Between Before and After
“The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.”Fourteen-year-old Molly worries about school, friends, and her parents’ failed marriage, but mostly about her mother’s growing depression. Molly knows her mother is nursing a carefully-kept secret. A writer with an obsession for other people’s life stories, Elaine Donnelly is the poster child of repressed emotions.Molly spends her California summer alternately watching out for her little brother Angus and tip-toeing around her mother’s raw feelings. Molly needs her mother more than ever, but Elaine shuts herself off from real human connections and buries herself in the lives and deaths of the strangers she writes about. When Uncle Stephen is pressed into the limelight because of his miracle cure of a young man, Elaine can no longer hide behind other people’s stories. And as Molly digs into her mother’s past, she finds a secret hidden in her mother’s dresser that may be the key to unlocking a family mystery dating to 1918 New York—a secret that could destroy or save their future.

Between Before and After Details

TitleBetween Before and After
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 5th, 2019
PublisherBlink
ISBN-139780310767381
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Historical, Historical Fiction, Mystery

Between Before and After Review

  • Sheila Goicea
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!Review to come shortly!My Blog ¦ Bookstagram ¦ Twitter ¦ Pinterest ¦ Facebook
  • The Book Valkyrie
    January 1, 1970
    Maureen Doyle McQuerry has crafted a beautifully emotional story filled with love, loss, hope, and discovery. Ms. McQuerry's writing style is absolutely captivating, as I can guarantee you will be unable to stop flipping the pages of this book due to its ability to enchant readers. Everything from the plot, setting, and characters in this novel are original and unforgettable. I loved reading in the perspectives of both Molly and her mother, Elaine, for they both had such exquisitely different wa Maureen Doyle McQuerry has crafted a beautifully emotional story filled with love, loss, hope, and discovery. Ms. McQuerry's writing style is absolutely captivating, as I can guarantee you will be unable to stop flipping the pages of this book due to its ability to enchant readers. Everything from the plot, setting, and characters in this novel are original and unforgettable. I loved reading in the perspectives of both Molly and her mother, Elaine, for they both had such exquisitely different ways of viewing things. I loved this book's setting as well. It was very well-developed and vividly written. While reading Between Before and After, I felt as though I was actually being transported to another world.The only thing I would critique about this book is its ending. I found it to be slightly rushed, for it lacked much-needed build-up and development.But all in all, this is a dazzling story that you won't want to miss out on once it hits shelves!
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    #ItsNotYouMsMcQuerryItsMe
  • Megan Chance
    January 1, 1970
    Complex and beautifully layered. This story of family secrets, hope and change is wonderfully written. It's a gem of a novel with all the hallmarks of a classic.
  • Karen • The Book Return
    January 1, 1970
    Read this review and more on my blog.The Book Return Blog*I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Elaine is the child of poor Irish immigrants. She is growing up in turn of the century New York City. When Elaine's mother dies from the Spanish flu, Elaine struggles to keep her family together.  Elaine's daughter, Molly, is growing up in 1950's San José, California. She is crushed by Read this review and more on my blog.The Book Return Blog*I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Elaine is the child of poor Irish immigrants. She is growing up in turn of the century New York City. When Elaine's mother dies from the Spanish flu, Elaine struggles to keep her family together.  Elaine's daughter, Molly, is growing up in 1950's San José, California. She is crushed by the breakup of her parents marriage and desperately attempting to understand her distant mother and learn her secrets. I really love historical fiction. I find I enjoy YA most often when it has some history to it. It gives the story more depth and perspective. I was really pleasantly surprised to discover that 'Between Before & After' contained dual timelines from the 1950's and 1910's.  I also loved that the timelines were of a mother and daughter with the mother included in the daughters timeline. I really liked Elaine's 1910's story more than Molly's 1950's story. The struggles (including poverty, abuse, and alcoholism) of immigrants in New York in the early twenty century is harrowing.  I felt  like Molly's story was a little less put together than Elaine's. A few times the dialog in Molly's point of view seemed a little rambling. Also, I really thought the whole miracle thing with Uncle Stephan took away from Molly's story.  I thought the story wrapped up well. It gave a good conclusion without being tied up too neatly. I really enjoyed 'Between Before & After'. A family historical drama with two great YA protagonists. One of my favorite YA's. Little things I loved about the story: 1950's pop culture (the characters first trip to McDonald's),the homing pigeons and that whole thing with the roses. 
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  • TheReadingCornerforAll Lopez
    January 1, 1970
    The space between before and after is a curious place to define for this is where forgotten truths and secrets often lie. This pocket of time can be founded by the past where all the things we wish to tuck away are gradually layered. However, the space between before and after is not just limited to the past for it extends itself throughout multiple generations that enclose their individual desires and confidences. Author Maureen Doyle McQuerry’s usage of dual narratives which span through time The space between before and after is a curious place to define for this is where forgotten truths and secrets often lie. This pocket of time can be founded by the past where all the things we wish to tuck away are gradually layered. However, the space between before and after is not just limited to the past for it extends itself throughout multiple generations that enclose their individual desires and confidences. Author Maureen Doyle McQuerry’s usage of dual narratives which span through time in her latest work, Between Before and After, demonstrates how the past and the future are inevitably connected within time’s grasp.In 1955, Molly is a young girl who wishes to piece together fragments of her mother’s past. Back in 1918, all Elaine wishes is survival for her brother and herself who must fend for themselves after their mother’s passing. In the process of reading the story, readers gain a firm understanding of the characters and how mother, Elaine, and daughter, Molly, are reflections of each other yet they cannot find a way to really connect.The chapters in Between Before and After alternate between Molly and Elaine’s narrative and time; it arises interesting perceptions about what the present actually constitutes. For Elaine, the idea of time is relative because she is constantly reliving her moments from before; this is a part of her truth and her identity. Molly, on the other hand, who is still constructing her sense of self, considers knowing everything about her mother’s past as something integral towards her own personal construction. I enjoyed how small passages of Elaine’s own version of Hansel and Gretel are scattered throughout the story like breadcrumbs in their own right. It serves as a parallel to the ongoing events of the time and is symbolic to how life turns into a story of its own.Altogether, this was a great historical coming of age novel that blends the generations and brings a great tide of emotions through closure and understanding.
