The Godmother – Hannelore Cayre, translated by Stephanie Smee

The Godmother was sassy and fun and from the first page I was immediately smitten with our narrator, the Widow Portefeux. She was sarcastic, independent and relatable in more than a few ways. I also loved that it was a novel about a middle-aged woman that didn’t rely on motherhood or a romantic relationship to push the plot along. Yes, Patience is a mother and has a detective boyfriend but in the story they exist more as an idea than complex,  detailed characters.


The pacing in The Godmother was excellent and the overall length of the novel was perfect, leaving me more than satisfied but wanting more. The translation by Smee was flawless and smooth. Cayre’s writing was wickedly funny and I found myself laughing out loud more than a few times – so beware if reading in public. I honestly did not want to put it down the whole time I was reading it. In fact I honestly had not expected to enjoy it as much as I did.


The tone and voice used was perfection – I just adored the Widow Portefeux who is just your typical woman hustling to make a living. Cayre manages to balance the relatable and outlandish aspects of the plot expertly keeping the reader entertained but not going overboard. Much is packed into this little novel and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it, perfect for those interested in reading women in translation. Unique from other books  I have read and wildly entertaining I’m grateful this book made it’s way into my hands.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s