The artist’s daughter

There’s something magically delicious about entering a story, when you get lost in the setting, the sights and smells, the delightful word play that sharpens the focus as you imagine the story unfold in your mind. And when that great story can help you live a better story of your own? Even better.

The Artist’s Daughter is Alexandra Kuykendall‘s story of how she grew up a nomad with her single mother in the 80s, traveling between the U.S., Italy, and Spain—and how she first met her Spanish father at eight years old.

From there, she regales personal stories of disappointment and surprise in her father, what it was like to live life in the States while he lived a different one in Europe, and how this significant relationship has affected her up till now, as an adult with a family of her own.

the artist's daughter

Alexandra bravely delights in motherhood and in being a wife, learning how to make friends, live in new locations, and cultivate her gifts—all in the backdrop of being the child of a eccentric Spanish father and a loving American mom.

I love the questions her book poses: Am I lovable? Am I loved? And am I loving?

Her first book is her own story, and it’s a beautifully-told one. Turning the pages means getting permission to travel through France, walk cobblestoned Spanish streets, and set up grown-up lives in Colorado and Oregon. And the end left me delightfully hanging, wanting to know what happened with her father’s will.

Trevi Fountain

This book is a great summer read that’s both a good story and a good thinker. Who defines us? Why do we matter? And what do we choose to do when life is less than ideal?


Ten readers will win a copy of Alex’s book, The Artist’s Daughter! To enter to win, leave any comment on this post. (If you’re reading this via email, please click over to the post to comment.)

The giveaway has now ended. We’ll announce the winners soon!

top photo source
Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. brooke wagen says:

    i would love to read this. sounds like my kind of ‘get out of my own head’ kind of story.

  2. This book sounds like a great read! The YouTube video made me cry and I agree that none of us has arrived!

  3. I am on a memoir bender the past few years and would love to read this one!

  4. Sona Jacob says:

    Sounds like a really good read! As someone who grew up with an absent father, it is a subject that is very close to the heart.

  5. Thanks for the review. I love a book that allows us to experience life through another’s eyes – whether their experiences are similar or different to ours. Either way, there are always similar threads that connect us and that we can identify with. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of this fabulous book!

  6. Margaret says:

    Sounds great.

  7. I attended the same MOPS group as Alex (unfortunately it was just after she left) and I was blessed to hear her mother-in-law speak at MOPS. She has a wonderful, God-filled story…I keep going back to the bookstore to read it and would love to have my own copy!

  8. Oh my goodness, I was *just thinking* what a delightful read that sounds like, and how I should add it to my own list. Oh I hope I win!
    (either way, I’m reading it, I love memoirs that include continental travel!)
    Sarah M

  9. I just finished the Call the Midwife books and find myself wanting another grace filled memoir… This sounds perfect!

  10. Sounds like a great story to read. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy. 🙂

  11. I would love to win the book!

  12. This sounds like a great book to read. I love reading non-fiction and especially love stories of girls growing up (since I was one and am now raising one)!

  13. Sounds like a really fascinating journey and book.

  14. This sounds like a great book!

  15. Its now on my ‘to read’ list!

  16. I love memoirs and this sounds like one that will make me think about some important issues.

  17. I’m intrigued. And I could use a good story.

  18. Jen Gould says:

    Sounds like an interesting read

  19. This sounds wonderful. I was looking for a great book to read this summer. Thanks for the give-away! Blessings.

  20. I could use an light, thought-provoking read.

  21. This sounds like a really great book!

  22. Just had a baby and well we all know how that can have you questioning who you are and what you want to be. Would love to read!

  23. Melissa says:

    I, too, grew up with a single mother who loved to take my sister and me on amazing, wild adventures all over the globe. Although the one thing I really craved was a stable home life, the experiences she gave me have largely shaped who I am today. Now, living in the Middle East with my husband and three children, I can see how those experiences growing up in a bit of chaos and uncertainty have helped me to navigate chaotic waters in my life now…with more grace, patience, and understanding than I could have mustered up on my own. This book sounds like a fantastic memoir that may be similar to my own, if I were to ever write one! Love from Jerusalem…

  24. that sounds wonderful, I would love to read it!
    greetings from Vienna, Eva

  25. HelenaS says:

    This sounds like something I definitely will be reading whilst visiting family in Italy for the summer! Went on to my book list straight away.

  26. That’s a really beautifully written review. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  27. Carlie V. says:

    It’s on my reading to-do list to read more memoirs. I read a bunch of biographies a few years back, but since then I’ve been reading mostly non-fiction and novels. I need to branch out a bit.

  28. Sounds great! Maybe it can help me with my daddy issues.

  29. Beth Anne says:

    I would love to read this!

  30. I ask myself those same questions all the time…we all want to be loved….

  31. Jessica says:

    Sounds fantastic!

  32. Catherine says:

    I would love to read this!

  33. Sounds like an interesting book! I’d love to win, but if not I will be hitting up my local library!

  34. Oh funny, this book is on my wishlist!!! I am dying to read it – so I will have to grab it now that I have read this post!!!

  35. This looks like a great read. Thank you for the chance to win!

  36. This book recommendation comes at the perfect time. Thanks for sharing!

  37. I am always excited to find good fiction! I read so much non-fiction, I so very much appreciate the break for my mind. Thanks for sharing the title!!