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  • Jackie
    January 1, 1970
    * 4.5 stars * A book that managed to tie the past and present together with the undertones of a fairytale gives us a story that shows how far someone will go to protect the ones they love and just how similar mothers and daughters can be. “Between Before and After” finds Molly digging through her mother’s drawers when she finds a mysterious envelope that makes her question what secrets lie in her past and what it can tell her about their future as a family. I really loved the style of this book * 4.5 stars * A book that managed to tie the past and present together with the undertones of a fairytale gives us a story that shows how far someone will go to protect the ones they love and just how similar mothers and daughters can be. “Between Before and After” finds Molly digging through her mother’s drawers when she finds a mysterious envelope that makes her question what secrets lie in her past and what it can tell her about their future as a family. I really loved the style of this book setting us up with Molly’s discovery and her quest to find answers intermixed with the past told in her mother’s point of view as she and her brother struggle to survive when the odds are stacked against them. All the while we gets hints in Molly’s sections that something happens to make her mother lose all faith and over the course of the book we see what happened and why the past doesn’t always get to stay there. Both of their stories were so beautiful and tragic in that these two share a lot of similarities but seem to clash more often than not. It’s especially true when we see their counterparts in their respective younger brothers and that plays to the roles put on older siblings to be more responsible even if it means putting your own happiness aside. Also due to the times in which this story takes place there’s always this lingering sense of dread when it comes to Elaine’s story that very much plays into the feeling most women have in their life at some point or another and in her case her anger towards those who (and this is as best as I can say without spoiling) believe one life is more important than another. My only real critique is that the ending didn’t feel final to me it was almost as though someone had tried to make it something that would stick with you long after you turned the page but for me it felt a lot like I was missing one which was a bit underwhelming considering how much I enjoyed the rest. Both of these stories are told with the undercurrents of Hansel and Gretel sprinkled in between and as the reader you know that though this is a story grounded in reality, one of them must meet the witch and you hope that they survive and as it blends heavy topics like the roles of women, generational struggles and faith you follow them along on this path and make their way back home. **special thanks to the publishers and netgalley for providing an arc in exchange for a fair and honest review!**
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  • Wendy Poteet
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book! If you're a fan of historical fiction, put this on your must-have list!
  • Elizabeth Mathis
    January 1, 1970
    “The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.”Fourteen-year-old Molly worries about school, friends, and her parents’ failed marriage, but mostly about her mother’s growing depression. Molly knows her mother is nursing a carefully-kept secret. A writer with an obsession for other people’s life stories, Elaine Donnelly is “The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.”Fourteen-year-old Molly worries about school, friends, and her parents’ failed marriage, but mostly about her mother’s growing depression. Molly knows her mother is nursing a carefully-kept secret. A writer with an obsession for other people’s life stories, Elaine Donnelly is the poster child of repressed emotions.Molly spends her California summer alternately watching out for her little brother Angus and tip-toeing around her mother’s raw feelings. Molly needs her mother more than ever, but Elaine shuts herself off from real human connections and buries herself in the lives and deaths of the strangers she writes about. When Uncle Stephen is pressed into the limelight because of his miracle cure of a young man, Elaine can no longer hide behind other people’s stories. And as Molly digs into her mother’s past, she finds a secret hidden in her mother’s dresser that may be the key to unlocking a family mystery dating to 1918 New York—a secret that could destroy or save their future.Rating: 4.5/5 PenguinsQuick Reasons: deliciously poignant; that purple prose slays; believable, flawed characters; the growth discovered in the mystery was on point; this journey will crawl into your heart and stay thereHUGE thanks to Maureen Doyle McQuerry, Blink Publishing, and Fantastic Flying Book Club for sending a complimentary galley of this title my way! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book. "We don't always know what a story means up front. In fact, we can't know until we experience the beginning and the end." He picked up a smooth, flat stone and sent it sailing out across the water. It skipped five times, leaving a widening trail of circles, before it sank. "I was looking at that Hansel and Gretel book the other day, the one that was your mom's. Most people don't remember the ending. They think the story ends when the witch is pushed into the oven.""The children find their way home again."This book was a journey, Penguins--and a heart wrenching, poignant one at that. The dual POVs/time frames really helped to fully round the characters out, especially in the case of Elaine. Where from Molly's POV, Elaine seems trapped in her own world, full of secrets...we, as readers, get to see the world FROM Elaine's younger years while also helping Molly unravel the mysteries of her mom. Maureen Doyle McQuerry built a strong story foundation, sprinkling just enough clues throughout that while readers might have a sense of SOME of the darkest abysses to be unraveled, some of the biggest reveals were left to settle in their own time, and with a bang. I really enjoyed the way that the most applicable life lessons were left to fill themselves out and fall into place without being forced. The growth found in the journey, especially in the case of Molly trying to figure out just who she is, was so beautifully rendered. The purple prose is likewise delicious. Maureen Doyle McQuerry wielded a pen dipped in the finest of words, and knew how to weave a tapestry of gorgeous imagery. I had next to no trouble falling into this story from page one. The characters were believable and so easy to empathize with, as well. The gritty atmosphere and emotional leanings of the time period were equally well-handled, taking care not to sugar coat the hardest lessons but also approaching each with sensitivity and respect. On the way out, Elaine pointed to the statue of Saint Stephen. A long robe fell to his ankles and in one palm he held a pile of rocks. He looked too young to be a saint."That's who Mama named you after." No sense in telling Stephen his namesake had been stoned to death.Stephen considered the statue. "Lainey, I'd rather he wasn't wearing a dress."I just CANNOT say enough about this book. It is beautiful, inside and out (no, really, every finite detail was approached with care, from the cover art to the title headings and page breaks). Maureen Doyle McQuerry crafted a winner in my book, Penguins. I encourage those who love historical fiction with believable characters and family secrets to pick this book up--I guarantee you'll lose yourselves in the journey just as easily as I did!
