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The Taste of Air

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  745 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews

A simple phone call disrupts Nell Williams’s well-ordered life. Her mother, Mary, is in a hospital in Vermont. But her mother is supposed to be safely tucked away in an assisted-living facility in Massachusetts, so Nell can’t fathom why she would be so far from home.

After notifying her sister, Bridget, Nell hops on a plane and rushes to her mother’s sid
Paperback, 250 pages
Published October 2016 by Red Adept Publishing, LLC
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Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Nell Williams receives a phone call informing her that her mother, Mary, has been admitted into the hospital in Vermont. Not only is her mother's health a real concern for Nell but just why in the world was her mother even in Vermont is the big question, Mary was supposed to be in an assisted-living facility in Massachusetts.

When Nell arrives in Vermont she finds that her mother has had a secret life that no one in the family had known about. Mary owns a small cabin and it seems that she has had

I had read one of this authors previous books so I am aware of her style, but this book surpassed the last read but in a different way.

It was written with sheer passion for the characters which shone through each page. The more I got to learn about this double life of the Mother the more I fell into the emotional trap of secrets.

Imagine 40 years of a families secret known only by the Mother.

Family secrets can go any two ways, crumble a family into a heaped emotional mess with anger, frustration
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews


LOVED this book...thanks, Gail.

"I truly enjoyed this book. Ms. Cleare’s writing is smooth, beautiful, detailed, and alluring. When you don’t want a book to end, you know the author’s talent is the reason.

A TASTE OF AIR is a perfect summer read or an any time read for when you need warmth oozing from the pages to help your mood be lightened or to be taken away.

There are also some tissues needed for happy things as all came together at the end, but for the most part A TAST
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
The Taste of Air is a fabulous and intriguing story about choices and consequences, secrets and revelations. Two sisters find out that their elderly mother is in the ICU of a Vermont hospital when they believed her to be living in a Massachusetts retirement home. The secret choices of their mother are revealed, spurning the daughters to examine their own life choices. The characters are real; they are genuine, imperfect and likable. Their lives, though messy at times, are touching. You will be p ...more
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites-2018
A family drama that pulled me right in. When their mother Mary is sent to the hospital in Vermont,Nell and Bridget are stunned. Their mother is suppose to be living in an assisted living facility in Massachusetts. When Nell arrives in Vermont she finds her mother has this cottage no one knew about. While the sisters try to uncover why their mother is living in Vermont long buried secrets come to the surface. I loved everything about this story. The family history. The choices Mary made in the na ...more
Λίνα Θωμάρεη
A simple phone call disrupts Nell Williams’s well-ordered life. Her mother, Mary, is in a hospital in Vermont. But her mother is supposed to be safely tucked away in an assisted-living facility in Massachusetts, so Nell can’t fathom why she would be so far from home.
After notifying her sister, Bridget, Nell hops on a plane and rushes to her mother’s side. There, she discovers that her mother has been living a second life. Mary has another home and a set of complex relationships with people her
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to thank the author, publisher and NetGalley for letting me read this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

This is one of those books you won’t be able to put down unless something beyond your control happens. It starts out interesting and just gets better and better until the final beautiful page. It’s got so much in it but not hard to follow at all. About a family, the Vietnam war in places, children, parents and children. Extended families and beautiful towns. Some tragedies along t
Keep Calm Novel On
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Goodreads group Making Connections provided a copy of the ePub in exchange for an honest review.

Mary Reilly has been living her life with secrets. When her daughter Nell receives an unexpected phone call from a hospital informing her that her mother, Mary has been admitted, she immediately drives to her mother’s bedside. The town is not familiar to Nell and she is puzzled as to her mother’s whereabouts. Nell discovers her mother’s secret home and life—and the many layers begin to unravel. Th
Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, books-to-review
Life is too short to not enjoy life and those around you. Nell and Bridget, Mary's (aka Ellie) daughters, find out when they receive a call that their mom is not living where she should be living.

This is a journey of a mother and her daughters and their various experiences and how history sometimes repeats itself. It is also a journey of self-discovery for each of these women.

This book jumps back and forth in time, revealing snippets of history that tie the story together in the end. As you read
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to NetGalley and Red Adept for the advanced copy.

