The Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White -384 pages
ARC courtesy of author for an honest review.
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.
My Review: 4 stars
Barbara Claypole White’s The Promise Between Us is another example of her ability to show how mental illness can affect the people living with it, as well as the people surrounding him or her. In Echoes of Family she takes on manic depression and in The Perfect Son she pulls us into a life of ADHD, Tourette’s and anxiety. I get that you may be thinking that these books sound so depressing, but you’d be wrong. White is skilled at creating realistic stories around these flawed characters that are filled with love, trust, hardship, sorrow and compassion.
I was easily absorbed into the story, as I know people that suffered from post-partum depression as well as those that have clinical depression. Getting inside their heads made it so clear that you just can’t wish it away. I didn’t realize how unfamiliar I was with OCD, but recognized some of Katie’s symptoms in friends, my family and me. Just small little gestures one does to feel secure or make deals with themselves. I didn’t realize those little habits or superstitions that people do repetitively are mild components of OCD.
The characters in this book were all quite humanized. Some made mistakes and used poor judgment, while simultaneously pressing ahead to make headway in relationships and in themselves. I adored Maisie. Her spirit, her attitude and her quirkiness made her enjoyable to read about. Having the protagonist face her fear of fire with fire was well played out. The fire represented so many themes: rising up from it like a phoenix, the spark of a new relationship and that there is power to control it.
Quotes I liked:
According to the professionals, we never escape our childhoods.”