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  • Paige Green
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: I received this book from JustReadsTour! Thanks! All opinions are my own.Rating: 4/5Publication Date: February 5, 2019Genre: YA ContemporaryRecommended Age: 13+ (pain, past, secrets, loss and love)Publisher: BlinkPages: 304Amazon LinkSynopsis: “The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.”Fourteen-year-old Mo Disclaimer: I received this book from JustReadsTour! Thanks! All opinions are my own.Rating: 4/5Publication Date: February 5, 2019Genre: YA ContemporaryRecommended Age: 13+ (pain, past, secrets, loss and love)Publisher: BlinkPages: 304Amazon LinkSynopsis: “The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.”Fourteen-year-old Molly worries about school, friends, and her parents’ failed marriage, but mostly about her mother’s growing depression. Molly knows her mother is nursing a carefully-kept secret. A writer with an obsession for other people’s life stories, Elaine Donnelly is the poster child of repressed emotions.Molly spends her California summer alternately watching out for her little brother Angus and tip-toeing around her mother’s raw feelings. Molly needs her mother more than ever, but Elaine shuts herself off from real human connections and buries herself in the lives and deaths of the strangers she writes about. When Uncle Stephen is pressed into the limelight because of his miracle cure of a young man, Elaine can no longer hide behind other people’s stories. And as Molly digs into her mother’s past, she finds a secret hidden in her mother’s dresser that may be the key to unlocking a family mystery dating to 1918 New York—a secret that could destroy or save their future.Review: I thought this book was so captivating and fantastical! I loved how wonderfully vivid and real the writing was! The characters were all well written and the plot and world building were done well as well. The book was structured amazingly well and it left me constantly wanting for more!However, the ending was not as fantastical. It felt really rushed and ex machina. I think it needs to be built up a bit more but overall it’s pretty well!Verdict: A amazing book!
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  • Amber
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the publisher for sending me a free copy of the book. This was an interesting book. It delved into some pretty deep topics, which were heavier than I expected. I was really captivated by the endurance of these characters, and found myself fully immersed in the world Doyle McQuerry has created.One of my favorite aspects of the book was its dual timeline narrative. I recently had a conversation with a fellow booknerd about how much I appreciate the buildup that comes with this type of st Thanks to the publisher for sending me a free copy of the book. This was an interesting book. It delved into some pretty deep topics, which were heavier than I expected. I was really captivated by the endurance of these characters, and found myself fully immersed in the world Doyle McQuerry has created.
One of my favorite aspects of the book was its dual timeline narrative. I recently had a conversation with a fellow booknerd about how much I appreciate the buildup that comes with this type of storytelling. It's like getting two stories in one. I love that it creates a bit of mystery and suspense - you know the two storylines are going to converge or cross paths, but you don't quite know how they're going to get there.
However, my absolute favorite part of this book were the two main characters, Elaine and Molly. These two gals both found themselves in similar situations involving having to raise/look out for their younger brothers, while they were both still children themselves. But what I loved about that was their perseverance. They were such strong youngsters with a fierce sense of survival. And they were also just strong female characters in general. 
". . . But let me give you some advice. Let all of this go. Guys don't like girls who are different, girls who overthink things."
"Then I guess that saves me from worrying about what to wear to prom. . . I'm not going to stop thinking because it makes some guy uncomfortable. I'll ask whatever questions I want!"
I'd definitely recommend Between Before & After to anyone looking for a historical YA read that'll pull you in and make you think. It's not all sunshine and roses, but it's strong characters, perseverance, and family bonds.
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  • KayCee K
    January 1, 1970
    Told in different times the past and future. Elaine's is a young girl worried about school, family and overall life. Given a hard hand in life she does her best to carry her and her brother throughout life. While the other point of view comes from, Molly who spends her summer chasing her mothers past, while dealing with her Uncle who is tossed into the light of the town for doing a miracle. Once I started this story I was lost into the pages, so it was easy to spend hours reading this book. I fi Told in different times the past and future. Elaine's is a young girl worried about school, family and overall life. Given a hard hand in life she does her best to carry her and her brother throughout life. While the other point of view comes from, Molly who spends her summer chasing her mothers past, while dealing with her Uncle who is tossed into the light of the town for doing a miracle. Once I started this story I was lost into the pages, so it was easy to spend hours reading this book. I finished it in just a few days and I still find myself thinking about it. I enjoyed the characters, for me, they are what made this book amazing. Their wit and caring, made me hope for them. The messages of family, roles of women and faith; parts were beautifully done. Going from the past to the future was done so well, I never got confused about who I was reading. I loved how Hansel and Gretel were sprinkled in between the parts. This title and cover fit this book perfectly. But for me, I loved how much writing and the power of words affected these characters and their lives. I did highlight a few lines that I love and hope they made it into the finished book. Step into this beautifully written book, that feels like a classic with family, drama & hope!I was given an ARC of this book, however, this is my 100% honest thoughts.
