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Between Before and After

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  200 ratings  ·  84 reviews
“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
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by Blink
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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Octavia 🧜🏼‍♀️ The Book Mermaid 🧜🏼‍♀️
Maureen Doyle McQuerry has crafted a beautifully emotional story filled with love, loss, hope, and discovery.

Ms. McQuerry's writing style is absolutely captivating, as I can guarantee you will be unable to stop flipping the pages of this book due to its ability to enchant readers. Everything from the plot, setting, and characters in this novel are original and unforgettable. I loved reading in the perspectives of both Molly and her mother, Elaine, for they both had such exquisitely different wa
Karen • The Book Return
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read this review and more on my blog.The Book Return Blog
*I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Elaine is the child of poor Irish immigrants. She is growing up in turn of the century New York City. When Elaine's mother dies from the Spanish flu, Elaine struggles to keep her family together.

Elaine's daughter, Molly, is growing up in 1950's San José, California. She is

Hallie Szott
Take a trip into the past with Maureen Doyle McQuerry’s Between Before & After. Alternating between the experiences of mother and daughter, it explores the good and the bad—family, loss, depression, betrayal, hope, and love—and proves entirely engaging.

In 1955, Molly Donnelly is in need of her mother. Yet, thanks to her mother’s depression and well-guarded secrets, Molly cannot seem to bridge the disconnect. So, she hunts for the truth of the long-buried past, and the story delves into the reali
Megan Chance
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Complex and beautifully layered. This story of family secrets, hope and change is wonderfully written. It's a gem of a novel with all the hallmarks of a classic.
Tressa (Wishful Endings)
BETWEEN BEFORE AND AFTER is a Time-Slip story set during a difficult time in history where a daughter faces some tough realities of life, and then at another time in history when life is a little simpler but where there are still prejudices and another daughter also faces her own difficulties. It reads more like a Women's Fiction story, and almost like reading a journal account of the prior time as the reader gets flashes and snippets of what happened in the past as the other storyline takes pla ...more
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a free copy of the book.

This was an interesting book. It delved into some pretty deep topics, which were heavier than I expected. I was really captivated by the endurance of these characters, and found myself fully immersed in the world Doyle McQuerry has created.

One of my favorite aspects of the book was its dual timeline narrative. I recently had a conversation with a fellow booknerd about how much I appreciate the buildup that comes with this type of s
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
I loved, loved, loved Ms. McQuerry's writing style. The split-time was handled in an incredible manner, with the end of each chapter being left in a cliffhanger. It made the novel difficult to put down. Many times throughout the story, an excerpt from Hansel and Gretel is used, adding character to the story as a whole.
Despite everything that I loved, the content was mature enough that I cannot recommend this book to teens. There was a description of how abortion is performed and prematernal sex
TheReadingCornerforAll Lopez
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The space between before and after is a curious place to define for this is where forgotten truths and secrets often lie. This pocket of time can be founded by the past where all the things we wish to tuck away are gradually layered. However, the space between before and after is not just limited to the past for it extends itself throughout multiple generations that enclose their individual desires and confidences. Author Maureen Doyle McQuerry’s usage of dual narratives which span through time ...more
Faith Hurst-Bilinski
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
“Bury your past before it buried you.” That’s what Molly’s dad said to her mom before he left. Molly didn’t know what that meant but she meant to find out. As she tells the story, we go back and forth between Molly’s present, 1955, to her mom’s past in 1920. Her mother, Elaine, had a tough childhood, losing her mother and baby sister to the flu epidemic and being forced to steal and work to feed herself and her brother while their father drinks himself out of jobs and comes home less and less. E ...more
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Netgalley for giving me a free copy of this book to review.

I love a story with dual timelines. It's a trope that I just really enjoy, and in this story it was doen particularly well. This story follows Molly in 1955, learning about her mother's mysterious past. This is a story about love, family, secrets, miracles and hope. The writing was beautiful and I especially enjoyed reading about Elaine and her story of survival as a poor street child struggling to take care of her brother i
Mar 21, 2019 marked it as to-read
Between Before and After is a unique but confusing story. I usually like multiple perspectives, but something about this didn't mesh together. Molly is the after, and her mother is the before. The dual points of view were disjointed from one another. I found the story hard to get started because it's slow. The best part is the miracle performed and the consequences of that act. It's a believable and plausible situation. The writing is lovely and flows nicely. Overall, I enjoyed this book in piec ...more
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
* 4.5 stars *

A book that managed to tie the past and present together with the undertones of a fairytale gives us a story that shows how far someone will go to protect the ones they love and just how similar mothers and daughters can be.

“Between Before and After” finds Molly digging through her mother’s drawers when she finds a mysterious envelope that makes her question what secrets lie in her past and what it can tell her about their future as a family.

