“Shawn Nocher’s A Hand to Hold in Deep Water is beyond thrilling. Tender, fierce, achingly beautiful, this far-reaching novel of family and a woman’s fight to keep her life and those she loves afloat sounds the depths of honesty, secrecy, and our desire for connection with a sharp, unyielding insight. Add in the clarity of the writing, its supple lyricism and wry humor, and spread the news: Shawn Nocher is a writer to watch.” —Elise Levine, author of This Wicked Tongue
Willy Cherrymill and his stepdaughter, Lacey, are deeply bruised by a past brimming with unanswered questions. It’s been thirty years since May DuBerry, Willy’s young wife and Lacey’s mother, abandoned them both, leaving Willy to raise Lacey alone.
Lacey Cherrymill is smart, stubborn, and focused. She’s also single mother to a young daughter recently diagnosed with a devastating illness. The last thing she needs to think about right now is the betrayal that rocked her childhood. Reluctantly, she has returned to her rural beginnings, a former dairy farm in the Maryland countryside, and to Willy, a man steeped in his own disappointments and all the guilt that goes with them.
Together they will pool their wobbly emotional resources to take care of Lacey’s daughter, Tasha, all the while trying to skirt the issue of May’s mysterious disappearance. But try as she might, Lacey can’t leave it alone. Just where is May DuBerry Cherrymill and why did she leave them, and how is it that they have never talked about the wreckage she left behind?
A Hand to Hold in Deep Water is a deeply felt narrative about mothers and daughters, the legacy of secrets, the way we make a family, and the love of those who walk us through our deepest pain. It is about the way we are tethered to one another and how we choose to wear those bindings. These are characters you won’t soon forget and, more so, won’t want to leave behind when you turn the last page.
A deeply felt family narrative that examines the fine line between selfishness and what passes for love.
After nearly two hundred years of housing retardants, as they were once known, the Beechwood Institute is closing the doors on its dark history, and the complicated task of reassigning residents has begun. Ella Jules, having arrived at Beechwood at the tender age of eight, must now rely on the state to decide her future. Ella’s aging parents have requested that she be returned to her childhood home, much to the distress of Ella’s siblings, but more so to Lynetta, her beloved caretaker who has been by her side for decades. The five adult Jules children, haunted by their early memories of their sister, and each dealing with the trauma of her banishment in their own flawed way, are converging on the family home, arriving from the far corners of the country—secrets in tow—to talk some sense into their aging parents and get to the root of this inexplicable change of heart.
The Precious Jules examines the thin line between selfishness and what passes for love. This family story asks what is best for one child in light of what is perceived as the greater good, and just what is the collective legacy of buried family secrets, shame, and helplessness. The Precious Jules is a deeply felt family narrative that will make you fall in love with these flawed and imperfect characters standing on the threshold of an awakening they never expected.