Monday, January 08, 2018

Review: The Promise Between Us

The Promise Between Us by [White, Barbara Claypole]

About the Book:

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 Comments:

I loved this book and highly recommend it. 

When someone becomes physically ill--whether with the 24 hour stomach bug or cancer or chicken pox--they generally garner the sympathy of those around them.  It is expected that if the disease lasts more than a day or two that a trip to the doctor has at least been considered, and it is assumed that decent health insurance will cover that visit.  We may all joke about how men's colds are so much worse than Mom's colds but we rarely blame the person who is physically ill for his or her disease.

Mental illness is different.  Somehow, many of us think that if the mentally ill would just get their acts together and quit acting that way, their illnesses would disappear--or we think that the illness is caused by weakness on the part of the one who is ill.

The main character in The Promise Between Us is Katie, and Katie is mentally ill.  Katie is also a very strong and selfless woman who has nearly lost her life to that illness.  Katie has OCD and anxiety and in this book we stand in her shoes and see the world through her eyes.  We see her cope (sometimes well, sometimes not so well) with the voices inside her head.  We see how her mental illness affects her relationships.  

Two other adult characters in the book suffer from a mental illness and for one of them, denial is his drug of choice.  In both cases we see how seemly sane people can suffer greatly from mental problems even though they appear, at least on the surface, to be happy and successful.

Finally, there is Maisy, a bright well-loved child who is starting to show signs of OCD.  She has four adults in her life who love her and want the best for her; they just disagree about what that is when it comes to her OCD and to their relationships with each other.  

Barbara Claypole White's niche seems to be novels dealing with mental illness as you will note if you click her name under this post.  As I've noted about her other books, White does a great job of making her characters more than their illness, though the illness is the focus of this story.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade:  A


  1. Did the print here get smaller---or do I need stronger glasses?
    Sounds like a book I may request the library purchase. Thanks!

  2. I didn't change the blog font; did you (accidently) change your browser settings?

  3. Thank you for taking the time to read and review. Yes, this is really a novel about the impact of mental illness on relationships. And it's about what it means to be a good mother, and the toll anxiety takes on a family… I hope it's also a good read! :)