The In-Between Hour, by Barbara Claypole White Paperback: 400 pages Publisher: Harlequin MIRA; Original edition (December 31, 2013)
Publisher’s Summary: 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.
If it sounds like the characters of this novel have a lot on their plates -well, they do. Author Will Shephard has been dealt a double whammy, between the sudden loss of his five year old son and his aging father’s descent into dementia. In addition, Will still has unresolved feelings about his mother, whose mental instability made his youth miserable. Meanwhile, Hannah Linden is desperately trying to save her grown son from his own demons and from following in the footsteps of his grandfather, who committed suicide.
The summary of this novel pushed all my interest buttons - caring for an aging parent, adult children with mental illness, dealing with grief - and I wasn’t disappointed on any level. It was a compelling, well researched novel, with complex and believable characters. And setting the novel in the North Carolina foothills provided the author with an opportunity to use the natural surroundings to enhance the mood. The title of the piece refers to the time of day between daylight and dusk, the time once know as “the gloaming,” and many of the characters find themselves at such a period on their lives, at a crossroads between light and dark.
The intersection of Will and Hannah’s lives was my favorite aspect of the story. Merging two disparate lifestyles as well as the very demanding needs of family members is a daunting task for any couple, but the reader is left feeling as if they will indeed be able to manage it, and provide each other with some much needed stability for the journey.
Barbara Claypole White writes and gardens in the forests of North Carolina. Her son’s battles with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have inspired her to write love stories about damaged people. The In-Between Hour goes a step beyond most conventional women’s fiction, with it’s authentic focus on the havoc mental illness can create within a family, and the legacy it leaves for generations to come.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read this novel.