Title: Mother of Pearl by Kellie Coates Gilbert
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Fiction
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B+
Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley
Barrie Graeber has two great kids, a loving husband, and a respected job as the high school counselor in her close-knit community. Without warning, everything unravels when her teenage daughter, Pearl, is betrayed by friends and lashes out.
Nothing prepares this mother for the helplessness that follows when her attempts to steer her daughter back on course fail and Pearl shuts her out . . . or when she discovers the unthinkable about her nemesis, the football coach.
Emotionally riveting and profoundly moving, MOTHER OF PEARL brings us into the heart of a mother bound by an incredible burden, who ultimately finds she must recognize her own vulnerability and learn to trust in something much bigger.
Kellie Coates Gilbert’s debut novel Mother of Pearl is a heart-wrenching, poignant novel that will resonate with readers. The story is intense and emotional and shines light on a subject that is too often ignored by school administrators. One mother’s search for answers about her daughter uncovers an appalling secret about a popular football coach at the high school where she works. With the school unable (and perhaps unwilling) to intervene, Barrie Graeber will do whatever it takes to prevent him from destroying any more lives.
As a high school counselor, Barrie is well versed in dealing with teenagers. When her daughter, Pearl, is betrayed by her friends, Pearl closes herself off from her family. Their once open and honest relationship is now a delicate balance that finds Barrie torn between allowing her daughter her privacy and pushing for answers. Having a tenuous relationship with her own mother, Barrie is ever mindful of being too intrusive. Ignoring her instincts to the contrary, Barrie realizes she has no choice but to back down and allow Pearl to work through her issues in her own way.
Mother of Pearl is a well-written novel about a sensitive yet all too real issue. It is presented in a thoughtful and insightful manner that is quite compelling. The families, characters and situations in the story are realistically portrayed. They are easy to relate to with all too human shortcomings and imperfections. Don’t be fooled by first impressions; some of the characters are not what they seem and some of the allegiances later in the story are quite surprising.
There is an element of faith and spirituality to Mother of Pearl but it is very subtle and understated. Some of the characters already have a strong faith in God while others discover theirs as events transpire. Barrie, in particular, is quite skeptical and lacks trust in God and the afterlife. Her religious journey is ongoing and she finds comfort as she heals.
A novel that will touch your heart Mother of Pearl is a thought-provoking novel that I highly recommend. Kellie Coates Gilbert is an immensely talented author and I am eagerly anticipating her next novel.