Echoes of Family by Barbara Claypole White

Echoes of Family by Barbara Claypole White
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (424 pgs)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

Sometimes the only way through darkness is to return to where it began.

Marianne Stokes fled England at seventeen, spiraling into the manic depression that would become her shadow. She left behind secrets, memories, and tragedy: one teen dead, and her first love, Gabriel, badly injured. Three decades later she’s finally found peace in the North Carolina recording studio she runs with her husband, Darius, and her almost-daughter, Jade…until another fatality propels her back across the ocean to confront the long-buried past.

In her picturesque childhood village, the first person she meets is the last person she wants to see again: Gabriel. Now the village vicar, he takes her in without question, and ripples of what if reverberate through both their hearts. As Marianne’s mind unravels, Jade and Darius track her down. Tempers clash when everyone tries to help, but only by finding the courage to face her illness can Marianne heal herself and her offbeat family.

I know I shouldn’t call a book about someone trying to deal with their bipolar illness a fun read, but that’s exactly what I thought about Echoes of Family. It’s about real life, real people, some of them are a touch quirky but there’s something of each of us in these fictional and that’s what made it fun.

I felt like I was looking over their shoulders and my heart went out to the main character, Marianne. She’s been an outcast and suffering with mental illness and when she returns home everything seems to come to the boiling point for her and the people she left behind on both sides of the ocean.

Mental illness is a tough issue to tackle in fiction but I think the author did a wonderful job with it. This was in no way a depressing book but one where you cheer on the characters and hope that everything will eventually be okay for them.

I love that it centered around Marianne’s family and her adopted daughter Jade. It was their story, also the story of her and her husband, and of Gabriel, the man from her past. One of my favorite lines from the book was guilt should have an expiration date which for me summed up the theme of the story.

If you like family dramas with well round characters I’d say put this one on your fall reading list.


  1. Woot! Thanks for reading and reviewing.

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