The Time Between

The Time Between

4.0 60
by Karen White
     
 

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New York Times bestselling author Karen White delivers a novel of two generations of sisters and secrets set in the stunning South Carolina Lowcountry.

Eleanor Murray will always remember her childhood on Edisto Island, where her late father, a local shrimper, shared her passion for music. Now her memories of him are all that tempers the guiltSee more details below

Overview

New York Times bestselling author Karen White delivers a novel of two generations of sisters and secrets set in the stunning South Carolina Lowcountry.

Eleanor Murray will always remember her childhood on Edisto Island, where her late father, a local shrimper, shared her passion for music. Now her memories of him are all that tempers the guilt she feels over the accident that put her sister in a wheelchair—and the feelings she harbors for her sister’s husband.

To help support her sister, Eleanor works at a Charleston investment firm during the day, but she escapes into her music, playing piano at a neighborhood bar. Until the night her enigmatic boss walks in and offers her a part-time job caring for his elderly aunt, Helena, back on Edisto. For Eleanor, it’s a chance to revisit the place where she was her happiest—and to share her love of music with grieving Helena, whose sister recently died under mysterious circumstances.

An island lush with sweetgrass and salt marshes, Edisto has been a peaceful refuge for Helena, who escaped with her sister from war-torn Hungary in 1944. The sisters were well-known on the island, where they volunteered in their church and community. But now Eleanor will finally learn the truth about their past: secrets that will help heal her relationship with her own sister—and set Eleanor free....

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Fourteen years after an accident left her sister Eve paralyzed and herself guilt-ridden, Eleanor Murray struggles to atone--not only for the accident, but also for falling in love with her brother-in-law, Glen. The accident fractured the family, dashing Eve's future as a beauty pageant contestant. And after their father dies, Eleanor's dreams of playing piano at Juilliard dissolve. Their mother holds Eleanor responsible for keeping together the family she broke apart. Eve knows she should forgive Eleanor, but she can't quite let go of her anger. Glen, too, is torn between his commitment to Eve and his attraction to Eleanor. Balancing her work at a law office with caring for her mother, sister and brother-in-law, Eleanor too often finds that neither time nor money will stretch far enough. So she arrives late or leaves early, grateful that her boss, Finn Beaufain--the handsome, gray-eyed, divorced father of an adorable yet fragile daughter--tolerates her erratic schedule. She gets dinner on the table, bathes her sister, placates her arthritic mother and occasionally slips on a slinky red dress to play piano at a local dive, hoping someone might offer her solace in his unfamiliar arms. Finding her at the bar one night, Finn gives her a chance: a chance to recover her lost self and perhaps a chance at love. Finn gives her a job caring for his aunt Helena on Edisto Island, where Eleanor grew up. White (After the Rain, 2012, etc.) once again crafts characters who transcend their romantic roles through their frailties and weaknesses. An appealing romance with intergenerational resonance.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101614112
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/04/2013
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
16,349
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

The first time I died was the summer I turned seventeen. I remember the air being so hot you could smell the pluff mud baking in the sun, the scent sulfur-sweet and strong enough to curl your toes, the tall stems of sweetgrass listless, their tips bowed in submission. Blood sat like melted copper in my open mouth as I rose above my broken body, splayed like a rag doll beside the dirt road. Let me go, I thought as I hovered, weightless. But I felt the pull of a gossamer thread of conscience and retribution that tethered me to this earth. Before I heard the screams of the sirens and my mother’s wailing, I knew I wouldn’t stay dead for long.

I watched, suspended between this world and the next, as my mother bent over Eve’s body, my sister’s legs bent in ways they shouldn’t have been. Two paramedics worked on her, trying to push my mother away, while another noticed me, my body nearly hidden in the thick underbrush by the side of the road. He squatted next to me, his fingers reaching for the pulse in my neck. I felt none of this. I watched passively, as if I were a spectator in a movie theater.

I noticed that the paramedic was young, with thick blond hair on his head and muscled forearms that reflected the sunlight and reminded me of the sweetgrass. I was studying him so intently that I didn’t realize that he’d begun to perform CPR. Still I felt nothing. I was more focused on my sister and on my mother, who hadn’t looked in my direction yet. I hadn’t really expected her to.

And there was Glen, tall and slender and strong, moving between Eve and me, helpless to do anything, his frantic pacing only stirring up dust.

I heard my name called and thought for a moment it might be my father come to take me away—away from the two broken girls and screaming mother and the air that moved in hot, thick waves. Flies buzzed and dipped over the thin trail of blood from my open mouth, but I couldn’t hear them or feel them. I was thinking somebody needed to swat them away when I noticed for the first time the wooden church set back behind the trees. When Eve and I had walked our bikes down the dirt road just a short time before, giggling like the little girls we had once been, I hadn’t seen it. It seemed impossible that I couldn’t have.

The bright, whitewashed walls and tall steeple shone like a benediction in the relentless sunlight. The words PRAISE HOUSE were hand painted over the top of the arched red door, and a fence with a rusty gate swung as if spirits were passing through. It made no sense for the church to be where it was, nestled between the giant oaks and bright green undergrowth. But the white paint glowed in the sun as if brand-new, the wood steps leading up to the front door smooth and worn from the tread of hundreds of feet. Seated on the bottom step was a large woman with skin the color of burnt charcoal, her fingers working her sewing bone through the strands on a sweetgrass basket. She wasn’t looking at me, but I was sure it was she who’d called my name.

“Who are you?” I wanted to ask, but all I could do was watch her and her fingers and the grass as it was woven into the pattern of the basket.

Grasping the basket in one hand, she stood and began walking toward where I lay. She stopped for a moment, looking down on me, her shadow blocking the sun from my baking body like the angel of mercy. Slowly she knelt by the paramedic and leaned toward me. He didn’t seem to notice the woman as she bent close to my ear. Her words were clear, and I thought I could feel a cool breeze on my cheek from her breath as she spoke. “All shut-eye ain’t sleep; all good-bye ain’t gone.”

The pain struck me like a fist as I was pulled back toward earth, down into the body I’d inhabited for seventeen years, and gasped with one long, icy breath. I opened my eyes, meeting the blue eyes of the startled paramedic. I turned my head, searching for the woman, but she and the church were gone. Only the sound of a rusty gate and the lingering scent of the heat-scorched sweetgrass told me that she’d been there at all.

I heard my mother crying out my sister’s name over and over as I stared up at the clear blue sky, where a white egret circled slowly overhead. All shut-eye ain’t sleep; all good-bye ain’t gone. I didn’t know what she meant, but I reasoned I’d been given another lifetime to figure it out.

Almost fourteen years later, I was still trying.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Praise for New York Times Bestselling Author Karen White

“One of the best new writers on the scene today.”—The Huffington Post

“[Karen White] gives you everything you could want.”—New York Times Bestselling Author Kerrelyn Sparks

Sea Change is…riveting. Karen White [is] a master storyteller....She capitalizes on her strengths by using rich characters and poetic prose in a picturesque landscape.”—Fresh Fiction

“Readers will find White’s prose an uplifting experience as she is a truly gifted storyteller.”—Las Vegas Review-Journal

“White’s ability to write a book that keeps you hankering for more is her strong suit. The Beach Trees is a great book about the power of family and connection that you won’t soon forget.”—South Charlotte Weekly

“White…weaves together themes of Southern culture, the powerful bond of family, and the courage to rebuild in the face of destruction to create an incredibly moving story her dedicated fans are sure to embrace.”—Moultrie News (SC)

“A story as rich as a coastal summer…a great love story.”—New York Times Bestselling Author Deborah Smith

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