Tag Archives: Literature

The In-Between Hour by Barbara Claypole White

The In-Between Hours Cover“Tree frogs croaked a concerto, and snuffling came from the compost pile. The raccoons were out in force. Above, an expanse of night sky shimmered with stars. Man, he’d forgotten the glory of Southern nights–how he was drawn to the stillness, the raw energy. As a kid, he’d loved reading or writing in the middle of the night. Unless there was a storm to whip up her craziness, terror tended to come with the light, when his mom was awake.”

~ Barbara Claypole White,
The In-Between Hour

Synopsis: 

Bestselling author Will Shepard is caught in the twilight of grief, after his young son dies in a car accident. But when his father’s aging mind erases the memory, Will rewrites the truth. The story he spins brings unexpected relief…until he’s forced to return to rural North Carolina, trapping himself in a lie.

Holistic veterinarian Hannah Linden is a healer who opens her heart to strays but can only watch, powerless, as her grown son struggles with inner demons. When she rents her guest cottage to Will and his dad, she finds solace in trying to mend their broken world, even while her own shatters.

As their lives connect and collide, Will and Hannah become each other’s only hope—if they can find their way into a new story, one that begins with love.

 (Image and synopsis via TLC Book Tours)

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My Thoughts:

The In-Between Hour is an emotional and intense story of surviving tragedy, grief and loss. Each of Barbara Claypole White’s characters is facing a struggle: Will the loss of his five-year old son, Will’s father Jacob the loss of his mental faculties due to Alzheimer’s, Hannah the potential loss of her son Galen to his drug and alcohol additions.

White’s first paragraphs caught my attention, and she didn’t let go until the last page:

Will imagined silence. The silence of snowfall in the forest. The silence at the top of a crag. But eighty floors below his roof garden, another siren screeched along Central Park West.

Nausea nibbled–a hungry goldfish gumming him to death. Maybe this week’s diet of Zantac and PBR beer was to blame. Or maybe grief was a degenerative disease, destroying him from the inside out. Dissolving his organs. One. By. One.

With these words, White introduces us to a story filled with grit, emotion, pain of loss, and love. Each chapter pulls the reader along through the story with a sense of hope for these people who are hurting.

We all want such stories to end with a positive conclusion, and White doesn’t disappoint, but I am not charged with telling you what that ending is. You, the reader, must discover this when you read The In-Between Hour.

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My Recommendation: 

The In-Between Hour has a little something for everyone: tension, mystery, struggling characters, and a bit of romance. Included in the cast of characters are the curious yet interesting personalities of people like your next door neighbor. And the author shares some vivid scenes from the North Carolina State Natural Area which includes Occoneechee Mountain, an incredibly beautiful place. Please don’t miss this wonderfully crafted story by a gifted writer.

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CLICK HERE TO SEE BARBARA’S OTHER TOUR STOPS

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Meet the Author:

Author Barbara Claypole WhiteI grew up in rural England, studied history at York University, and worked in the London fashion industry before falling in love with an American professor I met at JFK Airport. Twenty-five years later, we live in the North Carolina forest with our award-winning poet / musician / lyricist son.

I love all things gardening and all things OCD. My debut novel, THE UNFINISHED GARDEN, is a love story about grief, OCD, and dirt. TUG was Simply Books # 1 Romantic Book of 2012, and a finalist in the 2013 Golden Quill, Write Touch Readers’ Award, and New England Readers’ Choice Beanpot Award contests. THE IN-BETWEEN HOUR follows in January 2014.

I blog about the writing life at bookpregnant.blogspot.com and girlfriendbooks.blogspot.com, and parenting an OCD teen at easytolove.com

For more information, please visit my website, barbaraclaypolewhite.com.

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DETAILS ABOUT THE BOOK | DISCLAIMER:

Publication Date: December 31, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Genre: Literature, Adult Fiction
Kindle: 554 KB | Printed: 834 pages
Source: NetGalley

I received a copy of The In-Between Hour from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Friday Favorites | Favorite Christmas Reads

Christmas is only another five days away, and I’m ready! I’ve been ready for some time since we’ve committed to what we call the “Meyer Minimalist Christmas” with retirement. “Minimalist” covers the amount of decorating, time spent shopping (not to mention dollars spent), commitments of time made, and lastly how much we bake and eat.

Now that’s out of the way I’ve spent a good deal of time remembering Christmases past and the books I received at Christmas or read before, during, or after the holidays.

First, two literary classics:

Classic Collage

And on to three childhood favorites:

Children's Collage

More recent in the Christmas story genre are the following, a small representation if you do a search for “popular Christmas books” on Goodreads. The books shown here are a few of my personal favorites at Christmastime:

Richard Paul Evans' Christmas Box Trilogy, Books 1 and 2

Richard Paul Evans’ Christmas Box Trilogy, Books 1 and 2
(still need to read Book 3)

Kincaid Baldacci Collage

This Year Different

And last, but not least, favorites from my days as a young reader, loving all things girlish:

Little Women

I’ve always thought Little Women made for a great read at the holidays.

