to die in proximity to the daughter she’s long berated. So interrupts Davis’ “well ordered life.” Over --- days, Davis gnaws at the bone of her maternal discontents, as we count down to her mother’s inevitable death, watching the hard and honest work of an intimate reconciliation. “I’d become who I was in opposition to her,” Davis writes. “Who would I become without her?” We find out as Davis pulls us inside herself where she invites, hopes, anticipates, backtracks, and finally allows something new to bloom. Together, daughter and mother claim just enough days to find in each other what they’d always wanted. As in the best memoirs, I learned, I grew, I questioned, I contemplated, I changed. Buy this book because it’s Laura Davis and she’s already changed our world once with A Courage to Heal but read it witness and absorb a guide to finding peace with one challenging, complicated person, at the right time, in the right place. Vividly, beautifully, honestly, and vulnerably written. I couldn’t put it down. A tour de force!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    So much solidarity for me in this book, so many windows thrown open. Here are two. A health care practitioner asks Davis’s mom, who has just been diagnosed with dementia, if she has considered suicide. The mom says no, but adds: “But you know what I think. There’s an expression in Yiddish, Mach zuch nischt visindick. It means ‘Pretend you don’t know.’” Mom’s chin trembled as she grasped for something to hold on to. “I’m sorry I came here. I have a label now. I wish I didn’t know.” My German-born So much solidarity for me in this book, so many windows thrown open. Here are two. A health care practitioner asks Davis’s mom, who has just been diagnosed with dementia, if she has considered suicide. The mom says no, but adds: “But you know what I think. There’s an expression in Yiddish, Mach zuch nischt visindick. It means ‘Pretend you don’t know.’” Mom’s chin trembled as she grasped for something to hold on to. “I’m sorry I came here. I have a label now. I wish I didn’t know.” My German-born mother lived by this mantra. She refused to acknowledge the polio that felled her at age eight, and later she refused to concede to post-polio syndrome. For years, I took her refusal to talk about her past personally. Now I know it is a ubiquitous response to tragedy by survivors wishing to distance themselves from all kinds of wars. Another window: “I thought I was past this kind of longing, but I must have been holding on to one last shred of hope. Maybe Mom would find the courage. Maybe Mom would do the work…Maybe she would love me enough…” We are never past the longing. I know it, Laura Davis knows it, and countless other children of difficult parents know it—and groundnuts to those who project their judgment on bereft adult kids who clutch hope. I’ll stop before I quote the whole book. A riveting read and a gift to those caught in the web. Davis embraces us with her vulnerability and self-reveal—a more sustainable form of hope.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Hagan

    Davis has had a complicated relationship with her mother that goes back many years to when she disclosed to her mother that her grandfather (her mother's father) sexually abused her as a child. The mother, Temme, refused to accept this, saying her daughter had to be suffering from false memory syndrome. This leaves Davis hurt and angry, and, thus, mother and daughter become estranged. Then, to Davis' surprise, Temme decides to move to California to be near Davis and her grandchildren. Temme move Davis has had a complicated relationship with her mother that goes back many years to when she disclosed to her mother that her grandfather (her mother's father) sexually abused her as a child. The mother, Temme, refused to accept this, saying her daughter had to be suffering from false memory syndrome. This leaves Davis hurt and angry, and, thus, mother and daughter become estranged. Then, to Davis' surprise, Temme decides to move to California to be near Davis and her grandchildren. Temme moves into an independent senior mobile home park., and Davis and Temme rebuild their relationship and try to enjoy their time together. Then Temme becomes sick and her health takes a serious turn for the worse, and she needs more help than Davis and her brother can provide. Much of this book is about caring for an elderly parent who wants to live on her own, but needs assistance with driving, cooking, taking meds, and just living a safe and healthy life. Davis' experience in finding the right care for her mother and getting her mother to accept that help evolves into a battle--something more and more adults face today. This is an eye-opening book on many levels...fast-paced. well-written, and timely.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mariah Nelson

