In the eyes of the world, the woman in the iconic photo called Migrant Mother has become a symbol of the devastation of the Great Depression. But outside of the instant of the picture, what was her life? Who was the baby in her arms? What was behind her eyes? In Mary Coin, Marisa Silver imagines a life for that mother, for the photographer, and for the modern historian who is drawn into their story. Mary Coin is not Florence Owens Thompson, the real migrant mother, and the fictional Vera Dare is not the photographer Dorothea Lange, but in Silver’s hands the timeless truth of their stories shines through. Mary Coin is a stunning portrait of perseverance, yearning, and bravery. In the lives of both Mary and Vera we see the persistence of a mother’s love in the face of relentless adversity, and how bravery isn’t found in one grand gesture, but in a thousand small choices made every day. Silver’s voice which truly channels Steinbeck’s is immediate, compassionate, and modern, yet timeless enough to take in the scope of the twentieth century without feeling out of place. She brilliantly captures the longing we all have to fully understand the ones we love, and the heartbreak in understanding that we never can. My favourite book this month and the perfect Mother’s Day gift.