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 is now available in Estonia and Hungary.
Reviews of The In-Between Hour
"Barbara Claypole White has created a tender and emotionally-charged novel in The In-Between Hour. Her multifaceted, flawed characters, each with their own wounded heart, are carefully drawn. Ms. White depicts the North Carolina mountain setting with an evocative sense of place, creating a perfect backdrop for this story of life, survival and, ultimately, of love that transcends all."
- Karen White, New York Times bestselling author of
The Time Between
"White's beautifully crafted novel demonstrates how two broken souls can find peace for themselves and their loved ones."
"A powerful story of love, loss, and family. The In-Between Hour will touch you, move you, and keep you turning pages long into the night."
Brenda Janowitz, author of Recipe For A Happy Life
"A stunning portrayal of love between parent and child and of how roles grow, evolve and transcend loss and age. White's gift with words is quickly making her one of my favorite authors."
Priscille Sibley, author of The Promise of Stardust
"Unique characters and realistic dialogue make this fast-paced story fully engrossing. The portrayal of a character with Alzheimer's disease is particularly poignant. The setting comes to life with great descriptions of the Occoneechee Mountain area of North Carolina."
"The In-Between Hour is the gloaming, the small part of the day after the sun has gone down where anything seems possible, and a perfect title for White's book that deals with loveable but damaged characters that seem to give up but also look for hope in the beautiful setting of this story. As the drama unfolds readers are drawn into all of their lives and even at the lowest times there is still a faint shimmer of hope that all is not lost. This is my first novel by White but I will make a point to read anything she writes."
“A beautiful combination of story and characters make The In-Between Hour a captivating read about the deepest emotions the word family evokes. Barbara Claypole White writes with a fluidity that draws you in, telling a tale that stays with you long after turning the last page.”
Laura Spinella, author of Perfect Timing
“The In-Between Hour is a heartwarming story of grief and the desire to save the people you love even when you can't save yourself. Barbara Claypole White writes exquisitely and creates characters that capture your heart. I loved it!”
Anita Hughes, author of Lake Como
“Here is a beautiful, smart love story that will have you burning dinner or the midnight oil to read one more chapter. Barbara Claypole White is clearly creating her own pantheon of crazy sexy men and the women who were born to love them. You won't soon forget the magic of The In-Between Hour.”
Lydia Netzer, author of Shine Shine Shine, New York Times Book Review Notable Book 2012
“In The In-Between Hour Barbara Claypole White’s elegant prose paints a vivid portrait of multi-generational families, unlikely friendships, crushing loss and binding love. The In-Between Hour breaks your heart and mends it at the same time.”
Amy Sue Nathan, author of The Glass Wives
"The In-Between Hour is a touching, beautifully written novel of loss and hope that had me captivated from the first sentence until the last. Talented author Barbara Claypole White has crafted a cast of characters who are so genuine, so very human that they'll live in your memory as if they were your neighbors, your friends, your loved ones... Don't miss this insightful and moving story!"
- Marilyn Brant, USA Today bestselling author
The story behind the story for The In-Between Hour
As with The Unfinished Garden, the original story seed came from a dark what if moment in my own life. An older family member was experiencing short-term memory loss that generated anger, confusion, and a string of emotionally exhausting phone calls. In the middle of one of those phone calls, I had a terrible thought—could life get any worse? I decided, yes, it could. And my mind created Will’s dilemma.
Memory, grief, mental illness, rural Orange County…ideas started swirling and I did what I always do—I followed my gut, my curiosity, and my research. I’d been toying with a ghost story, and that idea had already unearthed threads about psychic healing, rock climbing, Native American spirituality, and animal guides. All those roads led to Will and Jacob. Poppy popped out pretty much formed, and Galen evolved while several people close to me were battling depression. (Echoes of my life run through everything I write.)
My real problem was Hannah. Finding empathy for a holistic vet was quite a challenge, since we don’t even own a goldfish. I started out with false assumptions about Hannah and found her too calm and too spiritual. I agree with Galen—she’s a hard person to read. But when my son relapsed into crippling obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Hannah suddenly lit up for me. I realized she was just another terrified parent. I also learned that being the mother of a child struggling with mental illness is very different to being the mother of a young man in the same situation. That was something I wanted to explore further and I did, through Hannah’s journey.
For more information on the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, visit www.obsn.org.
To arrange a visit with your book club, in person or via Skype, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reading Group Guide (Spoiler Alert!)
- A label of mental illness still carries a stigma in our society. Will has spent his life running from this shadow, and it has made him intensely private. Does your family have any experience of mental illness, and if so, have you struggled to find the balance between the public and the private? Do you think we have made any progress against the stigma?
- How do you feel about Will's relationship with his mother? Do you think he should have accepted and made allowances for her behavior in the way that his father did, or do you think Will was right to call Jacob an enabler?
- Will pretends Freddie is traveling in a moment of exhaustion and grief, but he makes a conscious decision to keep the story—and Freddie—alive. What do you think of Will's actions?
- Do you believe grief manifests differently in everyone and that we all find unique ways of coping? Is Will merely trying to survive the unimaginable by leaning on the one thing he can control—storytelling?
- Hannah believes that there is living, breathing history on Saponi Mountain. Will echoes that thought when he sees pictures of Hitler's anti-aircraft flak tower. Do you believe that places or buildings can retain an imprint of the past almost like a stored memory?
- What do you think of Hannah's comment that family life is never about the picket fence and the dinner rolls but about surviving crises? What do you think of Will's comment that no one knows what happens once a family shuts the door and pulls the curtains?
- What do you make of Hannah and Will's connection through Rosie? Do you believe in fate, or do you see their relationship as growing out of a chain of events orchestrated by Poppy and Jacob? What do you make of Will's comment that they fell in love because of, not despite, their respective family dramas?
- The North Carolina forest is an important element of the story. How does the setting impact each character? Can you imagine the story working in a different setting?
- The line between truth and lies blurs constantly in the novel. Do you agree that lying—or spinning a story—is sometimes necessary to protect loved ones? Why do you think Will and Cass worked so hard to keep Freddie's paternity secret? Do you think it was realistic to assume they could do so? Do you think Hannah was right to hide her father's suicide from her sons? What would you have done?
- What do you think the future holds for Galen? Do you see him finding ways to cope with his depression?
- In your opinion, what is the significance of the title, and how does it relate to each character's story?
Please download this PDF with reader discussion questions for The In-Between Hour.
The In-Between Hour listening guide:
“The Ghosts That We Knew” - Mumford & Sons
“Hymn to Her” - Chrissie Hynde
“Under Control” - The Strokes
“Flashing Red Light Means Go” - The Boxer Rebellion
“Save Me" - Muse
“Horseshoes and Handgrenades” - Green Day
“Lover of the Light” - Mumford & Sons
“Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" - U2
“Ultraviolet (Light My Way)” - U2
“Maps” - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
“Half of Something Else” - The Airborne Toxic Event
“Two-Headed Boy” - Neutral Milk Hotel
“The Explorers” - Muse
“Shadows and Light" - Simple Minds
“Never Too Late” - Three Days Grace
“Famous Last Words” - My Chemical Romance
“Safe” - The Airborne Toxic Event
“Dear Alyssa” - The Arcadian Project
“Sorry for It All” - Dead Sara
“In Between Days” - The Cure
“Timeless” - The Airborne Toxic Event
“I Will Wait” - Mumford & Sons