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  • Suzie Waltner
    January 1, 1970
    A thoroughly engaging book about family told through to time periods—1918 for Elaine and 1955 for her daughter Molly—Between Before and After is unique and refreshing. Love of their brothers and interested in writing are commonalities between Molly and her mother, yet there’s also an air of depression around Elaine. One Molly is convinced comes from something from Elaine’s past.In an effort to figure out what is happening with her mother, Molly embarks on a fact-finding mission to try and figure A thoroughly engaging book about family told through to time periods—1918 for Elaine and 1955 for her daughter Molly—Between Before and After is unique and refreshing. Love of their brothers and interested in writing are commonalities between Molly and her mother, yet there’s also an air of depression around Elaine. One Molly is convinced comes from something from Elaine’s past.In an effort to figure out what is happening with her mother, Molly embarks on a fact-finding mission to try and figure out the disconnect between them.Maureen Doyle McQuerry gives readers an intricately layered story of two young women in very different times who are related but distant. Elaine’s storyline is more emotional as she lives through heavy moments of loss and grief. Yet, Molly’s journey of discovery enhances both.The end is more abrupt and could have been fleshed out a bit more, but the journey is definitely worth taking. For those looking for YA reads that don’t center on romance, Between Before and After is an excellent choice.Disclosure statement:I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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  • Rose
    January 1, 1970
    I loved, loved, loved Ms. McQuerry's writing style. The split-time was handled in an incredible manner, with the end of each chapter being left in a cliffhanger. It made the novel difficult to put down. Many times throughout the story, an excerpt from Hansel and Gretel is used, adding character to the story as a whole.Despite everything that I loved, the content was mature enough that I cannot recommend this book to teens. There was a description of how abortion is performed and prematernal sex I loved, loved, loved Ms. McQuerry's writing style. The split-time was handled in an incredible manner, with the end of each chapter being left in a cliffhanger. It made the novel difficult to put down. Many times throughout the story, an excerpt from Hansel and Gretel is used, adding character to the story as a whole.Despite everything that I loved, the content was mature enough that I cannot recommend this book to teens. There was a description of how abortion is performed and prematernal sex resulting in a child. There were also numerous comments scattered throughout the novel that were not appropriate.Personal Rating: 2 StarsContent Rating: 1 Star*I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required.
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  • Blue Cypress Books
    January 1, 1970
    Moving and well written historical fiction, this book will certainly appeal to both older teens and adults. Deals with sensitive, real-life matters in a smart and engaging way.
  • Trisa
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free advanced copy of Between Before and After as part of the FFBC Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review.Enter the GIVEAWAY on my blog, Absolute Bookishness. (Ends 2/15/2019.)Told in alternating perspectives between Molly and her mother, Elaine, Between Before and After crosses distance and time–from 1955 San Jose, California to 1919 Brooklyn, New York and back–spinning a tale of grief, determination, and wonder.In Between Before and After, McQuerry reveals the strained, tenuou I received a free advanced copy of Between Before and After as part of the FFBC Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review.Enter the GIVEAWAY on my blog, Absolute Bookishness. (Ends 2/15/2019.)Told in alternating perspectives between Molly and her mother, Elaine, Between Before and After crosses distance and time–from 1955 San Jose, California to 1919 Brooklyn, New York and back–spinning a tale of grief, determination, and wonder.In Between Before and After, McQuerry reveals the strained, tenuous relationship between mother and daughter. A writer, Elaine immerses herself in her biographies project, emotionally closed off from Molly. Elaine’s past a mystery to her. Until Molly discovers a hidden envelope among her mother’s belongings, containing breadcrumbs from her life’s journey. Until Elaine’s emotional outburst in her garden spurs Molly into action. Molly becomes determined to follow the trail collecting as many pieces of her mother as she can, hoping to truly find her way home to Elaine.Buried in the past, both her own and of those she writes about, Elaine is forced into the present when claims arise that her brother, Stephen, is dubbed a miracle worker after “curing” a teenage boy of fatal disease. As investigators and religious fanatics descend on her house, old instincts return as Elaine attempts to protect her family from those who threaten its peace and happiness.McQuerry summons Elaine’s tragic coming of age, in a period following World War I and in the midst of widespread outbreak of the deadly Spanish flu. Elaine’s childhood is rife with devastating loss. Her childhood innocence shed too soon. Disease and covert affairs hack away at her family until little remains (much like her later attack on her garden). And, with this, comes terrible burden–of sorrow and loneliness, obligation to care for her younger brother, and survival despite the odds.McQuerry’s writing is lovely and flows smoothly across the page. The worlds she builds are vivid, tangible, and rich in history as are her characters. Not unlike our modern era, McQuerry constructs a world where flu pandemic sweeps through countries leveling populations, evils pry children from parents, and youths are left to wander a perilous landscape to pursue uncertain futures.McQuerry’s characters breathe unique spirit into the narrative. Molly navigates the dynamics of friendship, crushes, and life as a child of divorced parents surprisingly well. Little does she know, Molly shares more in common with her mother than her knack for writing, like her mother’s youthful self consciousness. Like his uncle, Molly’s brother, Angus, is widely imaginative, intelligent, and determined, almost to a fault.Elaine and her strength and resilience flares through the narrative brightest. Though she seems to grow quite a bit in her youth, Elaine becomes stunted as an adult. Rather than taking responsibility for and accepting the consequences of her own actions and decisions (and acknowledging those of others), she continually blames God for not intervening on her behalf. Then when intervention comes (as many believe is the case with the “miracle”), she insists it isn’t enough. Which makes her frustrating. Although not a central character, Stephen seems to grow the most, from being completely dependent on his sister as a child to becoming someone she and her children could depend on in adulthood.This potent novel is a study in secrets and struggles interwoven with fantastical images of survival–the retelling of Hansel and Gretel, the miracle boy, a family member’s “return from the dead”. Between Before and After is both a cautionary tale and one full of hope. And a testament to the power of stories, the ones we tell others and, more importantly, those we tell ourselves.Rating: 3.5/5The original review was posted on Absolute Bookishness.
