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Mother of Pearl

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Overview

Barrie Graeber has two great kids, a loving husband, and a respected job as the high school counselor in her close-knit community. Without warning, everything unravels when her teenage daughter, Pearl, is betrayed by friends and lashes out.

Nothing prepares this mother for the helplessness that follows when her attempts to steer her daughter back on course fail and Pearl shuts her out . . . or when she discovers the unthinkable about her ...

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Mother of Pearl

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Overview

Barrie Graeber has two great kids, a loving husband, and a respected job as the high school counselor in her close-knit community. Without warning, everything unravels when her teenage daughter, Pearl, is betrayed by friends and lashes out.

Nothing prepares this mother for the helplessness that follows when her attempts to steer her daughter back on course fail and Pearl shuts her out . . . or when she discovers the unthinkable about her nemesis, the football coach.

Emotionally riveting and profoundly moving, Mother of Pearl brings us into the heart of a mother bound by an incredible burden, who ultimately finds she must recognize her own vulnerability and learn to trust in something much bigger.

"Heart-wrenching yet filled with grace and hope, Kellie Coates Gilbert's Mother of Pearl is beautifully written and a book that needs to be read by everyone with a child or grandchild. Novel Rocket and I give it a high recommendation." Ane Mulligan, Sr. Editor Novel Rocket

"A story that could have come from today’s headlines, Mother of Pearl is a compelling, thought-provoking debut. With impeccable prose, Kellie Coates Gilbert kept me turning the pages in this high-stakes story of one mother’s quest for healing and justice." - Carla Stewart, award-winning author of Chasing Lilacs and Stardust

"Kellie Coates Gilbert's debut novel kept me turning pages and on the edge of my seat. Wonderful, richly-drawn characters who drew me to their hearts despite their flaws. Mother of Pearl carries a sobering message but it's deftly threaded through a story that is anything but sober. I will eagerly await Gilbert's next offering." -Deborah Raney, author of the Hanover Falls Novels series from Howard/Simon & Schuster

"Gilbert’s debut novel is a force to be reckoned with. Mother of Pearl will pluck at the cords of every reader’s heart and refuse to let go until the last page. The story shines a light in the dark places of an issue too often over-looked. There’s a desperate need for awareness regarding this sensitive topic, and Gilbert’s Barrie is a mother who is willing to stand her ground in the face of the fiercest opposition. A heart-twisting tale that readers won’t soon forget."—Elizabeth Goddard, Carol Award winning author of The Camera Never Lies

"Kellie Gilbert's debut novel is a beautifully written, moving story about the vastness of a mother's love for her daughter. Highly recommended." Lisa Harris, Christy Award Finalist

"A cautionary tale for our times, Mother of Pearl is a compelling journey through loss and longing, grief and redemption, crime and justice. Kellie Coates Gilbert unfolds her story with the sensitivity of a skilled writer." – Lisa Wingate, National bestselling, award-winning author of Dandelion Summer and Blue Moon Bay

"From the deepest recesses of her heart, Kellie Coates Gilbert pens her debut novel – Mother of Pearl. It is a story about love, family, tragedy and loss that the author writes with an immeasurable depth of passion and skill. Beautifully and compellingly written, this heartbreaking - yet heartwarming story goes beyond the norm, allowing us to touch the very soul of depression and grief. And to come out the better for it. This story will remain with me for many years to come." - Nancy Jo Jenkins, author of Coldwater Revival

"I started and finished Mother of Pearl in one night. There is no better endorsement than simply not being able to put a book down. And I couldn't put down this first time authors debut novel. I was totally engrossed." - Tina Sloan, Author of Changing Shoes, and television star of Guiding Light

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  • Mother of Pearl
    Mother of Pearl  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Gilbert’s fiction debut is the intense tale of Barrie Graeber and her family. Barrie is a high school counselor, and her teenage daughter Pearl makes some bad choices that lead to her death in a car crash. The family’s grief takes a complex turn when they learn of Pearl’s involvement with an adult and Barrie pursues her desire for justice. The emotionally fraught plot unfolds very slowly, and certain key developments occur late in the narrative, blurring the novel’s focus: is it about grief or sexual predation? Gilbert, a former paralegal, is at her best with courtroom scenes, when deliberate pacing is both dramatic and appropriate. But characterization of several of the minor figures is too slight, and the overall tempo is so slow as to become more melodrama than taut drama that sinks under the weight of too many issues. Agent: Sandra Bishop, MacGregor Literary Agency (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426733437
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2012
  • Pages: 303
  • Sales rank: 406,490
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

A former legal investigator and trial paralegal, Kellie Coates Gilbertwrites with a sympathetic, intimate knowledge of how people react under pressure. She is a Pacific Northwest native, and now calls Dallas home.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 18, 2014

    Mother of Pearl is an interesting story about commitment to fami

    Mother of Pearl is an interesting story about commitment to family and staying true to one’s self. The author tackled some difficult themes—accountability, forgiveness, and regeneration—to name a few. I liked the way she handled the fact that neither families, nor individuals are rarely what they seem.

