Happy Friday to all! Today I’ve got a spotlight on Thicker Than Blood by Jan English Leary which releases today. This novel sounds fantastic and I’m hoping to get to it real soon. It has all the elements that make up a really good read for me – mother/daughter relationships, adoption, race, etc. I’m really looking forward to it. In the meantime I’m going to tell you all a little about the book. Enjoy and keep an eye out for a review to come.
About the Book
Set in Chicago and told from multiple perspectives, THICKER THAN BLOOD begins with Andrea Barton’s decision to adopt. Being single, she expects that her experience as a social worker will be a big bonus for her application, and in child-rearing. When an abandoned African-American infant needs a home, Andrea promptly agrees to foster the child, then adopt her, if the mother doesn’t step forward. The mother never does, and Andrea names the baby Pearl. But when Pearl grows into adolescence, her struggles with identity and class erupt, leaving Andrea grappling with her assumptions as well as her fears for Pearl’s safety. With her own relationships with her parents and sister strained, Andrea has only the guidance of a dear friend—and love—to take her through these painful years with Pearl, who suddenly, frighteningly, finally disappears.
In this compelling and deeply moving first novel, Jan English Leary examines race in America today, how we mother, and how secrets and traumas in one generation affect those following, all of which make THICKER THAN BLOOD a thought-provoking look at family and second chances.
Praise for Thicker Than Blood
“Jan English Leary, a first rate storyteller, examines the intersection between idealism, the harsh reality of post-racist America, the challenges of adoption and the brutality of family life in general. The journey of parenthood is not for the faint-hearted. I read this novel with great admiration for the writer and vicarious pain for her characters.”—Goldie Goldbloom, author of The Paperbark Shoe and You Lose These
“In her debut novel, Jan English Leary sensitively explores themes of parenthood, adoption, and race, never shying away from the uncomfortable realities that make up the business of living. Through multiple perspectives, we meet characters who, though wildly different, share an aching desire to find their place in the world and connect with others. Their efforts to do so and the challenges they face form the basis of this compelling story. Leary has a deft hand; her clear, intuitive prose offers insight into the disappointments, mystery, and beauty underlying human love.”—Janice Deal, author of The Decline of Pigeons
“In Thicker Than Blood, Jan English Leary tackles big issues: the mother-daughter bond, race, adoption, and immigration, to name a few. . . [a] well-crafted and insightful novel. . . With great empathy and insight, Leary portrays a mother-daughter relationship that is both unconventional and universal. I was left thinking of Pearl and Andrea, and wishing them well, long after I turned the final page.”—Katherine Shonk, The Red Passport and Happy Now?
“ . . . How individuals seek and avoid love, how they misunderstand and hurt one another are at the heart of all intimate relationships. How this bind is magnified and complicated by the pressure of race is what this fine novel reveals. Written with uncommon grace and profound insight, Thicker Than Blood is a brave and poignant novel.”—Lynn Sloan, author of Principles of Navigation
“Heart-rending from beginning to end . . .”—Marylee MacDonald, author of Montpelier Tomorrow
About the Author
Jan English Leary grew up in the Midwest and Central New York State. During her junior year at Smith College, she studied in Paris, an experience which fostered the love of travel that runs through her fiction. She received an M.A. in French Literature at Brown University. While teaching French and raising her children, she completed an MFA in Creative Writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts. For the remainder of her career she taught fiction writing at Francis W. Parker School in Chicago and at Northwestern University. Her short fiction has appeared in Pleiades, The Literary Review, The Minnesota Review, Carve Magazine, and Long Story, Short Literary Journal and other publications. She has received three Illinois Arts Council Awards. She lives in Chicago with her husband, John, an artist and former teacher. Her website is http://janenglishleary.com/.