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  • Judith Moore
    January 1, 1970
    Originally posted at Chain InteractionAs someone who doesn’t read a huge amount of historical fiction (though I have read quite a bit this year) so please take that into account when you read my review. I can’t speak to tropes or what may be cliché or new or exciting – I can only speak to my experience reading this book – just something to keep in mind.I loved the way that this book had a split narrative. I’ve read books that follow two different timelines before (a huge trend around the same ti Originally posted at Chain InteractionAs someone who doesn’t read a huge amount of historical fiction (though I have read quite a bit this year) so please take that into account when you read my review. I can’t speak to tropes or what may be cliché or new or exciting – I can only speak to my experience reading this book – just something to keep in mind.I loved the way that this book had a split narrative. I’ve read books that follow two different timelines before (a huge trend around the same time as The Time Traveller’s Wife was popular) but what I really liked about this book was that both timelines were historical fiction – the 1950s and the 1910s-20s. I liked that this gave you two historical perspectives as opposed to one historical and one modern day – which I’ve seen before and wasn’t overly enamoured with. So not only do you get the grit, the grime and also the strange fantasy of post WW1 New York but you also get snippets of 50s America, with a trip to the newly built McDonalds and so forth. I thought this was written really well and it also made it feel so much more special with that element of dramatic irony knowing what was to come in the next few decades. Since the 1950s element is written as though it is being written (complicated but I promise it makes sense) you also get the feeling of perhaps a third generation reading the book in the modern day. Perhaps I’m reading too deep – but that’s how it felt to me.I thought that the ‘mystery’ element was less mystery and more intrigue? I appreciate that doesn’t make a huge amount of sense so let me explain. I managed to work out the gist of what had happened (what Molly was trying to work out) pretty early on. I don’t think of that as a negative, but those looking for surprising plot twists might not appreciate that element of this story. What that meant was that reading both Molly and Elaine’s narratives you get to witness a daughter learning why her mother is the way that she is. There’s a strange feeling knowing more than Molly does and then a very satisfying feeling when she puts together another piece of the puzzle that, as a reader, you’ve already solved. So I wouldn’t describe this as a mystery in the traditional sense, though there are mysterious elements.I thought that some parts of the story needed spotlighting a little bit more, just to get the balance right. Namely, the ‘miracle’ performed by Molly’s Uncle Stephen. It isn’t that I didn’t appreciate what that subplot brought to the story, but I’m not sure that the dramatic effect it had on Molly’s family’s life was brought into the forefront as much as it could have been. I think it would have helped to balance the conflict within the two perspectives. Just my take though, and perhaps that was just in the way in which I read the story.If you like historical fiction with mystery and intrigue that explores the complex relationship between mother and daughter as well as between the past and the present then I would absolutely recommend Between Before and After. It brings together a number of great ideas and it even made me shed a tear or two.My rating: 4/5 starsI received a free digital advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    I am equally charmed by Maureen McQuerry’s Between Before & After as a book and as a story. As a book, you can tell right away that Between Before & After is going to be a lovely and intricate story. The cover sketch is a key - with letters, pigeons, a typewriter, all sorts of clues - in shiny gold leaf woven into it. Even the typography helps convey the complexity: Chapter One is introduced in different fonts for the chapter number, chapter header, chapter setting date and place, and th I am equally charmed by Maureen McQuerry’s Between Before & After as a book and as a story. As a book, you can tell right away that Between Before & After is going to be a lovely and intricate story. The cover sketch is a key - with letters, pigeons, a typewriter, all sorts of clues - in shiny gold leaf woven into it. Even the typography helps convey the complexity: Chapter One is introduced in different fonts for the chapter number, chapter header, chapter setting date and place, and the character point of view. Lovely little dinkuses throughout the book – a bird on a branch, a key, fleurons setting off passages - speak to the care with which the book has been crafted.As for the story, Between Before & After is the story of three pairs of siblings. One pair we know well – Hansel and Gretel. Their story is interwoven in the stories of the other two pairs of siblings: a woman and her brother, Elaine and Stephen, and her two children, Molly and Angus. We hear first from Molly, speaking in first person present, but the overarching story is that of her mother, Elaine. Hearing the story largely from Molly’s point of view immerses us in the mystery of Elaine’s struggles. We don’t know why Elaine behaves the way she does, or feels how she feels, or struggles as she does. Molly’s interactions with her brother Angus and her best friend, Aricelia, feel normal and familiar – but Molly’s relationship with her mother feels clouded by emotional distance. Between Before & After is the exploration of that distance, weaving in and out of the times and places and people of Elaine’s life. In chapters from Molly’s perspective, McQuerry gives the reader mere glimpses of Elaine’s relationship with Molly and Angus’ father and Elaine’s strong sentiments regarding the church and miracles. In chapters told from Elaine’s perspective, we learn more about her challenges growing up. Hers was a hard life, with poverty, disease, and death, starting with the devastation of the 1918 influenza epidemic. It’s in the telling of the story back and forth in time that we come to understand the linkages between past and present; keeping faith and living in the world; and the relationship between a mother and her child. Molly tells the story of her childhood in trying to understand her mother, but in Between Before and After, we come to understand how Elaine has survived her own childhood. Now that I know, I need to go back read it all again!
