- Paperback: 412 pages
- Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (September 27, 2016)
Sometimes the only way through darkness is to return to where it began.
Marianne Stokes fled England at seventeen, spiraling into the manic depression that would become her shadow. She left behind secrets, memories, and tragedy: one teen dead, and her first love, Gabriel, badly injured. Three decades later she’s finally found peace in the North Carolina recording studio she runs with her husband, Darius, and her almost-daughter, Jade…until another fatality propels her back across the ocean to confront the long-buried past.
In her picturesque childhood village, the first person she meets is the last person she wants to see again: Gabriel. Now the village vicar, he takes her in without question, and ripples of what if reverberate through both their hearts. As Marianne’s mind unravels, Jade and Darius track her down. Tempers clash when everyone tries to help, but only by finding the courage to face her illness can Marianne heal herself and her offbeat family.
Buy, read, and discuss this book:
A Brit living in North Carolina, Barbara Claypole White writes hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of mental illness. Her debut novel, The Unfinished Garden, won the 2013 Golden Quill Contest for Best First Book, and The In-Between Hour was chosen by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance as a Winter 2014 Okra Pick. Her third novel, The Perfect Son, was a semifinalist in the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Fiction.
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I’ve heard Barbara Claypole White’s name forever, it seems, and yet Echoes of Family is the first time I’ve actually read her writing. Even so, falling into this novel was like falling into the story of an old friend. Marianne, with the trauma that has lingered with her from girlhood, is sometimes manic, sometimes darkly depressed, but always a force to be reckoned with, and she loves with all her heart, when her head lets her. Jade, her unofficially adopted daughter is also a compelling character, and watching the way the stories of these two women unfold and overlap each other was incredibly rewarding and satisfying.
Fundamentally, this novel is about family – the kind we’re born to and the kind we choose – but it’s also about grief, loss, personal growth, and letting go of the things we cannot change, or that merely fester in the deepest parts of psyches. Claypole’s characters are dimensional and real, but it’s her handling of the interpersonal relationships between them that I found completely gripping. The simplest interactions are laced with nuance and subtlety that just sings off the page.
If you enjoy contemporary fiction with female characters who are both strong and realistically flawed, you will absolutely love Echoes of Family.
Sunday, September 25th: Writer Unboxed – guest post, “Ten Tips for Writing Through Family Stress”
Monday, September 26th: BookBub Blog – “Family Crises of the Month Book Club”
Tuesday, September 27th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, September 28th: Just One More Chapter
Friday, September 30th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, October 3rd: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Monday, October 3rd: BookNAround
Wednesday, October 5th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Thursday, October 6th: Broken Teepee
Friday, October 7th: Not in Jersey
Tuesday, October 11th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Thursday, October 13th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Friday, October 14th: Books ‘n Bindings
Monday, October 17th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, October 18th: The Baking Bookworm
Wednesday, October 19th: Bibliotica
Monday, October 24th: Mom’s Small Victories