Back in June, Julie P. of Booking Mama wrote a review on a book I knew I had to read. The Space Between Before and After by Jean Page Reynolds lived up to Julie's review.
From the author's website: Forty-two and divorced, Holli Templeton has just begun to realize the pleasures of owning her life for the first time. But the experience is short-lived. Her son Conner has unexpectedly fled college in Rhode Island and moved to Texas with his troubled girlfriend, Kilian. This alone is difficult to handle, but as Holli begins to understand the depth of the girl’s problems, concern turns to crisis.
Conner’s situation is worsening, and as if that's not enough, Holli notices signs of serious decline in the beloved Texas grandmother who raised her. She has no choice but to leave the comfort zone of life in New York and return to her hometown in Texas to care for the people she loves.
In the tight space between these two generations, Holli initially feels lost. The journey back stirs so many unresolved hurts from her childhood. But something else happens in this uneasy homecoming. Comfort arrives in the ethereal presence of the mother long lost to her, and Holli is surprised to find that as she struggles to help her son and grandmother, the wounds of her own past begin to heal.
The space between before and after – easily the most challenging place she has ever known – begins to reveal an unanticipated hope for what the future might hold.
The story is told by alternating between the present (Holli and Connor) and the past (Hollyanne). Hollyanne becomes Holli as she grows up. We get to see how what happened to Hollyanne as a child defines the woman she is today. In dealing with so many family issues at once - as these things seem to happen in life - Holli is forced to recall and heal what happened in her past in order to deal with the present. We also get to hear from Connor, what he is dealing with currently and the mistakes he's made in his life already.
I fell in love with Grandma Raine and easily connected with Holli and her ex-husband, Harrison. My mothering instincts came out as I read about Connor and Kilian and their struggles. The supporting characters were real and interesting and I can easily imagine myself running into any of them at the store.
The book was very easy to read and kept me interested from the start. I will admit to a bit of crying through the middle and the end. But not too much and, anyway, crying is not a bad thing.
Look for an interview with author Jean Page Reynolds coming soon!
Rating: 4.5/5 stars