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  • Jessica Higgins
    January 1, 1970
    A past/present mash up story between a mother and daughter that shows the similarities through the differences in age and time.Molly is fourteen years old and has the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her parent’s marriage is falling apart, and her mother is falling into a deep depression. She knows her mother has been keeping a big secret, which is part of her problems. Molly helps look after her brother Angus and when her Uncle Stephen shows up claiming to have been involved in a miracle c A past/present mash up story between a mother and daughter that shows the similarities through the differences in age and time.Molly is fourteen years old and has the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her parent’s marriage is falling apart, and her mother is falling into a deep depression. She knows her mother has been keeping a big secret, which is part of her problems. Molly helps look after her brother Angus and when her Uncle Stephen shows up claiming to have been involved in a miracle curing a young boy, things get even more interesting. Elaine, Molly’s mother, realizes she can no longer hide behind her stories she has loved and must face the truth of what he life has become. Going between 1918 New York and 1955 California, Between Before and After shows how a family can overcome adversity and find new life even in the most trying of times.Between Before and After is a very interesting tale told in a unique way. The past/present mash up is becoming a very popular method of story delivery, but it is not usually told from more than two or three viewpoints. So, having multiple viewpoints can be a gamble, but it played out well in this scenario. In 1955 with Molly’s view-point, readers see very little of Elaine and what is going on in her head and how she is really involved with her family. She is much more removed than a normal mother figure would be. Reverting to 1918, readers get a glimpse into Elaine’s history, which makes everything in her present make much more sense. Molly and Elaine are the main characters, but the secondary characters are important and add greatly to the story. I especially liked Stephen and Mr. Seward. The last few chapters that were set in 1955 and the characters that were thrown together really brought everything full circle. I enjoyed the way that all played out; it made perfect sense and tied up the loose ends. At the end of some of the chapters, there were little snippets from Hansel and Gretel. I understand how this tied into the story, but some readers may feel this takes away from the flow of the story and skip over these parts. I think shorter segments might have played out better and not have been as much of a distraction. Overall, I would recommend this book to young readers that enjoy historical novels with a great tie in between the timelines and viewpoints.I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.
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  • Meagan Myhren-bennett
    January 1, 1970
    Between Before and AfterBy Maureen Doyle McQuerry Sometimes the Most Important Story to Discover Is Your OwnMolly Donnelly's life is changing yet again and her mother is slipping further into a depression that is somehow linked to the secrets of her past. A past that her father has declared would bury her unless she buried it first. Molly is determined to discover the past her mother has so closely guarded and why she declares that she wasn't "beautiful and good" like her mother who died from th Between Before and AfterBy Maureen Doyle McQuerry Sometimes the Most Important Story to Discover Is Your OwnMolly Donnelly's life is changing yet again and her mother is slipping further into a depression that is somehow linked to the secrets of her past. A past that her father has declared would bury her unless she buried it first. Molly is determined to discover the past her mother has so closely guarded and why she declares that she wasn't "beautiful and good" like her mother who died from the plague known as the Great Flu of 1918.Elaine Fitzgerald was fourteen years old when influenza changed life for most of the nation and for her family. She lost her mother, her baby sister, her aunt, and though he didn't die she lost her father. Keeping her family together was what mattered most and providing as normal a life as possible for her eight-year-old brother Stephen takes precedence. But in 1919 Brooklyn life is not easy especially without her mother to be a wall between them and their father.In 1955 Molly is fourteen, the same age her mother was when her life was forever altered. But searching for clues to the past isn't easy when San Jose is a so far removed from Brooklyn. And when Uncle Stephen is linked to a miraculous healing life takes another twist that further threatens the normal life Molly longs for. Molly's search into the past will have unexpected results that she never imagined.Between Before and After is a most engaging book that is told from both Elaine and Molly's perspectives. There are approximately 35 years between the before and the after of this book. This is a story of family, despair, hope, loss, betrayal, faith, and love. In other words, this is a book that looks at life and embraces it in all its facets good or bad. This is a story of mothers and daughters and of brothers and sisters and the bond that exists between them. This is most definitely a book for teens (or older) readers and not middle-grade readers. It is interesting to see just how different life in 1919 and 1955 differs from what we experience today - in no way is simpler (technologically speaking) easier.I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation but that I offer my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    "The best stories can be as unpredictable as miracles. They can surprise you, even when you think you know them by heart."Fourteen-year-old Molly is inquisitive by nature- a writer, like her mother Elaine, Molly seeks out the truth. When her mother's secrets begin to tear apart Molly's family, she decides to seek out the truth from Elaine's past. Molly starts with her Uncle Stephen for some clues, however, soon Stephen's life is turned upside down as the church begins to investigate him for perf "The best stories can be as unpredictable as miracles. They can surprise you, even when you think you know them by heart."Fourteen-year-old Molly is inquisitive by nature- a writer, like her mother Elaine, Molly seeks out the truth. When her mother's secrets begin to tear apart Molly's family, she decides to seek out the truth from Elaine's past. Molly starts with her Uncle Stephen for some clues, however, soon Stephen's life is turned upside down as the church begins to investigate him for performing a miracle. With the attention that Stephen's miracle brings, Molly and her brother Angus begin to see a different side of their mother, making Molly more anxious for the secrets that her mother is hiding from 1918. While investigating her mother's past, Molly might just create a miracle of her own.Between Before & After is a heartwarming and gorgeously written story that examines family, secrets and a little bit of magic. Told in a dual narrative switching between Elaine and Stephen's childhood in 1918 Brooklyn and Molly and Angus' in 1955 San Jose, the differences between their lives is highlighted as well as the mental stress of Elaine's secrets. I felt equally drawn to both timeline stories as Elaine's life in Brooklyn quickly changes after the Spanish Flu epidemic and she becomes responsible for her little brother and running the household. The 1918 timeline also had the story of Hansel and Gretel woven throughout that added a fabulous fairy-tale element that strangely connected to Elaine and Stephen's story perfectly. In Molly's timeline the possibility of miracles and exposing of secrets creates mild suspense and drama that slowly teases out the consequences of Elaine's secret. With an emotionally driven story line and seamless writing, Between Before & After will capture your heart.This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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  • Pamela Stennett
    January 1, 1970
    https://iwriteinbooks.wordpress.com/2...{*I was given an early review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.}Writers are a strange lot, at least when they’re written about.Fourteen year old Molly knows this better than anyone. In the mid-fifties, she and her family carve out a strange little life in California, mostly ruled by the whims and near-mania of her mother’s obsessive biography project.Though Molly and her kid brother do their best to simultaneously https://iwriteinbooks.wordpress.com/2...{*I was given an early review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.}
Writers are a strange lot, at least when they’re written about.
