Echoes of Family by Barbara Claypole White shows with heart-breaking realism how mental illness impacts the patient, their family & the demons they fight.
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Echoes of Family by Barbara Claypole White Review: A realistic look at mental illness

Echoes of Family by Barbara Claypole White Review: A realistic look at mental illness

I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours for review consideration, opinions expressed are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.

Echoes of Family by Barbara Claypole White
Published by Lake Union
Setting: Europe > England, North America > USA > North Carolina
Pages: 397
Format: eARC
Amazon Kindle* | Amazon Paperback*




4* I really liked it! Echoes of Family by Barbara Claypole White shows with heart-breaking realism how mental illness impacts the patient, their family and those demons in their past and present that they are always fighting against.


Synopsis from Goodreads:

Sometimes the only way through darkness is to return to where it began.

Marianne Stokes fled England at seventeen, spiraling into the manic depression that would become her shadow. She left behind secrets, memories, and tragedy: one teen dead, and her first love, Gabriel, badly injured. Three decades later she’s finally found peace in the North Carolina recording studio she runs with her husband, Darius, and her almost-daughter, Jade…until another fatality propels her back across the ocean to confront the long-buried past.

In her picturesque childhood village, the first person she meets is the last person she wants to see again: Gabriel. Now the village vicar, he takes her in without question, and ripples of what if reverberate through both their hearts. As Marianne’s mind unravels, Jade and Darius track her down. Tempers clash when everyone tries to help, but only by finding the courage to face her illness can Marianne heal herself and her offbeat family.”


My Thoughts:


I felt like I was in a downward spiral. Every time I went into the doctor’s office or someone asked “how are you?”, I’d end up in tears. I felt helpless and like I could not control my emotions. My second son was still a baby and I cherished my little family. We’d waited nearly 3 years before baby #2 finally arrived, why now did I feel like a complete failure as a mother and wife? I finally gave in and the doctor prescribed some medicine for depression. 


It was a really scary time for me. I didn’t let my family know what I was feeling or thinking, which only made matters worse. I held that prescription in my hand but I never got it filled. I already rely on very strong meds to control my Rheumatoid Arthritis, I really didn’t want to add more medicines to the mix.


So I knew I had to make a change. That’s actually when I started thinking about my small victories at night as I rocked my baby to sleep.  It’s what prompted me later to start a blog of the same name. I was able to pull myself through the negative thoughts. I never did fill that prescription for depression but I know I was lucky. And I know when I’m tired physically or mentally, I start going back to those dark places in my mind. Sometimes I can stop the negative thoughts and sometimes I just can’t.


What struck me hardest in Echoes of Family, is how author Barbara Claypole White uses alternating viewpoints of the different characters to show with heart-breaking realism how manic-depressive bipolar disorder impacts Marianne (the patient) and those she loves most. Each character had demons from their past that they were trying to keep locked up. But demons fight to break through their cages and sparks fly, tempers flare, and hearts are broken and need to be mended when each character tries to come to terms with their past.


Echoes of Family not only speaks to how we deal with tragedy and grief but also the rebuilding of our psyches and the forgiveness we need to heal. To shield them from their pasts, Marianne, her husband Darius and her almost daughter Jade turned to recording music and big name bands while Gabriel, Marianne’s ex, a world apart in location and ideology, turned to his solitude, service and his faith. Gabriel and Darius were as different as night and day yet Marianne loved them both unabashedly. She admits to making a lot of wrong decisions in her past, but now she’s determined to follow her heart and do what is right. Who will she choose and will he still want her after everything she has put them through? 


I love books that connect me emotionally to the characters and make me understand people and their illnesses in a different way. I always hope that by learning about different illnesses and raising awareness about them, that it helps me raise more empathetic kids and inspire others to show compassion and understanding for each other. We can’t always see the battles someone is facing, but we can try to walk a mile in another’s shoes before rushing to conclusions. 


I recommend Echoes of Family for readers who enjoy family dramas, unpredictable stories and who don’t mind getting inside the head of a patient with mental illness.

[bctt tweet=”ECHOES OF FAMILY by @BClaypoleWhite: how bipolar impacts the patient, their family & demons they fight #GIVEAWAY” username=”momsvictories”]

Books Like This You Might Enjoy:

The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar Book Review and Discussion Questions – 4*, an Indian immigrant attempts suicide and her therapist breaks the barriers of the patient-doctor relationship to help her.

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain – 5*, a mother with Rheumatoid Arthritis made some mistakes in the past and she’ll do anything to protect her daughter from being taken away.

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain – 5*, a daughter flees NC but is forced to come to terms with the past when she wants to adopt a baby and find the truth about the death of her father (who has Multiple Sclerosis).

Blog Tour Schedule:

tlc tour host


Monday, September 26th: BookBub Blog – author guest post

Tuesday, September 27th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Wednesday, September 28th: Just One More Chapter

Thursday, September 29th: BookNAround

Friday, September 30th: From the TBR Pile

Monday, October 3rd: Mockingbird Hill Cottage

Wednesday, October 5th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books

Thursday, October 6th: Broken Teepee

Friday, October 7th: Not in Jersey

Tuesday, October 11th: Thoughts on This ‘n That

Thursday, October 13th: Kritter’s Ramblings

Friday, October 14th: Books ‘n Bindings

Monday, October 17th: A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, October 18th: The Baking Bookworm

Wednesday, October 19th: Bibliotica

Sunday, October 23rd: Writer Unboxed – guest post, “Ten Tips for Writing Through Family Stress”

Monday, October 24th: Mom’s Small Victories



I loved this book so much I want you to win a copy! TLC Book Tours is letting me give away one copy of this book! Thank you TLC Book Tours!

Rules: Open to US/Canada residents only, giveaway ends 11/3/2016 at 12:00am. Mom’s Small Victories will notify the winner via email. The winner must respond with mailing address within 48 hours. If a response is not received within 48 hours, another winner will be selected. Mom’s Small Victories will send the winner’s address to TLC Book Tours who forwards it to the publisher. The publisher is responsible for mailing the book to the winner.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway






  1. It always helps me love a book when I can really feel it speaking to me in some way. Sounds like you definitely connected with this one a several levels, plus you got an interesting story as well!

    1. I love stories that speak to me as well. I think that sometimes I can’t control my emotions and thoughts but I’m aware when I’m doing it. Marianne’s character takes that to a whole other level and it certainly made me appreciate that it only happens to me sporadically.

  2. I haven’t read anything by this author yet, and I think it’s high time I do something about that. I’ve read all three of the books you mentioned as related to this one, and liked them all, so this is definitely going on my radar. So much in the media today regarding mental illness makes this very pertinent.

    1. Yes, Donna it’s true. Books like these, though fictional, give us understanding and empathy for those affected by mental illness. I didn’t know what bipolar meant but I certainly got a sense of what a person must go through and not being able to control it. A worthwhile read, good luck with the giveaway!

  3. I have recently finished the The Secret Life of CeeCee. It is my favorite the year.
    I really would love to read this book as our family has mental health problems.

  4. I have mostly been reading cozy mysteries, thrillers and non-fiction books, but would really like to read Echoes of Family because many of the issues have touched my life ~

  5. This book is on my TBR list. Thank you for the giveaway chance! I recently finished Untethered by Julie Lawson Timmer. Lots of family dynamics! Wonderful book!

    1. I noticed that this morning as I dropped off the kids at school, I thought it was just my phone. Got it all fixed now. Thanks for letting me know.

  6. The book sounds really good.
    Regarding your time with depression, I’m very glad you got over it and now you have (mental) tools to face similar times when you have to fight against your illness. Virtual hugs and kisses <3

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