The Promise Between Us
“If you leave your newborn child because you have unstoppable thoughts of harming her, are you a good mother or a terrible one? This dilemma is at the heart of Barbara Claypole White’s novel, a wrenching story of how one woman’s OCD has a ripple effect on those around her—including the people she tried hardest to protect. This is an eye-opening and realistic exploration of mental illness—a topic that greatly deserves to be front and center.”—Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things
Metal artist Katie Mack is living a lie. Nine years ago she ran away from her family in Raleigh, North Carolina, consumed by the irrational fear that she would harm Maisie, her newborn daughter. Over time she’s come to grips with the mental illness that nearly destroyed her, and now funnels her pain into her art. Despite longing for Maisie, Katie honors an agreement with the husband she left behind—to change her name and never return.
But when she and Maisie accidentally reunite, Katie can’t ignore the familiarity of her child’s compulsive behavior. Worse, Maisie worries obsessively about bad things happening to her pregnant stepmom. Katie has the power to help, but can she reconnect with the family she abandoned?
To protect Maisie, Katie must face the fears that drove her from home, accept the possibility of love, and risk exposing her heart-wrenching secret.
The Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White is such a powerful and moving story that really brings to light mental illness that is both heartfelt and honestly written.
Katelyn “Katie” MacDonald walked out of her daughter’s life nearly ten years ago when she could not stop the voices in her head from bombarding her with devastating scenarios. Katie wanted what was best for her daughter and for her daughter to live a happy and healthy childhood without a mother who could not prevent the bad thoughts inside of her mind. Ten years later, Katie accidently meets her daughter Maisie, but she is completely devastated noticing the signs of mental illness in her daughter. Katie vows to help Maisie, but that means exposing her biggest secrets of all to the family she left behind.
Barbara Claypole White has penned such an emotional story full of such heartbreaking choices one mother makes in the face of mental illness. White takes on such hard topics such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, PTSD, depression and anxiety attacks. What really drew me into the story was my personal experiences with OCD and I admit to having my own little rituals that I have done over and over again and while I have stopped doing most of them, I still carry over some of them from when I was a teenager. My mother also suffers from repetitive actions and has for many many years. It is a lot to deal with and find myself obsessing over things my mother does. White really hits home with how Katie and Maisie want to stop thinking this way and stop the obsessiveness and how it leads to being ashamed or embarrassed.
The story is not only about Katie and Maisie. Maisie’s dad and katie’s ex-husband, Callum is going through his own issues internally while newly married and awaiting the birth of a new baby. Callum’s best friend Jake also shares a good part of the story as well as Callum’s new wife, Lilah. I felt that all of the characters were written well and were three dimensional and I could not help but want the best for everyone involved who loved, Maisie. While not everyone was happy with Katie’s choices, I could see how everyone grew in both character and the journey they all took to help family.
The Promise Between Us is a riveting story that brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. Barbara Claypole White writes with such heart and soul and brings to light mental illness which is neither shameful or embarrassing. This is definitely a story you will not want to miss. A definite five star read from me.
Bestselling author Barbara Claypole White has created her own idiosyncratic niche in mainstream fiction: hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of mental illness. Originally from England, she writes and gardens in the forests of North Carolina, where she lives with her family. Her novels include:
The Unfinished Garden, Mira Books, 2012, winner of the Golden Quill for Best First Book 2013; The In-Between Hour, Mira Books, 2014, chosen by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance as an Okra Pick; The Perfect Son, Lake Union, 2015, Goodreads Choice Awards Semi-finalist for Best Fiction; Echoes of Family, Lake Union, 2016, WFWA 2017 Star Award Finalist; The Promise Between Us, Lake Union, 2018. (View the book trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLW9XFo0nlg&t=5s)
Barbara is also an OCD advocate for the A2A Alliance, a nonprofit group that promotes advocacy over adversity.
To listen to Barbara’s 2018 interview with Frank Stasio on The State of Things, click here: http://www.wunc.org/post/her-family-grapples-ocd-author-tackles-stereotypes-through-writing?fbclid=IwAR08E-DQ73f31jWBP2uKlix-eFsV7OOSQk_pXfS4uX3kqgnuHkbtVeB1Wvc
To watch Barbara’s 2018 interview with Linda Hurtado on Fox 13, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJUPUBZLCf8&t=33s
For more information on Barbara, please visit www.barbaraclaypolewhite.com