Via Etsy

And there were the Anne of Green Gables books my dad always thought of
at Christmas (and birthdays).

Little House

Christmas break always meant time to read more of the Little House books.

Now you know some of my favorite reads around the Christmas holidays.

What are some of yours? Anything special? Anything here? Leave a comment sharing something about your favorite holiday reading.

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Found Between the Covers is closing down for the holidays.
The next post appears the first week in January with a review of
The Gods of Heavenly Punishment by Jennifer Cody Epstein (including a giveaway).
Until then, happy holidays to all!

merrychristmas

 

 

House at the End of Hope Street by Menna Van Praag

Cover

The  House at the End
of Hope Street
by Menna Van Praag
Publisher:  Pamela Dorman Books
| Viking
Published:  April 4, 2013
Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult)
Source: NetGalley.com

A magical debut about an enchanted house that offers refuge to women in their time of need

Distraught that her academic career has stalled, Alba is walking through her hometown of Cambridge, England, when she finds herself in front of a house she’s never seen before, 11 Hope Street. A beautiful older woman named Peggy greets her and invites her to stay, on the house’s usual conditions: she has ninety-nine nights to turn her life around. With nothing left to lose, Alba takes a chance and moves in.

She soon discovers that this is no ordinary house. Past residents have included George Eliot and Beatrix Potter, who, after receiving the assistance they needed, hung around to help newcomers—literally, in talking portraits on the wall. As she escapes into this new world, Alba begins a journey that will heal her wounds—and maybe even save her life.

Filled with a colorful and unforgettable cast of literary figures, The House at the End of Hope Street is a charming, whimsical novel of hope and feminine wisdom that is sure to appeal to fans of Jasper Fforde and especially Sarah Addison Allen.

My Thoughts:

An upfront confession:  I requested this book from NetGalley.com because of the enchanting cover art. Sometimes the cover will draw me in before anything else clicks about a book.

The House at the End of Hope Street, described as “Literature/Fiction (Adult),” seemed more  fantasy as I started to read.  Another confession I must share is that fantasy is completely outside my reading box. But I persevered, and soon I fell in love with this writer’s style and the characters who are so vivid and alive.  Well, some of them are alive.

Alba Ashby, an odd little character for a variety of reasons, is at the bleakest point in a life filled with disappointments and a rather unlovable family.  Alba has abandoned her degree at Cambridge and comes upon the house while walking down Hope Street.  Suddenly, she notices a house she’s never seen before.  That’s because this house is only visible to those who need it.

As the door opens to Alba, she is greeted by Peggy, the current landlady, who inherited the house and the role of the house’s keeper as the next in line in the Abbott family.  Soon, Alba meets other residents, Carmen and Greer, whose lives seems as bleak as hers. Each woman has a special need, but can’t seem to see how to help herself.  And they have only 99 nights at the house.

The house is as alive as its current inhabitants.  Its walls expand and contract as the house breathes, and lampshades bow to the women as they pass by.  Amazingly, the house senses the women’s needs and leaves notes of encouragement for them.

Alba is cast in the role of primary character and the story focuses on this young women who is brilliant and has the ability to see smells and colors.  Additionally, Alba is an avid reader and fascinated to learn that some very famous women writers have also been at the house:  Edna Ferber, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, and Agatha Christie, just to mention a few.  Their portraits hang in the hallway and as time passes by, these women engage in conversation with Alba trying to help her see she can improve her situation.

The more I read this book the more I didn’t want it to end.  Van Praag uses a strong literary fiction style, and the writer’s description of the house and its characteristics made me want to live there, especially if it would be possible to talk with all those wonderful women who have gone before me as writers.

Additionally, the characters are so realistic I came to feel as if they were friends or acquaintances.  The realities of their lives despite being painful led to a universal theme of working toward solutions to problems which seem insurmountable, while receiving hope and encouragement from people who care what happens to you.

I highly recommend this book.  I will read it again and again.  It will stay in my Kindle library forever!

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Meet the Author:

AuthorMenna van Praag was born in Cambridge, England and studied Modern History at Oxford University. Her first novella – an autobiographical tale about a waitress who aspires to be a writer – Men, Money & Chocolate has been translated into 26 languages. Her first work of literary fiction, The House at the End of Hope Street, was inspired by an idea the author had to set up a house for female artists to give them a year to fulfil their artistic ambitions. Her next novel, The Little Dress Shop of Dreams, is set on the magical street of All Saints Passage where a scientist falls in love with a mysterious man who has a magical voice. All Menna van Praag’s novels, excepting Happier Than She’s Ever Been, are set among the colleges, cafes and bookshops of Cambridge, England.

(Image and bio from Goodreads.com)

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I received a copy of this book from NetGalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review.

NetGalley_Logo

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Next up:  A review of a handy writer’s resource, The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.

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