Not just a good debut...just plain ol' good! My review of "Mother of Pearl" by Kellie Coates Gilbert

Mother of Pearl


Barrie Graeber has two great kids, a loving husband, and a respected job as the high school counselor in her close-knit community. Without warning, everything unravels when her teenage daughter, Pearl, is betrayed by friends and lashes out.

Nothing prepares this mother for the helplessness that follows when her attempts to steer her daughter back on course fail and Pearl shuts her out . . . or when she discovers the unthinkable about her nemesis, the football coach.

Emotionally riveting and profoundly moving, Mother of Pearl brings us into the heart of a mother bound by an incredible burden, who ultimately finds she must recognize her own vulnerability and learn to trust in something much bigger.


I love discovering new authors, especially when they can produce a debut book as good as this one! Gilbert has written a book featuring beautifully realized characters, a book that draws you in early and keeps you turning the pages. Books featuring characters who are grieving always run the risk of become plodding and slow as the character slowly moves through the stages of grief - but Gilbert avoids that in this book. Despite featuring deep subject matter, the book moves along well throughout, and by the last third of the book I could scarcely put the book down as I waiting to see how the trial would resolve - though of course I expected and hoped for a happy ending! The characters aren't perfect, but instead are human and struggle with things we all do - coping with grief, struggling at times with their marriages, or uncertain how to be the best parent. Yet the characters, especially Barrie, are original and likable, and there is so much to admire and like about them, especially Barrie's determination for justice and to protect other youth from danger.

Mother of Pearl is a wonderful debut, written with skill and deep emotion. Readers looking for a moving and entertaining contemporary read should plan on giving this author a try. I highly recommend this book and award it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Abingdon Press, and Glassroad Public Relations, for the purposes of this unbiased review.


Image of Kellie Coates GilbertKellie Coates Gilbert is a former legal investigator and trial paralegal who writes with a sympathetic, intimate knowledge of how people react under pressure. Kellie's books tell emotionally poignant stories about women in life-changing circumstances. She writes about messy lives . . . and eternal hope.

Kellie currently makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband and a very spoiled 2.7 lb. Yorkie named Ava.

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