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ECHOES OF FAMILY: A Novel ~Barbara Claypole White

Monday, September 26th, 2016

“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. (Cover)

Marianne is a mature woman who suffers with Bipolar Disorder and other mental health issues.  She also runs a successful recording studio with her husband Darius and her adoptive daughter Jade.  They all work and enjoy music together on Marianne’s property in North Carolina; there is a state of the art studio.  Marianne has not been suicidal for an extended period of time, but due to a recent car accident she is obsessing about another car accident in which her friend Simon died and she lost her pregnancy.  She believes Simon’s brother Gabriel is taking the blame and she wishes to remedy this problem – right now.

The vast majority of the story takes place in a small British town centered on the historic church where Gabriel is the rector.  Marianne stops taking her medications and sneaks out of her house and off to the UK to help Gabriel truly understand that the car accident was her fault and not his.  They were just 16 at the time.  Marianne also needs to understand why her birth mother rejected her and why her adoptive parents did not reject her.  They did move the family to the United States after the accident and after Marianne had a big “incident” in the community, as mental illness was becoming a new problem.

It does not take long for Jade and Darius to figure out where Marianne has gone and they too are soon part of Gabriel’s life as this family takes over his life, his house and all his time.  There are some wonderful, delightful British characters in the story and as Marianne ends up in a private mental hospital there are connections made, which have interesting consequences.

The story holds the reader’s attention with plenty of details and descriptions and one can certainly identify with the frustrations that mental illness brings to situations.  There are several happy endings and one difficult one to bring the story to a good conclusion.  I liked the included book group question section and there is a great interview with the author included.  A very good read and I am going to suggest it to my book group to add it to the list. A sensitive treatment of Bipolar Disorder and an engaging read.

TLC Book Tours  sent me an e-copy for reading and review.

There is a 100 e-copy giveaway on Goodreads for this book!

Barbara Claypole White On Facebook
Barbara Claypole White Twitter

A Piece of Sand, A Grain of Rice
The Isolation Door
Mind Without A Home

Sometimes a Gift is Just Right

Thursday, January 27th, 2011
Knitting Bowl

Knitting Bowl

My hobby is giving gifts.  When I was a child I liked to give random gifts in order to appreciate someone being my friend.  My sister used to taunt me and say, “You have to buy your friends.”   That was not it really.

I then started working on finding gifts for people that were “just right” and not giving gifts too often, just when it was the right time and it meant something.   Gifts were a new level of connection for me.

My biggest mistake in life is also related to gift giving, I never got paid my worth for any of the jobs I performed.   I gave away my talents and expertise so folks decided they did not need to pay me or give me benefits, because I gave my all.

There is reciprocity to gifts and without that give and take, there is no connection.  Gift giving can just be an action.

I was determined to teach my children about the give and take of gifts and also the magic of gifts.

This year they came through with awesome success, even though I told them I was only going to feed everyone as my gift.

The top picture is of a knitting bowl.  The weight and channel keep the pottery bowl stable and allow the yarn to just be dispensed freely.  Not so good on the floor with a new puppy, but on the table next to the chair and pair of socks are coming along nicely.   IT Girl found this delight on line and she also spent nearly 5 hours rebuilding my computer.  There we were all sharing an afternoon of knitting and using our knitting bowls with ease.  Lots of connections here.

Library Girl and Entrepreneurial Girl are both at new jobs so they went together and celebrated new puppy with a gift certificate to the healthy store in town and each brought a treat and a toy.  They honored my rules of no human treats for the pup and not on beds and added some tricks like “down”, and “sit” to the routine – not to mention hours of play so I could do all the cooking that was needed.
Connections were made.  Just the perfect gifts shared and appreciated – reciprocity.

Here is a big Thank You Hug and Smooch!
Just the right gifts!

Here is the link for Julie Knowles Pottery where the bowls were discovered.

And Mud Bay Pets for Healthy Dogs and Cats.

Related Reading you Might Also Enjoy:
I Knit Socks
Merle’s Door

I am thankful for these connecting gifts; do you have a Just Right Gift story to share?  Hope so!  I am looking forward to your great comments below.