Sunday, September 30, 2012

Blog Tour | Mother of Pearl by Kellie Coates Gilbert

Mother of Pearl
by Kellie Coates Gilbert
Christian Fiction / Contemporary
Available September 2012
Abingdon Press
304 pages



About the Book
Barrie Graeber has two great kids, a loving husband, and a respected job as the high school counselor in her close-knit community. Without warning, everything unravels when her teenage daughter, Pearl, is betrayed by friends and lashes out.

Nothing prepares this mother for the helplessness that follows when her attempts to steer her daughter back on course fail and Pearl shuts her out . . . or when she discovers the unthinkable about her nemesis, the football coach.

Emotionally riveting and profoundly moving, Mother of Pearl brings us into the heart of a mother bound by an incredible burden, who ultimately finds she must recognize her own vulnerability and learn to trust in something much bigger.

My Thoughts
The Graeber family seems to have it all together. Barrie is a high school counselor who is still in love with her husband and takes pride in her two children. When her broken-hearted daughter Pearl begins acting out, she's at a loss as to how to help. But when tragedy strikes their family, it seems that Barrie's "mama-bear" instincts may be the only thing to get her family through. But will she destroy what's left of her family and their standing in the community in the process?

Based on Kellie Coates Gilbert's debut offering, Mother of Pearl, I think we can expect great things from her in the future! The story is told in first-person from Barrie's perspective, so I was prepared for this to be a mother's story. However, Gilbert really told both Barrie's and Pearl's stories. Quite an accomplishment for a first-person narrative!

Mother of Pearl packs an emotional punch at every turn. She does a great job of expressing the feelings and emotions of Barrie as well as the other characters. Again, not an easy feat for a first-person story. The author's description of the emotion behind each action really helped me connect with Barrie—even when I was frustrated with Barrie and her actions/responses.

There were plenty of surprises as well. A few times I even muttered, "Well, I did not see THAT coming!" That's always a pleasant surprise—when I can't figure out exactly where the story is going. And Gilbert's legal experience definitely came through in the last third or so of the book. The courtroom scenes and trial play-by-play were really well written.

The religious elements were more understated than in many Christian books, but the Graeber family's faith journey was still an important aspect of the book. I do wish that there would have been a tighter conclusion to this part of the story.

Overall, I was really impressed with Mother of Pearl. Gilbert covers difficult topics with sensitivity and realism, and she paced everything perfectly. The emotional impact of this book will not soon be forgotten. I highly recommend! [4 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Abingdon Press and Glass Road PR in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
A former legal investigator and trial paralegal, Kellie Coates Gilbert writes with a sympathetic, intimate knowledge of how people react under pressure.  She is a Pacific Northwest native, and now calls Dallas home.

Kellie Coates Gilbert Online
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