by Barbara Claypole White
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
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.
“Claypole White’s gift is her ability to put us into the troubled minds of her characters in a way that helps us not only understand them but fall in love with them as well. We discover that while their minds may be different from ours, their hearts are the same.” —Diane Chamberlain, USA Today bestselling author of Pretending to Dance
“Echoes of Family is a masterfully written novel that is both difficult to put down, and difficult to forget after the final page. In this powerful novel, Claypole White weaves that narrative that draws the reader into a personal relationship with the characters and has you rooting for them, in spite of their many flaws. This book kept my attention until all secrets were revealed in its dramatic conclusion. I look forward to many more from Claypole White.” —Sally Hepworth, bestselling author of The Things We Keep
“Barbara Claypole White has done it again—created a quirky cast of characters and then taken us along as they go on a journey through madness and out the other side. Music, England, love, loss, and nature all collide in this beautiful exploration of how the echoes of our past can sometimes drown out the present. Matthew Quick fans will feel right at home.” —Catherine McKenzie, bestselling author of Spin and Hidden
If she’d passed him on the street, he would have been a stranger, this man who had once been her co-conspirator, her conscience when she didn’t have one, her best friend, her childhood sweetheart, her first love. The guy who represented childish pranks and first gropes. The person who had every reason, plus a few extra, to hate her.
It seemed he was stuck in a repeating pattern of dysfunction, dating and marrying crazy like a repeat offender who’d never heard of three strikes.
Gorging on chocolate might not have been the best idea, but when you didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, and didn’t do drugs, how else could you get a quick fix?
At the risk of sounding like a trailer for a B-list horror movie, it takes a village to keep you safe when you have demons gnawing at your brain. So please, if you know people battling mental illness don’t judge them when they fail, which they will do. Help them get back up, as Gabriel and my family have done for me… EmJ and I have both failed. But we are not failures.
Take it from an expert: you’re never truly lost if someone cares enough to come find you. Lost is waiting to be found.
Echoes Of Family was a difficult read, about a difficult woman, who was difficult to like. Large sections of the book kept me taut with tension, yet like coming upon an accident scene, I couldn’t stop or look away. Mental illness is generally cruel and nondiscriminatory, and so was the heroine of this story. Marrianne was bipolar, a condition also known as manic-depression. She was prone to extremes – stubborn, impulsive, selfish, immature, messy, loud, high maintenance, and demanding, and when off her medication – even more so and add in violent, and cruel. The narrative was written in third person and prone to torrents of emotion that squeezed my heart. The writing was meticulously detailed with each scene complete with all manner of tiny and observant touches, which became rather disquieting and disturbing during Marianne’s manic phases. This was my first experience in reading this author’s thoughtful and masterful word-craft, and despite the periods of discomfort, she can count me as a new follower.
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.
Connect with Barbara