Many nascent writers would shrink from a career in publishing if their mother were a bestselling novelist. Not Ann Kidd Taylor, whose first foray into print is a mother-daughter memoir chronicling the history of two women as they "travel together in quest of sacred feminine images in art and history."

With all the exuberance so admired in her fiction, Sue Monk Kidd ("The Secret Life of Bees") contributes alternating chapters in "Traveling With Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story," exploring Greece, France and spiritual points in between. The elder writer examines what it means to be a woman as menopause and middle age set in. "In what seems like a cruel trick of timing, women often find themselves letting go of their daughters around the same time they must let go of their identities as younger women."

As her fertility wanes, Kidd finds unexpected solace in the shadow of the Black Madonna of Rocamadour. Taylor, on the other hand, is on the precipice of true adulthood, conducting a mystical search for self as a budding writer and newlywed. At the chapel of Joan of Arc, she lights a candle, beseeching her idol to "help me listen to my own voice ... help me find the courage to do it." She needn't have worried. Taylor's voice is strong and moving, every bit as poignant as her mother's, proof positive that often the divine is closer than we think.