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The Space Between Before and Afterby Jean Reynolds Page
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"In this complex, multilayered book, Page (Accidental Happiness) revisits familiar themes in the story of one family coming to terms with loss and past events. On the morning of the space shuttle Columbia disaster, Holli Templeton is sick with worry, as NASA milestones have proven to be 'harbingers of raw, personal events.' Her mother was killed in a car accident on the night of the moon landing, and she suffered a miscarriage the same day the Challenger exploded. Sure enough, as soon as the wreckage of Columbia clears, Holli finds out that her grandmother, Raine, seems to be losing her grip on reality. Meanwhile Holli's 20-year-old son, Conner, is nursing his chronically ill girlfriend and pondering his future. Complex interactions between Holli, Raine and Holli's difficult stepmother, Georgia, further complicate the situation, and in order to care for her aging grandmother and overwhelmed son, Holli must let go of her long-held resentments and see her family in a new light. Although Page's penchant for flowery description can be distracting, she seamlessly navigates the book's intertwining narratives and presents believable characters, at once imperfect and utterly sympathetic. Both the story's emotional pull and intricate plot twists are sure to seduce new readers." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Page portrays these past and present emotional quagmires with an acutely intuitive eye, drawing the reader into the complicated lives of her sympathetic characters." Booklist
"A complex, well-orchestrated family drama." Seattle Post-Intelligencer
About the Author
Jean Reynolds Page is the author of A Blessed Event and Accidental Happiness. She grew up in North Carolina and graduated with a degree in journalism from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She worked as an arts publicist in New York City and for over a decade reviewed dance performances for numerous publications before turning full time to fiction in 2001. In addition to North Carolina and New York, she has lived in Boston and Dallas. She moved with her husband and three children to the Seattle area in 2002.
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