Between Before and After by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

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Between Before and After by Maureen Doyle McQuerry is a YA Historical Mystery story set in California during the early 1900s

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40556653““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.


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This is a historical story told between two perspectives: mother and daughter. And through each one, we discover a life of secrets, survival, and  growth.

I really enjoyed exploring the emotional writing style and Molly’s mission to get to know her mother through her depression and the eventual losses she endures. It ties the historical time period and the two realities each character faced in their own way.

I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars. While there were parts where I was immersed in the story, there were also times when I had to pause a moment to review what I just read which I found to be a little counterproductive.

I think the writing style portrayed a different level to the book that made me want to strive to the end. It harbors the experiences of Irish Immigrants while also displaying a coming-of-age story with her daughter. The darker moments give you a raw feel to the family and give you an overall dramatic impact.


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Published: 5 February 2019

Publisher: Blink

Genre: Young Adult Historical / Mystery

Pages: 304

How I Read It: eARC from NetGalley

*Disclaimer: I requested a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All of my reviews contain my honest opinion only and are not influenced in any way.*


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Happy Reading,

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