Set in New England this a story about the secrets a mother has kept from her family for over forty years. A surprise phone call from a hospital in a different part of the state, calls into question everything Nell thought she knew about her family when goes to sit by her sick Mother's bedside.

This is a wonderful novel that caught me by surprise as I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. It hooked me from the beginning and kept me r
Pamela Allegretto
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This engaging and well-written novel points out family secrets, some more far-reaching than others. The lush Vermont setting becomes its own character in this unique drama. Gail Cleare exposes the innermost thoughts of her diverse characters, which allows the reader to care deeply about their lives and to root for a happy outcome to their individual predicaments.
Nancy Baker
Sep 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I wavered between 3 and 4 stars and finally decided to split the difference and give this book 3-1/2 stars.

This story gets a solid four stars for being engaging and causing the reader to want to hurry to the end and bring meaning and closure to the mystery. A mother, Mary, has taken ill and lands in an ICU ward in a hospital in Vermont. Her youngest daughter, Nell, gets a phone call saying her mother is in the hospital and has named Nell as her health proxy. Nell assumes her mother is in a hosp
Dec 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What would you do if you learned that your mother was living a second life in another town?

Nell receives a phone call one day from a hospital in Vermont letting her know that her mother has been admitted to their ICU, but Nell is confused because her mother lives in a senior's community in Massachusetts. And her mother no longer drives. What is she doing in Vermont? How did she get there?

As Nell sees her mother in the hospital, weak and unable to really speak, Nell learns from those around that
Samantha March
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Whew. The Taste of Air by Gail Cleare caught my attention from the moment I began to read it. What begins to unfold from page one is a captivating story filled with mystery, suspense, love, longing and family. As I write this review and begin to relive the story once again, my eyes are filling with tears. This is a book that I have told many people about already, recommending it to all of the book lovers in my life, because I have the hope that it will stay with them like it did with me. The wri ...more
Julie Barrett
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Taste of Air by Gail Cleare
Starts out where Mary-the mother has alternating chapters with her daughters: Nell and Bridget
The girls have been notified their mom is in the hospital but it's nowhere near the retirement center she's been staying at. Nell goes to the VT area to investigate and within a few days, no answers as her mom has a vent tube in, she learns her mother has a cottage
and a has been living there for about 10 years and is friendly with the neighbors. Nell has a family and chil
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What would you do if you found out that the mother you’ve known all your life has been living a secret life?

As far as Nell knows, her mother resides in an assisted living community in Massachusetts. When she receives a startling call informing her that her mother is in a hospital in Vermont, she can’t comprehend how this could be.

When Nell arrives in the town that her mother is said to be at, it is foreign to her. While there, she discovers that her mother has a life that her and her family wer
Sally Coles
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Mary Ellen is a woman with a secret - her daughters Nell and Bridget think they know everything there is to know about her - so why is Nell getting a phone call to say she is in intensive care in Vermont when she should be living in Massachusetts

Rushing to the hospital Nell is astounded to find that her mother owns a cabin by the lake and she got ill while out boating on the lake with her neighbour, why do they know nothing of this? When she goes to the cabin she finds all sorts of things pointi
Carla Burgess
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an enjoyable, emotional, and thought-provoking story about family ties and unexpected secrets. I loved all three women in this story and found them well drawn and relatable. I particularly enjoyed the flashbacks to Mary's earlier days, which revealed what a good and loving woman she had been throughout her life. Although Mary's secret life comes as a big shock to her daughters, it never feels sordid or bad, and I really liked that about it. Rather it just peels back the layers of Mary's ...more
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
When Nell gets a phone call informing her that her mother Mary is in the hospital in Vermont she is shocked. She is supposed to be in a nursing home in Massachusetts. Nell and her sister Bridget get to visit briefly with their mother before she dies. They discover she owns a home and is a part of the small Vermont community. They also discover some big family secrets. This was a fascinating book and was narrated by three very different women. I hope to find more books by Gail Cleary, she very ta ...more
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Heartwarming book. We think we know our families, but do we, really?
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Taste of Air is an intriguing and engaging mystery of long-held family secrets. It’s also a heart-warming story of three women’s journey towards self-discovery and leading authentic, satisfying lives. The novel is written with warmth and perception in Cleare’s smooth, easy-to-read style. Also there are some wonderfully evocative descriptions of Vermont, which made me long to go there.

