Review: The Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White

The Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White
Contemporary Fiction

Mental illness is a tough topic to discuss.  Barbra Claypole White, in  The Promise Between Us, does an excellent job giving us insight into OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) through an entertaining story about a mother (Katie) and daughter (Maisie) who both have OCD.

(Purchase from Amazon)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (January 16, 2018)

Forms of OCD are different, yet similar.  Katie uses mantras to face down the relentless, unwanted, thoughts in her head.  One of her mantras, repeated often, is:

“A thought is just a thought.  It has no power.”

It took Katie time to learn coping skills.  However, the illness does not go away.

Another unfortunate obstacle faced by Katie and others with mental illness is, at times, due to finances, professional help and medicines are not available.

Changes in Maisie’s life cause stress and increased fears.  As Katie tries to help Maisie, the author shows that it can be very scary for persons who have mental illness.    Maisie and Katie are very brave, continually facing down their fears and negative obsessive thoughts.  We see how they pull the pieces of their fractured lives together.

The Promise Between Us is multi-layered as Maisie’s father and colorful uncle have troubles of their own to combat.

The author’s prolog was exceptionally well written.  It begins:

“Crouched in the corner of my baby girl’s bedroom, we both shake: the three-legged mutt and the mother with a colony of fire ants multiplying in her brain.  Hardly a five-star protection squad, but we would die to keep Maisie safe.”

The story takes place in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina.  I’ve been there numerous times for access to their, well known, excellent doctors and medical facilities.  In addition to learning more about OCD, I enjoyed learning more about that area through this story.

Recommended Website: International OCD Foundation.


What Others Are Saying

“What a mind blowing, emotional, informative story.” – Kathryn @ Book Date

“In accessible and engrossing prose, this sentimental tale also explores the struggles inherent in parenting, coupling, and maintaining meaningful relationships.

A challenging and important story about the difficulties of living with mental illness.” – Kirkus Reviews

From The Author (via GoodReads)

For my fifth novel, I’m returning to my great passion: writing characters with OCD. As usual, I tackle some dark subjects but with hope. Tons of hope in this one. Tons! I’m super proud of THE PROMISE BETWEEN US, and I hope it’s a thumping good read that also shines a light on an area of OCD that still carries unbearable shame: postpartum OCD, which often manifests as intrusive images of hurting your baby. As a new mother, can you image anything worse?

I could ramble on about the plot, the themes, the characters who are still with me, but I’m going to let my real life heroine, Jodi Picoult, tell you about THE PROMISE BETWEEN US:

“If you leave your newborn child because you have unstoppable thoughts of harming her, are you a good mother or a terrible one? This dilemma is at the heart of Barbara Claypole White’s novel, a wrenching story of how one woman’s OCD has a ripple effect on those around her – including the people she tried hardest to protect. This is an eye-opening and realistic exploration of mental illness — a topic that greatly deserves to be front and center.” – Jodi Picoult, NYT bestselling author of SMALL GREAT THINGS” – (Babara White – via goodReads)

I received this book, free of charge, from the publisher, Lake Union Publishing and author Barbara Claypole White via NetGalley.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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  1. This sounds like an excellent book. Terrific review! I don’t know much about OCD or its treatment(s), and this would be a good way to learn more.

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