Anita Terpstra / Anita Terpstra – All My Mothers

Anita Terpstra – All My Mothers

Anita Terpstra – All My Mothers

About the book

Apart from the fact that her grandparents were born and buried there, Anita Terpstra knew almost nothing about the history of the Frisian village of Harkema, until a friend forwarded her a disconcerting article asking: ‘This is where your family comes from, isn’t it?’

It is the beginning of a search for the background of her ancestors, the village and its surroundings. An area traditionally notorious for its extreme poverty, inbreeding and population of alcoholics, criminals, immorals and illiterate. A place where, moreover, people still lived in huts and converted chicken coops until the mid-20th century. Why did her family have to live in poverty for so long? The answer to that question turns out to be inextricably linked to the history of the peat and moorlands in the eastern part of Friesland.

Terpstra’s cheeks are burning in this family saga (…) In the course of her research she has unearthed a chapter in regional social history that’s still shocking today, with the plight of women at its heart.
– Trouw

An extraordinarily frank, honest family history, with the mothers taking center stage, the force that keeps the community together.
– Geschiedenis Magazine

When you finish this impressive historical saga you find yourself thinking that every village deserves a book like this.
– NRC Handelsblad

An impressive ode to seven generations of women.
– de Volkskrant


ANITA TERPSTRA (b. 1974) studied journalism and art history. She previously wrote acclaimed thrillers and Full House, a successful non-fiction book about large families from the past, and the novel Mother Mafia.

© Keke Keukelaar

Additional book information

  • Memoir
  • ISBN 9789400408937
  • Number of pages: 218
  • World rights: Thomas Rap
  • Price: €23,99