Last updated on November 19th, 2023
Featured image: Cordoba, Spain by Envato Elements
Travel by book to Córdoba, Spain
By Carolyn Ray, Editor, JourneyWoman
Our February 2021 Book of the Month is “All My Mothers” by Joanna Glen. Set in London and Córdoba, Spain, it is an uplifting and perceptive novel that explores the themes of motherhood and loss. I felt so connected to the characters, and to this beautiful city, where author Joanna Glen lived and went to school. Much of the book is written from her personal experiences, as she shares in our video interview below.
Although I’ve only spent a few days in Córdoba in 2015, it lingers in my memory. Located in Andalusia, Spain, near Seville and Malaga, it grew to be the second-largest city in Europe by the 10th century. Like much of Spain, this area was settled and ruled by the Phoenicians, Visigoths, Romans, and Muslims. In the eighth century, it was taken over by Muslim conquests and became the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba.
Córdoba has more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than anywhere in the world, including the Alcázar, the Roman bridge and the Mezquita-Catedral (Great Mosque of Córdoba), which is now a cathedral. Built from 784- 786 AD by Abd al-Rahman, the Mezquita is one of the most famous monuments of Western Islamic (Moorish) architecture, combining aspects of Islamic architecture with some indigenous elements of Roman and Visigothic architecture. After the Christian conquest of the city the mosque was converted to a cathedral, but much of the original structure remains, making it one of the most astonishing sights I have ever seen The UNESCO status has since been expanded to encompass the whole historic centre of Córdoba, Medina-Azahara and Festival de los Patios.. (Source: Wikipedia)
About “All My Mothers” set in Córdoba, Spain
Eva is growing up with parents, with whom she just doesn’t seem to bond – Dad is Spanish from Andalucía and Mum is a fragile, reclusive woman who has no motherly warmth. They simply don’t feel like her tribe and when she discovers a photo of herself as a child, with the head of the female caregiver removed, she decides that she really needs to understand more about her heritage. Dad then abandons his little family and returns to his home country of Spain, leaving the two females floundering.
She is driven to study in Córdoba, where she somehow feels she belongs. Her father, she knows, is in the vicinity and there is a good chance she might bump into him, of course. And it is there that she starts her search for her childhood history. It is a convoluted path to uncovering the secrets that have permeated her life and consciousness, a preoccupation that consumes her.
Watch our interview with Joanna Glen
Joanna Glen read Spanish at the University of London, and lost her heart to Andalusia whilst studying at the Faculty of Arts in Córdoba. She went on to become a teacher of English and Spanish, and a school principal. Joanna’s debut novel, The Other Half of Augusta Hope, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award.
In this interview, Joanna and Carolyn talk about why she wrote the book, what she learned and motherhood. She also shares her first-hand tips on Cordoba.