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BETWEEN THE LINES

The Writing on the Wall

I just finished reading a new novel and it blew me away. Typically when I finish a book I’ve really enjoyed, one I think I might want to blog about, I wait a few days to let my responses marinate, settle. But this book wasn’t typical and I can’t wait to tell you about it.
The book is THE WRITING ON THE WALL, by W.D. Wetherell.

My friend Mary Bisbee-Beek sent me a galley because she thought I would like it. Actually Mary and I met because of Walter Wetherell. About six or seven years ago, Mary was working on publicity for his previous novel, A CENTURY OF NOVEMBER, and I was doing publicity for the Odyssey BookShop. Mary called me to set up an author event for Wetherell and I told her that I had studied briefly with him during my MFA program; Walter came to South Hadley and Mary became my friend.

In THE WRITING ON THE WALL, Wetherell weaves together the stories of three women over the course of a century. Vera, in self-imposed exile from family shame, strips layers of wallpaper in her sister’s fixer-upper and discovers Beth and Dottie’s stories written on bare plaster. Never didactic, always character-driven, with distinct and authentic voices, the older stories echo and deepen Vera’s search for understanding about the dangerous intersections between a person’s moral code and family loyalty.

This is one of those rare books that I finished and then began again immediately. I am not ready to end my journey with Vera, Beth and Dottie, and their families.
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