  38. Kathryn says:

    Sounds fabulous, definitely will be picking this up for vacation.

  39. Jennifer P says:

    I’m ready for my next book this summer. Thanks for the giveaway!

  40. It sounds like a beautiful story. Thanks for the giveaway.

  41. Sounds like a great book – I love memoirs!

  42. Jessica says:

    This looks like a great read! Added it to my summer reading list!

  43. Charmin says:

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  44. I would love to read this!! I love reading biographies and I was just in Italy in April. We are a military family living in Europe right now and I LOVE it. There are many things about Europe that I wish were the same in the U.S. Alas, I must enjoy my time here while I can!

  45. I read another book you recommended this summer, The Paris Wife, and it was pretty good. Thanks for the giveaway!

  46. I would enjoy reading this book – sounds very interesting. Thanks for the giveaway!

  47. Sounds delightful! And with Shauna Niequist endorsing on the cover… must be good! So, I guess this means I have to wait until Sunday before I buy it, in case I win! 🙂

  48. Sounds like a wonderful book! Thank you for the giveaway opportunity!

  49. Johanna says:

    I’d love to read this!

  50. Having moved a lot as a child and being an only child, it was difficult. I would love to read the book to see how she dealt with it!

  51. Denise P says:

    Sounds like a great read. I am always interested in how relationships in our early lives impact our future selves, especially now since I am a mom to a little boy.

  52. Sounds fascinating!

  53. I recognized her from our Mops videos. 🙂 Sounds like an incredible story. Thanks for the chance to win!

  54. Sounds like a great book!

  55. You’ve piqued my interest! Summer reading list just got an addition.

  56. This looks like a great book–would love to read it!

  57. Looks like a good book!

  58. Kate N. says:

    Thanks for the chance to win this book. It sounds amazing!


  59. ShannonM says:

    I am ready for a book like this one! I would love to be one of the winners!

  60. Heather Abbott says:

    Sounds like a really good book!

  61. Fran heupel says:

    This looks like a wonderful read formy summer vacation. Loved seeing the video.

  62. wow, aren’t those the questions we all ask? I know I’m loved, but am I lovable? Loving?
    I’m seeing the “am I loved” question peer out of my children’s eyes at the most random moments … goodness!

  63. Gretchen D says:

    This sounds like a fascinating I would love read.

  64. Christa says:

    This story really appeals to me. I would love to read it! Thanks!!!

  65. Ooh! Looks like a great book. Thanks for the review!

  66. I would love this for a summer read!

  67. I think most of us struggle with some of those issues/questions… though we need to love ourselves to be able to be loved.

  68. Wow what a beautiful story! I can’t wait to read this someday.

  69. I’ve been hearing about this book and would like to read it. Thanks!

  70. Rebecca in PA says:

    Sounds fascinating! I would love to win!

  71. Kristin says:

    Sounds like a good read!

  72. I can’t remember the last time I’ve read a memoir, but you had me at Italy. I’d love to read this book!

  73. This sounds like a fascinating book, thanks for the review, Tsh. I’m adding it to my good reads list!

  74. Kimberly says:

    Didn’t I hear a segment on NPR about this book?

  75. Kate O. says:

    Sounds like a really good book. Would love to read it!

  76. I can’t WAIT to read this book 🙂

  77. definately my kind of book..thank you for your generosity…

  78. Maybe this will be my book clubs next pick!

  79. Amanda H says:

    Sounds like a good read!

  80. This sounds like a very inspirational story, that I’d be honored to read. I would love to win this book as I am always looking for something positive to read. Hearing someone else’s story many times gives me the guidance I need for my own life.

  81. Megan B. says:

    So intrigued by this true story…would really love to win the book.

  82. This story sounds delightful! I would love to read it.

  83. I would love to read this with my daughter of an artist who thinks her life is rough–her dad and I are still happily married though!

  84. Bobbiann says:

    Sounds like a great read!

  85. This sounds like an awesome book.
    I would be delighted to win!

  86. Katie N. says:

    I love the questions the book asks, things I have been thinking about in my role as a mom. I would love to win.

  87. Tricia Paoluccio says:

    I would love to read this book…
    We are a family of artists living in NYC, and while still in tact, we have kind of a gypsy lifestyle traveling around….I’d love to read what it was like for her…as I anticipate when my kids are older they will be traveling alone with their dad when he goes to work, because I don’t want them to miss their father so much. I’m grateful to have your recommendation of this book in any case….Thanks!

  88. Cortney says:

    Oh! How I love a good memoir!

  89. Heather says:

    Right up my alley at this point in my life. Would love to win. Thank you!

  90. I would love to read this book! I love your review on it. 🙂 Thank you so much for this opportunity.

  91. This sounds like the perfect beach or plane read! 🙂

  92. Would love to read this book!

  93. Pamela R says:

    This sounds great. Thanks for the chance.

  94. Pauline says:

    Sounds like a fabulous read – I’d love to win this!

  95. I always love a good book!

  96. Mary Preston says:

    What a wonderful read THE ARTIST’S DAUGHTER promises to be. Yes please!!

  97. Great summer read to travel to wonderful places!

  98. This is on my to read list….now I can’t wait!

  99. This sounds like a great story! Thanks for the review!

  100. I love a good book! Especially in the summer. Thanks, Tsh!