Title: The In-Between Hour by Barbara Claypool White
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: A
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
WHAT COULD BE WORSE THAN LOSING YOUR CHILD? HAVING TO PRETEND HE’S STILL ALIVE…
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.
The In-Between Hour by Barbara Claypool White is an extremely emotional and poignant read. The various storylines converge into an incredibly powerful story of healing that I found impossible to put down.
In the aftermath of losing his young son, Freddie, in a tragic accident, Will Shepard is deeply grieving his loss when he is forced to return to North Carolina to take care of his aging father Jacob. Will is planning a quick trip to settle his dad in a new retirement home but he is soon enmeshed in the lives of his temporary landlady, Hannah Linden and her deeply depressed adult son, Galen. Unable to escape memories of his painful childhood and trapped by the falsehood he told Jacob about Freddie’s prolonged absence, Will is soon desperate to escape back to his life in New York. A crisis with Galen forces Will to admit to his growing feelings for Hannah, but is love enough to heal the shattered pieces of their lives?
Will is devastated by Freddie’s death and angry at the circumstances surrounding the accident that took his son’s life. He loves his father but he is struggling to understand Jacob’s devotion to the mother who destroyed his childhood with her untreated mental illness. The lie Will tells to protect Jacob keeps him from discussing his loss with anyone and his grief is quickly becoming all consuming as he tries to find a viable solution for Jacob. Hannah is a calming influence in both his and Jacob’s lives but it is his unexpected friendship with Galen that brings the most comfort to Will.
Hannah is probably one of the most unflappable characters I have encountered. Calm and serene, she has an instant rapport with Jacob and they bond over their love of the land. Able to help everyone but Galen, Hannah finds it difficult to maintain her tranquility once her son returns home.
Desperate to maintain his dignity as he slowly declines, Jacob finds peace in returning the mountains he loves so much. Despite Will’s best efforts to protect him, the knowledge of Freddie’s death lingers around the edges of his fragmented memory. Watching him fight his memory loss is absolutely heartbreaking but there are also touching glimpses of the gentle and loving man he once was as well.
Galen is such an incredibly sensitive person that it is not surprising he feels life so deeply. His struggle with depression is handled with sensitivity and offer amazing insight into a little discussed illness. The descriptions of the medications’ side effects, the crippling hopelessness and abject despair provide readers with an up close and personal view of depression that is not easy to forget.
A much needed counterpoint to everyone else’s sadness, Hannah’s lifelong friend Poppy is a bright spot in story. Vivacious and energetic, she is irreverent and funny. Although Poppy is facing a few setbacks of her own, she is always upbeat and her enthusiasm is infectious. Given her current circumstances Poppy is the logical person to become Jacob’s caregiver and their relationship is quite charming.
Full of deep emotion, The In-Between Hour is beautifully written and quite riveting. Barbara Claypool White brilliantly weaves grief and loss into an uplifting and hopeful story of love that will stay with readers long after the last page has been turned.