Fourteen year old Molly knows this better than anyone. In the mid-fifties, she and her family carve out a strange little life in California, mostly ruled by the whims and near-mania of her mother’s obsessive biography project.
Though Molly and her kid brother do their best to simultaneously win their mothers affection and stay out of her way, that is easier planned than done.
Through dusty archived of the lives of others, including her own mother, Molly stumbles upon a family secret too heavy to leave alone.
Through present (well, relatively, since it’s the 50’s) day struggles, wives through with threads of family history and fairytales, Between, Before, and After stays true to its name in a beautifully written overlapping timeline.
As is the case with many intricately written stories, there is a sizable helping of hard moments. Depression, substance use, abuse, and neglect made this one both difficult to read at times and heartbreakingly beautiful.
It’s certainly not a typical Yoing Adult novel but in many ways, that became a breath of fresh air.
The book comes out next month (February 5, 2019) and I’m grateful to Blink (an imprint of HarperCollins), Netgalley, and Maureen Doyle McQuerry for an early review copy of this book.
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  • Stephanie - Adventures Thru Wonderland
    January 1, 1970
    *I received a copy from the Publisher for the official blog tour. This does not affect my review.*I'm torn on how to review this one... While I enjoyed reading, and the writing style and even pace are impeccable, it also deals with heavy topics including a detailed seen dealing with abortion, that I can't really recommend it for teens. I know that some have already dealt with these more adult topics, and even worse, but for an 'over all' recommendation, I don't recommend teachers/librarians/ etc *I received a copy from the Publisher for the official blog tour. This does not affect my review.*I'm torn on how to review this one... While I enjoyed reading, and the writing style and even pace are impeccable, it also deals with heavy topics including a detailed seen dealing with abortion, that I can't really recommend it for teens. I know that some have already dealt with these more adult topics, and even worse, but for an 'over all' recommendation, I don't recommend teachers/librarians/ etc encourage all teens read this, and think it's important to note the heavy content since it isn't suitable for everyone, but in some cases I can see this being okay for older teens. That said, I think young adults (18 - 20+) and even adults can enjoy this story.I did love the story and even as the story switched between past and present there was no confusion or struggle for my to follow along and still understand what was happening. I enjoyed seeing how the characters, and author, dealt with the various challenges the story deals with.
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  • Get Lost In A Book (Bobby)
    January 1, 1970
    I received a complimentary copy of this book; I am not required to leave a positive review. When I read the blurb for this book I immediately knew that I was going to have to read this one! There are some things I liked about this book and some things I didn’t like. I liked that questions start rising from the very first chapter. I think that Maureen has a gift for painting mental pictures through words, from characters, to places, to injuries; I could easily imagine the scene. I loved the time I received a complimentary copy of this book; I am not required to leave a positive review. When I read the blurb for this book I immediately knew that I was going to have to read this one! There are some things I liked about this book and some things I didn’t like. I liked that questions start rising from the very first chapter. I think that Maureen has a gift for painting mental pictures through words, from characters, to places, to injuries; I could easily imagine the scene. I loved the time frame of the book. My absolute favorite thing about this book is, every chapter adds something to the story, and no chapter was wasted. I loved that every page left you wanting more. I loved the way the book ended. There are a few things I didn’t like. I picked this up thinking it would be a Christian book, but it wasn’t even close to Christian in my opinion. I saw it as a mainstream book with some Christian background to it. My reasons for this are because; there were a couple of curse words that the characters used three or four times throughout the book. It covered many dark topics such as teen pregnancy, affairs, abuse, and alcoholism. I could have overruled most of this if there was a stronger Christian message. Overall I really enjoyed this book. I thought that it was very well written, especially with it being her first full length novel. I would have given it five stars if it were not for the language and the lack of a Christian message. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a very well written page turner.
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  • Darla
    January 1, 1970
    A story told from the perspective of a mother and daughter in narratives that are 35 years apart. Molly is fifteen in 1955. Her mother, Elaine, is that same age in 1920. There are fascinating historical touchstones in this book including the Spanish flu, the first McDonalds and the 1955 World Series. I usually really like dual timelines, but found it difficult to separate the two voices. Many times I found myself leaving the narrative and having to remind myself which story I was in before conti A story told from the perspective of a mother and daughter in narratives that are 35 years apart. Molly is fifteen in 1955. Her mother, Elaine, is that same age in 1920. There are fascinating historical touchstones in this book including the Spanish flu, the first McDonalds and the 1955 World Series. I usually really like dual timelines, but found it difficult to separate the two voices. Many times I found myself leaving the narrative and having to remind myself which story I was in before continuing. I also found the story arc of the miracle fell flat for me.Thank you to HarperCollins and Edelweiss for a digital ARC of this new YA novel in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kathryn
    January 1, 1970
    This book was loaned to me by a friend who is friends with the author. I had no expectations except for my friend's recommendation. The book captured me from the beginning. The writing flowed from era to era seamlessly and the thread of the fable Hansel and Gredel were brilliant. I love short chapters and fascinating characters. Elaine and Molly both were strong and determined to make the best of the worst situations. I also appreciated the ending was real and not the happily ever after that fab This book was loaned to me by a friend who is friends with the author. I had no expectations except for my friend's recommendation. The book captured me from the beginning. The writing flowed from era to era seamlessly and the thread of the fable Hansel and Gredel were brilliant. I love short chapters and fascinating characters. Elaine and Molly both were strong and determined to make the best of the worst situations. I also appreciated the ending was real and not the happily ever after that fables have for endings. My take away quote is Once you open yourself to miracles, they start showing up all around you.
