Bestselling author Barbara Claypole White joins us again in #LitChat at 4 p.m. E.T. on August 10, 2015. Follow #LitChat on Twitter, or login to our dedicated channel at www.nurph.com/litchat.
New from Barbara Claypole White, author of The Unfinished Garden and The In-Between Hour comes The Perfect Son, a chilling and yet compassionate story of a family facing health challenges that will either tear them apart or seal them together.
From a distance, Felix Fitzwilliam, the son of an old English family, is a good husband and father. But, obsessed with order and routine, he’s a prisoner to perfection. Disengaged from the emotional life of his North Carolina family, Felix has let his wife, Ella, deal with their special-needs son by herself.
A talented jewelry designer turned full-time mother, Ella is the family rock…until her heart attack shatters their carefully structured existence. Now Harry, a gifted teen grappling with the chaos of Tourette’s, confronts a world outside his parents’ control, one that tests his desire for independence.
As Harry searches for his future, and Ella adapts to the limits of her failing health, Felix struggles with his past and present roles. To prevent the family from being ripped apart, they must each bend with the inevitability of change and reinforce the ties that bind.
Barbara Claypole White grew up in the English village of Turvey with big dreams of becoming a novelist.
After a detour through women’s and medieval history at York University, she landed a job promoting London fashion. She was part of the first British Designer Show, measured celebrities in their underwear, and worked for the queen of the international rag trade, Dame Vivienne Westwood.
One day her boss sent her to New York, and she fell in love with an American professor who followed her around JFK Airport. Eighteen months later she was a faculty spouse, freelance writer, and marketing director in Champaign, Illinois, a small Midwest college town. She also started writing her first novel—a love story set against the world of eighties fashion and AIDS.
Five years passed; then Barbara learned she was pregnant, and her husband was offered a distinguished professorship at UNC Chapel Hill. The family moved to the North Carolina forest, and Barbara became a stay-at-home mom and a woodland gardener—factors that would shape her writing voice. She returned to her manuscript, took evening classes in writing at the local arts center, and slammed into another detour: her young son developed obsessive-compulsive disorder.
From that moment, fascination with mental illness framed her life. She ditched her first novel and began writing Dogwood Days, which turned into The Unfinished Garden. She also joined a nonfiction project for parents of children with invisible disabilities, Easy to Love But Hard to Raise, and blogged regularly at Easy to Love about the highs and loves of living with OCD. (Her son is now an award-winning poet and musician attending college in the Midwest.)
Follow Barbara Claypole White on Twitter: @BClaypoleWhite.