    When teenager, Pearl, meets with what appears to be a typical, teen-age crisis, we are drawn into the family dynamics and how it affects the family as a whole and also, each individual. As later events unfold, Pearl’s mother becomes obsessed with getting to the root of the problem, which creates multiple, but realistic, twists and turns in the story.

    I found the story disturbing and a bit unsettling, but timely and in sync with issues we are facing today in our society. A major, current social dilemma was woven into the story and astutely addressed--Our adulation and valuation of sports and sports’ figures, at any cost. As a teacher and a parent, I was also interested in the conflict between sports and academics.

    I was expecting a lighter read. It is not that. I found Mother of Pearl to be a compelling and thought-provoking novel.

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  • Posted November 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Mother of Pearl is a stand-alone novel by debut author Kellie Co

    Mother of Pearl is a stand-alone novel by debut author Kellie Coates Gilbert. Set in a close-knit community in Idaho where football reigns supreme, this is an extremely well written and moving story, very relevant for our times. To put it simply, Kellie Coates Gilbert is an author to watch.

    Mother of Pearl is a wonderful character-driven, relationship drama with court scenes that are top notch - and while I read a lot of novels that fit that description, this story is quite different from anything I've ever read. Relevant, compelling, heartrending, and thought provoking are a few adjectives that quickly come to mind. The writing is tight, infused with Kellie's dry sense of humor, and will keep you turning the pages.

    Who will enjoy this story? Anyone who wants a riveting narrative that grabs you from the first and doesn't let go. Those who like character-driven drama with a heroine who feels so real that you'll want to cheer her on. People who have experienced a heartbreaking loss. Mothers everywhere.

    At the heart of this story is a mother's fierce and unfailing love. As Barrie sees her daughter beginning the march toward independence, she reflects, "I find myself wishing I could grab the drumsticks and toss them aside, silencing the beat that is drawing her away." What mother can't relate to that feeling?!

    Barrie is a strong character, a school guidance counselor whose job is to advocate for students in a school - and community - where football continually trumps academics. "Sometimes that means protecting them from a coach who has yet to understand that the one with the most trophies can still wind up a loser." Pearl's death shines the light on the growing phenomenon of coaches sexually exploiting students, and Barrie becomes a mother who risks her job, marriage, and Pearl's reputation to find answers and see that justice is served.

    Spiritual themes are subtle, but ever present. Parents often grieve in very different ways, and we see that in Barrie and Steve. Barrie struggles with the faith that Steve finds solace in, and feels that he is moving on without her: "I wish I were a religious woman. Maybe faith would be an antidote to a world that crumbles beneath your feet." Spiritual themes of faith, hope, and recovery are always present just beneath the surface.

    Watching Barrie grieve reminds me of the many times I have felt awkward around someone who has lost a loved one, not knowing what to say. Barrie feels somewhat detached and notices how uncomfortable her friends seem, "as if my horrible luck might be contagious." And I felt for Barrie because she didn't have an unshakable faith to support her. But her strength and determination to bring justice do eventually lead to the embracing of a timid faith. I like how Kellie leaves some things to our imagination, and after the celebration scene in the last chapter, I can easily envision the advocate for Christ that Barrie will become.

    While I would have liked to see certain things explored in more depth - the background surrounding Pearl's birth, the strained relationship between Barrie and her mother, conflict resolution between Barrie and Steve, for instance - the story focused exactly on what it needed to focus on. I will say, however, that if Kellie had written a 500-page novel with more storylines fleshed out, I would have been glued to every page.

    Readers, please don't shy away from this book because it deals with a teenager's death, but be drawn by the fact that it tells the story of a woman who overcomes an unexpected, life-changing obstacle. In Kellie's words, "I write about messy lives, and eternal hope."

    I eagerly anticipate what Kellie writes next, and highly recommend Mother of Pearl to all readers.

    This book was provided by Kellie Coates Gilbert in exchange for my honest review.

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  • Posted September 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Kellie Coates Gilbert in her new book, ¿Mother of Pearl¿ publish

    Kellie Coates Gilbert in her new book, “Mother of Pearl” published by Abingdon Press brings us into the life of Barrie Graeber.