    I've read a lot of memoirs and this might be the best. The writing flows beautifully, with a natural urgency from one short scene to the next, each scene adding to the complex portrait of this lesbian mother and her mother. When her mother (who has dementia) does not recognize Laura, asking "Who are my children?" Laura responds, "Who was I if Mom didn't know me? I had never stopped revolving around her. I had never escaped her gravitational pull. Nothing tethered me to the earth anymore." How did I've read a lot of memoirs and this might be the best. The writing flows beautifully, with a natural urgency from one short scene to the next, each scene adding to the complex portrait of this lesbian mother and her mother. When her mother (who has dementia) does not recognize Laura, asking "Who are my children?" Laura responds, "Who was I if Mom didn't know me? I had never stopped revolving around her. I had never escaped her gravitational pull. Nothing tethered me to the earth anymore." How did the author and her mother reconcile - even though the mother could not acknowledge that her own father molested Laura? "The most important thing as that we both really wanted to." But what a difficult journey that was, and Laura does not hold back, portraying her resentment of her brother for not helping more; her rage at her mother; her impatience with the overwhelming tasks of eldercare; her own faults and failings along the way -- while also conveying a very touching love story. Another great line: "Mom pushed every button I had. She MADE most of those buttons." :-)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Christa Hillhouse

    As a writing student, I was amazed at the ease Laura Davis moves through the story of her complicated, often painful relationship with her mother, braiding timelines effortlessly and bringing such an honest, clear voice to the scenes and reflection with beautiful prose. As the middle-aged daughter of an elderly mother, I was moved to tears and laughter throughout, grateful for Laura’s honesty and openness. I’d heard some interviews about the book before I bought it, and was beyond curious to und As a writing student, I was amazed at the ease Laura Davis moves through the story of her complicated, often painful relationship with her mother, braiding timelines effortlessly and bringing such an honest, clear voice to the scenes and reflection with beautiful prose. As the middle-aged daughter of an elderly mother, I was moved to tears and laughter throughout, grateful for Laura’s honesty and openness. I’d heard some interviews about the book before I bought it, and was beyond curious to understand how she could have reconciled with her mother. By the end, it made perfect, wonderful sense. It illustrates how growing older informs our perspective and helps us figure out what is truly most important in this life. The audiobook is wonderful and I am so glad Laura chose to narrate it (along with a second voice actor for non-narrator dialog). Listening to her tell her story was a beautifully intimate experience, and no one could have done it justice besides her. Kudos for a very moving and beautifully crafted story!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    Thank you to Loves To Read and Book Trib for this book. Quite an emotional roller coaster with her early childhood molestation by her grandfather that her mother Temme denied, her up and down relationship with her and the care of her through the years, especially when she had dementia. I don't know how people go through this but there are plenty who do so. Her mother was quite the force of nature and I loved and hated her at the same time. Laura was a saint and she did it all herself with pleas t Thank you to Loves To Read and Book Trib for this book. Quite an emotional roller coaster with her early childhood molestation by her grandfather that her mother Temme denied, her up and down relationship with her and the care of her through the years, especially when she had dementia. I don't know how people go through this but there are plenty who do so. Her mother was quite the force of nature and I loved and hated her at the same time. Laura was a saint and she did it all herself with pleas to her brother Paul to help. Thank G-d she had her wife Karyn who was always there to help and be there for her and her kids. I had the tissues ready and I needed them. The only forewarning and I was not prepared for was the cremation of her mother when she died that she and her brother watched until the end. Not my thing and it will never be.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pat A.

    I couldn't put this book down. It's awesome!! Laura has transformed the memoir and taken it to another level. The characters are complex as are the circumstances just as it is in real life. Her emotional honesty leaves you breathless. Anyone who has been estranged from family and or cared for an elderly parent when your relationship has been less than ideal will not only be able to relate but it will open up parts of you that may have been closed because they haven't been discussed before. I wou I couldn't put this book down. It's awesome!! Laura has transformed the memoir and taken it to another level. The characters are complex as are the circumstances just as it is in real life. Her emotional honesty leaves you breathless. Anyone who has been estranged from family and or cared for an elderly parent when your relationship has been less than ideal will not only be able to relate but it will open up parts of you that may have been closed because they haven't been discussed before. I would highly recommend this book to everyone not only those who have similar familial experiences. The Burning Light of Two Stars takes you through good times and sad. It is replenishing for the soul and renews the importance of family values. Coming from a family of childhood sexual abuse where that is challenging to say the least Laura Davis has honored her own struggles as well as her mother's and it gives me hope for reconciliation both within families and society.

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