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  • Leslie M.
    January 1, 1970
    This story is told in dual POVs/time periods, though both are historical, and I really enjoyed that. Excerpts from Hansel and Gretel are added throughout the story to help give a bit of insight into parts of the story. At times, the pacing was a bit slower than I would’ve liked, but it did balance out by the end. Drama and intrigue combine to make this a story that is easy to engage with, and the characters are realistic and relatable. While I felt a bit more could’ve been done with the ending, This story is told in dual POVs/time periods, though both are historical, and I really enjoyed that. Excerpts from Hansel and Gretel are added throughout the story to help give a bit of insight into parts of the story. At times, the pacing was a bit slower than I would’ve liked, but it did balance out by the end. Drama and intrigue combine to make this a story that is easy to engage with, and the characters are realistic and relatable. While I felt a bit more could’ve been done with the ending, I enjoyed the book overall.Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy, but I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.
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  • Nicole Hewitt
    January 1, 1970
    This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction AddictionBetween Before and After is a touching story of believing in the miracles of everyday life and forgiving yourself for the mistakes of your past. The story alternates between 1955 and 1918 to the early 20’s. When Molly discovers that her mother has a secret in her past that might ruin their family’s happiness, she’s determined to find out what it is. In the meantime, her uncle is being investigated by the church because This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction AddictionBetween Before and After is a touching story of believing in the miracles of everyday life and forgiving yourself for the mistakes of your past. The story alternates between 1955 and 1918 to the early 20’s. When Molly discovers that her mother has a secret in her past that might ruin their family’s happiness, she’s determined to find out what it is. In the meantime, her uncle is being investigated by the church because he performed a miracle, and the turmoil and disbelief that this sparks turns their life even more upside down. The book follows Molly in her quest to learn the truth and flashes back to Molly’s mother’s life as a struggling orphan after the Spanish flu of 1918. I’ll confess that I’d unraveled the mystery of her mother’s past pretty much right from the start, but I still enjoyed reading Molly’s discoveries and finding out how it all unfolded. McQuerry puts her characters through a lot, but the overall message is definitely one of hope and healing.***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
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  • nancy smith
    January 1, 1970
    “The year Uncle Stephen performed a miracle, all our lives changed.” Between Before & After starts with this promise of change and then plunges into the messiness of life: of secrets, of broken relationships, of skepticism. In one first-person thread, Molly, a curious 50s San Jose teenager, seeks to know her mother’s secrets. In the other third-person thread, her mother, Elaine, survives tragedy as a young girl in Brooklyn This novel is a lovely and realistic examination of life that leaves “The year Uncle Stephen performed a miracle, all our lives changed.” Between Before & After starts with this promise of change and then plunges into the messiness of life: of secrets, of broken relationships, of skepticism. In one first-person thread, Molly, a curious 50s San Jose teenager, seeks to know her mother’s secrets. In the other third-person thread, her mother, Elaine, survives tragedy as a young girl in Brooklyn This novel is a lovely and realistic examination of life that leaves “a little room for miracles.”
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  • Angela Walker
    January 1, 1970
    BEFORE: Summer of 1919, 6 months after her mother and little sister's death, Elaine got a job to help support her family. Elaine and Stephen's drunk father was jobless as often as he was working. Every morning she went to read the newspaper to a blind older gentleman. The Gossley family was wealthy, giving the children opportunities for funds, food, and education they otherwise wouldn't have had.AFTER: Molly's parents are separated. Her dad left because her mom (Elaine) wouldn't let the 'past st BEFORE: Summer of 1919, 6 months after her mother and little sister's death, Elaine got a job to help support her family. Elaine and Stephen's drunk father was jobless as often as he was working. Every morning she went to read the newspaper to a blind older gentleman. The Gossley family was wealthy, giving the children opportunities for funds, food, and education they otherwise wouldn't have had.AFTER: Molly's parents are separated. Her dad left because her mom (Elaine) wouldn't let the 'past stay buried'. Uncle Stephen came to stay with them while being investigated by the Catholic church for being a miracle worker. The investigation brought media and miracle hopeful people to their doorstep and Elaine's bitterness against God out in the open. Molly decided to do a biography and find out what happened to her mom.There was a lot of drama; alcoholic father, death of a mother, parents separated, children neglected, depression, teenager wanting to fit in, hormones - but the stories were told in such a way that really captures the lives of the characters. So many cleverly written foreshadowing in the book. The story of Hansel and Gretel was told in segments between chapters to give insight in the lives of the characters. Its hard to tell in the moment what decisions will have a lasting impact on your life. Between Before and After reminds me a little of Then She Was Gone in that way, all the moments/choices.The pacing felt a little slow. I know the author said to leave room for miracles in stories but there was so much drama, it didn't feel like the story would get better. (it eventually kind of does?).I was given an Advance Reader Copy by the publisher in exchange for a review, all opinions are my own.
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