    From the back cover: “The day my precious Pearl entered this world, I said goodbye to my heart. It would not be the last time.”

    School counselor Barrie Graeber’s world shatters when her teenage daughter sneaks out in the middle of the night and is killed in an automobile accident. Amidst her grief, nothing prepares her for the news that Pearl was pregnant at the time of her death and that Barrie’s nemesis, the high school football coach, is responsible.

    Barrie vows to do whatever it takes to bring the sexual predator to justice. But when the prosecution accepts the popular coach’s plea bargain, Barrie feels forced to seek her own retribution, placing her marriage at risk and damaging her family and career relationships. Absolute truths and convictions are put to the test, and Barrie must recognize her own vulnerability and find the grace to re-examine her need for vengeance and her trust in God.

    This is a book that should be made into a TV movie. “Mother of Pearl” is filled with tension and many twist and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The story is about sexual predators and the effects they have on the families of the young people they prey upon. A predatory attack upon an innocent young girl sends her spinning into self-destructive behavior that the parents don’t understand the reason for. When Barrie finds out that Pearl was pregnant when she died she and her husband are shocked. In the hands of a less skillful writer this book could degenerate quickly. However, Ms. Gilbert is highly talented and keeps, not only the story moving, but she keeps it at a high level of quality. Mother of Pearl” is about taking vengeance. Barrie wants to take her own when it seems the courts fail her. However that begins to do all kinds of damage to her relationships. So she finally has to put up her hands and give her desire for vengeance over to God who said that vengeance was His. The last ten pages of this book will keep you reading as fast as you can. Ms. Gilbert makes you care for all the characters and their journey. This is also just plain fun and exciting as well. Don’t start this book late at night because it will cost you sleep.

    If you would like to listen to interviews with other authors and professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where they are available On Demand.

    To listen to 24 hours non-stop, commercial free Christian music please visit our internet radio station Kingdom Airwaves

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Abingdon Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2012

    Read

    My parents know the author

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  • Posted September 1, 2012

    So uplifting and moving. Loved it!

    Oh, I loved this book! Just as the summary says, it is emotionally riveting and profoundly moving. I cried and cried while reading Mother of Pearl (outright crying while reading is a rare thing for me). I was sitting on my couch during my baby's nap time, with a box of tissues next to me. The book was just so moving, I could not hold the tears in. I don't think I would have been so affected, but for the fact that I am a mother now and could really identify with Barrie. That's not to say that Mother of Pearl was a depressing book. There were sad events, to be sure, but ultimately the book was uplifting and ended on a positive note.


    Mother of Pearl is written from Barrie's perspective---which I loved. I've read so many coming-of-age stories written from the teen's point-of-view, it was nice to read one from the mother's perspective. Except that Mother of Pearl was much more than a coming-of-age story. It was about so many things: the relationships within a family and extended family, people dealing with overwhelming loss, and people growing in faith (or coming to faith for the first time). Gilbert writes about a messy situation---one that is becoming all too common in our society, and how it affects one family, and the community as a whole.

    I loved reading about all of the relationships in Barrie's life. From her relationship with her husband and children, to her interactions and troubled past with her own mother, to her friendships with her coworkers, every interaction served to enlighten the reader to Barrie's character. She changes so much throughout the novel, and grows in ways she never thought possible. I loved how she transformed from someone who shied away from Christians and inwardly groaned whenever someone brought up God or faith, to someone who comes to lean on God in all things. By the end of the book, Barrie's view on the world is totally transformed, through events which are horrifying but ultimately strengthen her and mold her into a new person.

    Gilbert's pacing was excellent. Mother of Pearl covers about a year in time (I'm approximating here) without feeling like the story jumped around or moved too fast or too slow. The story moved at just the right pace, which kept me reading long past the time I thought I would stop.

    I was so, so happy with the ending of this book. I loved the way Gilbert handled the events that concluded the story. She turned the focus towards inner change, and ultimately, activism on Barrie's part. I loved seeing the glimpse into the future and how Barrie becomes an advocate for troubled teens. I'm trying hard not to say too much because I don't want to give the story away.

    If you're a fan of contemporary fiction, women's fiction, or Christian fiction, this book's for you. If you typically shy away from Christian fiction, be advised that the faith element is subtle enough for those new to the genre to like the book. I absolutely loved it and cannot wait to read more from Kellie Coates Gilbert!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2012

    Great book! Couldn't put it down!

    This book is just plain and simply put.....FANTASTIC!!!! This author is very talented!!! Can't wait for her next book! J.C.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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