Some themes and questions raised in the book really resonated with me, especially that of how one (a woman us
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Nell was an interesting voice to hear the majority of the story through. She's not the oldest child, but she is the one that stuck close to home; part out of duty, part out of circumstance. Growing up, she was the one that had to hold the fort down after an unfortunate situation blew down the very walls of their family structure. Never again would things be the same, and the rift created would grow to proportions larger than any could have guessed. They learned to live with it, even if they were ...more
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an excellent book. Do you really know who your mother is? A good story about a woman and her secrets and two sisters navigating middle age together.
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received this advance copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Nell was proud of her ability to maintain her well-ordered life, but everything turned upside down the day she received a phone call that her mother, Mary Ellen, was in the intensive care unit at a hospital in Vermont. As far as Nell and her sister, Bridget, knew, Mary Ellen was living in a lovely apartment in a senior citizens’ complex in Massachusetts. What was Mary Ellen doing in Vermont?

When Nell arrived at Hartland Gener
Kate Murdoch
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I very much enjoyed this warm and insightful novel. Nell’s and Bridget’s mother has always presented herself as devoted and selfless, so when they discover her secret life and home in Vermont, they are forced to re-examine everything they know about her, and by extension, their own lives and choices. Her boldness in carving out a second life for herself gives them confidence to do the same. The way in which Gail Cleare shows the closeness between the sisters is masterfully done, and I think many ...more
Red Adept Publishing and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of The Taste of Air. This is my honest opinion of the book.

Nell Williams gets a call about her mother, Mary Ellen Reilly, who is in a hospital located hours away from her home in Massachusetts. As Nell discovers her mother's secrets, a life emerges that she and her sister Bridget knew nothing about. Will the past that is revealed tear apart the family for good?

The biggest issue that I had with The Taste of Air is that it is s
Kelly Topolinski
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed The Taste of Air, and the descriptive writing by Gail Cleare brought me right into the story. It is a family tale in which two daughters are stunned to uncover the secrets kept by their mother, and I believe that the characters are ones that can be identified with by many. I particularly enjoyed how the author brought a complex story together by weaving chapters based on the individual characters and their respective background stories. The historic parts of the story were my fa ...more
Caitlin Avery
Nov 22, 2016 rated it really liked it

The Taste of Air is one of the best books I’ve read this year. As the story unfolded I was most intrigued by the history of secrets that were slowly revealed about the mother of the main character. The scenes that focused on the love story during WWII and the struggles the mother faced as a wartime nurse were my favorite, since they were the ones that took me into a world most unlike my own. The need to keep secrets made sense as her life’s struggles unfolded and it was nice to see how her nonc
Pamela Barrett
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Do we ever really know our parents? We might have heard some stories about their lives before we were born, we may think we know everything about them; their thoughts, their dreams, their desires: but what if there was more to their stories? Author Gail Cleare delves deep into these questions in her novel The Taste of Air. It’s the story of a mother and her 2 daughters and all the secrets she kept until she ends up on life support in a hospital in a town far from where they thought she lived. Wr ...more
Tracy Quarrell
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book reminded me on an Anne Tyler type of book and I love Anne Tyler and have enjoyed my first taste of Gail Cleare and The Taste of Air. This story begins with a family mystery and takes two sisters on a journey into the country of their family's past. It is a thoughtful and well drawn out family drama which examines the dynamics between lovers, friends, mothers and daughters and friends. A very engaging story which will keep you turning the pages to discover that we may not know our paren ...more
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Gail Cleare lives on an 18th century farm in Massachusetts with her family and dogs, cats, chickens, black bears, blue herons, rushing streams and wide, windy skies. She writes fiction and poetry, is into organic gardening and nature photography, and can often be found stalking wild creatures with a 300 mm lens.

“A living death had snuck in and stolen his true self away, leaving behind an empty body that looked like her father. The” 0 likes
“Mary looked forward to easier communication with his spirit now that the body was out of the way—even easier than when his mind and body were still one and healthy, because after he had met God, she felt sure he had attained a much better understanding of what it was to be human.” 0 likes
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