Barbara Claypole White took some time to wrap my head around. After losing his young son a popular author has to pretend he is still alive. Huh? Why? Why would you torture yourself like that? Or, as I found with this book, are you pretending for some altruistic reason?
On the outside, author Will Shepard has a life most would envy. He's written a series of bestselling books. He has a team of PR professionals managing his career. He has more money than most people. But at his core, Will is a lost soul. His son Freddie died in a car crash, unfortunately at the hands of his disturbed mother. The drive Will once had is gone. He doesn't have the strength to start writing a new adventure in his Agent Dodd series. But he does have to rewrite history when it comes to his aging father Jacob.
Jacob is a proud man. Providing for his family and living off the land in the woods of North Carolina are what brought him joy. Over time life had a cruel way of working out. His beloved wife is dead, Will is living the life in fancy schmancy New York City, and Jacob is left to convalesce in a nursing home. The only trump card he has amongst his fellow residents is bragging about his grandson. He brags about all the wonderful trips Freddie and his mother are on. Old age has robbed Jacob of many things, including the memory of Will telling him that Freddie was dead. Instead of trying to drum the truth into his father, Will continues to let his father live a lie. But each day the lie gets bigger and bigger. In Will's mind, this is for his father's benefit. No matter how much it hurts to pretend Freddie is still alive, Will can't bring himself to break an old man's heart. But new friendships are making it harder and harder for Will to keep up with this lie.
Holistic veterinarian Hannah Linden always tries to see the good in every situation. Her own life is shaky but she still finds a way to be positive. Six years ago, her husband realized he was gay and decided to end their marriage. Her sons Galen and Liam each have their own set of problems. Drugs are a common problem for both, but Galen is in serious need of help. Galen is suffering from depression and is recovering from a suicide attempt. Hannah wants and needs to take care of everyone else but herself. Enter her sex-crazed friend Poppy, and Will and Jacob.
Poppy is the free-spirited friend that everyone needs. In the book, she made more sense than some of the more strait-laced folks. As a former volunteer at the nursing home, Poppy could see that the structure of that place was physically and emotionally draining for Jacob. It's was Poppy's suggestion for Will to rent Hannah's cabin. Being out in the forest could bring Jacob back to life. Will just sees it as a stopgap to finding another nursing home for his father. Despite Jacob feeling like himself for the first time in years, all Will sees is an old man. Will seems himself as the parent and his father as the child. Only Will knows best.
I guess "The In-Between Hour" is really an appropriate title. Will, Hannah, and Jacob are all in transition or are in between happiness and sadness. With each page I kept waiting for Hannah and Will to be totally honest not just with each other but with themselves. They are both in deep denial. Will thinks he is the only one who knows what's best for his father. Hannah thinks finding the silver lining in everything can help Galen recover. They are both attracted to each other, but deny it at every turn. The book was a definite page-turner. A heart-warming page-turner. It's one of those books to curl up with on a rainy day!!
Note: I received a copy of the book from the author as part of a blog tour with TLC Book Tours