“The Seven Daughters”

Having let the genetics direct me to the times and places where the seven clan mothers most likely lived, I drew on well-established archaeological and climate records to inform myself about…these seven women, Ursula, Xenia, Helena, Velda, Tara, Katrine, and Jasmine. They were real people, genetically almost identical to us, their descendents, but living in very different circumstances. What lives they must have led” (201). 

After spending a number of chapters providing the narrative behind an intensive and stressful defense of the methods upon which his research was based, Sykes finally gets to what the readers have all been waiting for (or, at least, what one would have assumed that we have all been waiting for, given the literal title of the book)—the seven daughters of Eve! 

Except, as much as it might hurt to say, what you come to realize upon finishing the book is that this next section serves those with the more imaginative minds and is more or less completely fictional. Now, this is not to say that I did not thoroughly enjoy this half of the book, but rather that, between my moments of annoyance and discomfort (let’s just say that some of his descriptions of primitive women seem borderline creepy at times—I’m looking at you, Ursula), I found myself engulfed in the theoretical lives of the seven clan mothers. 

In seven chapters, each titled a different clan mother, Sykes provides brief life narratives of the seven women. Aside from offering useful information such as time period, climate, tool usage, and geographic location, Sykes spends the majority of his time imagining the theoretical details of each mitochondrial mother’s life, such as personality, relationships, and deaths. For the sake of brevity, I will be providing the snippets of seemingly nonfictional details regarding each of these seven women in the following sections. If you want to imagine what they were each like on a personal level, use your imagination (or just read these chapters yourself)!