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.
“In The Precious Jules, Shawn Nocher deftly peels back the intricate layers of a perfect-on-the-surface family chock full of secrets—including a particularly big one that gradually comes to light. Your heart will ache as each of the siblings and parents wrestles with his or her own decisions and the thin line between self-interest and love. The book spins backward and forward in time, revealing a complex past and its inevitable fallout as the characters inch toward a crucial decision: whether or not to bring home the now-adult Ella, institutionalized since she was a child. A nuanced, propulsive, beautifully told story of a complicated, imperfect family and the way decisions reverberate and shape the future for years to come.” —Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author
“The Precious Jules is a beautifully written, sensitive portrayal of a family processing a decision made thirty-five years ago ‘for the good of the family.’ The characters are fully realized and the plot compelling, making this a great book club pick!” —Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author
“A beautifully drawn, elegantly crafted tale, The Precious Jules explores the pain of deeply held secrets, the tricks that memory can play, and the complexities of love. A sweeping family saga, this novel will leave readers questioning what it really means to be a family. This is Nocher at her sharp, insightful, storytelling finest.” —Kristy Woodson Harvey, New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Veil
“The Precious Jules is a captivating family novel about impossible atonement and learning to accept the natural outcomes of rending decisions.” —Foreword Reviews
“In The Precious Jules, Shawn Nocher has written a big-hearted, clear-eyed story about love and obligation, truth and betrayals and dark secrets—the very things that can hold a family together or break it apart. The members of the Jules family are messy and complicated and honest and real. I fell completely under the spell of this beautiful book.” —Lauren Fox, New York Times bestselling author
Shawn Nocher is the author of the critically acclaimed novel A Hand to Hold in Deep Water. Her short stories and nonfiction articles have been published in SmokeLong Quarterly, Pithead Chapel, MoonPark Review, Writer’s Digest, and Electric Literature, among others.
She teaches in the master of arts writing program at Johns Hopkins University, has given wings to two children, and lives with her husband and an assortment of sassy rescue animals in Baltimore, Maryland, where she writes in a room of her own.
Eva Kaminsky is a New York–based actor and audiobook narrator with over 150 titles to her credit. She trained at Boston University and has acted in numerous productions on television and film, including Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Happyish, Ugly Betty, ER, Numbers, Law & Order, and others.