I really loved the style of this book
Wendy Poteet
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! If you're a fan of historical fiction, put this on your must-have list!
Elizabeth Mathis
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
“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
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blog-reviewed
" 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"

As far as the story, and writing, go, I have very little to complain about. Several times I found myself losing track of time and space as I was absorbed into the story. More than once I was forced to stop and really think about the events that happened, each one taking a toll on me emotionally as if I was Molly or Elaine, living through it. This is th
Paige Green
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I received this book from JustReadsTour! Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Rating: 4/5

Publication Date: February 5, 2019

Genre: YA Contemporary

Recommended Age: 13+ (pain, past, secrets, loss and love)

Publisher: Blink

Pages: 304

Amazon Link

Synopsis: “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 Mo
KayCee K
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Told in different times the past and future. Elaine's is a young girl worried about school, family and overall life. Given a hard hand in life she does her best to carry her and her brother throughout life. While the other point of view comes from, Molly who spends her summer chasing her mothers past, while dealing with her Uncle who is tossed into the light of the town for doing a miracle.

Once I started this story I was lost into the pages, so it was easy to spend hours reading this book. I fi
Suzie Waltner
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
A thoroughly engaging book about family told through to time periods—1918 for Elaine and 1955 for her daughter Molly—Between Before and After is unique and refreshing. Love of their brothers and interested in writing are commonalities between Molly and her mother, yet there’s also an air of depression around Elaine. One Molly is convinced comes from something from Elaine’s past.

In an effort to figure out what is happening with her mother, Molly embarks on a fact-finding mission to try and figure
Mar 17, 2019 rated it liked it
One of the best books that sums up the experience of Irish immigrants in the US, this book is definitely an interesting take on the coming-of-age story. On the one hand, we have Elaine, who is growing up in post-World War One Brooklyn, trying to fend for herself and her brother despite a litany of hardships. On the other we have Molly, Elaine’s daughter, who watches in bewilderment as her mother’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and distant- and her uncle claims himself to be a miracle wo ...more
Blue Cypress Books
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Moving and well written historical fiction, this book will certainly appeal to both older teens and adults. Deals with sensitive, real-life matters in a smart and engaging way.
Sara (A Gingerly Review)
Quick read. I enjoyed buy struggled with the pacing. Frtc
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written novel about parents, children and the secrets that we keep to protect those we love.
Lisa Mandina
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Now, I'm always interested in stories that connect different times in the past. Usually I like when they are related to more of major historical events, but this one had its own connections that definitely kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering where it would all go, and how it would all connect. As we followed through the mother, Elaine's time period, there were so many things going on in her life that it kept me guessing and catching clues for paths to try to figure out just what the major ...more
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am equally charmed by Maureen McQuerry’s Between Before & After as a book and as a story. As a book, you can tell right away that Between Before & After is going to be a lovely and intricate story. The cover sketch is a key - with letters, pigeons, a typewriter, all sorts of clues - in shiny gold leaf woven into it. Even the typography helps convey the complexity: Chapter One is introduced in different fonts for the chapter number, chapter header, chapter setting date and place, and the charac ...more
Angela Walker
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
BEFORE: Summer of 1919, 6 months after her mother and little sister's death, Elaine got a job to help support her family. Elaine and Stephen's drunk father was jobless as often as he was working. Every morning she went to read the newspaper to a blind older gentleman. The Gossley family was wealthy, giving the children opportunities for funds, food, and education they otherwise wouldn't have had.

AFTER: Molly's parents are separated. Her dad left because her mom (Elaine) wouldn't let the 'past st
Bobby (getlostinabook)
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received a complimentary copy of this book; I am not required to leave a positive review. When I read the blurb for this book I immediately knew that I was going to have to read this one! There are some things I liked about this book and some things I didn’t like. I liked that questions start rising from the very first chapter. I think that Maureen has a gift for painting mental pictures through words, from characters, to places, to injuries; I could easily imagine the scene. I loved the time ...more
Trisa (Absolute Bookishness)
I received a free advanced copy of Between Before and After as part of the FFBC Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review.

Enter the GIVEAWAY on my blog, Absolute Bookishness. (Ends 2/15/2019.)

Told in alternating perspectives between Molly and her mother, Elaine, Between Before and After crosses distance and time–from 1955 San Jose, California to 1919 Brooklyn, New York and back–spinning a tale of grief, determination, and wonder.

In Between Before and After, McQuerry reveals the strained, tenuou
Mar 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Molly, a 14-year-old girl from the 1950s, becomes very worrisome about her mother’s growing depression. Elaine, Molly’s mother, has started to isolate herself from the outside world, but most importantly, isolate herself from her family. She closes herself up in her room for days, barely eating or being active, solely focusing on the dark and depressing stories she writes. When a most shocking event comes up in her family, Elaine realizes that she can no longer hide behind her dark pieces of wri ...more
Judith Moore
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Originally posted at Chain Interaction

As someone who doesn’t read a huge amount of historical fiction (though I have read quite a bit this year) so please take that into account when you read my review. I can’t speak to tropes or what may be cliché or new or exciting – I can only speak to my experience reading this book – just something to keep in mind.

I loved the way that this book had a split narrative. I’ve read books that follow two different timelines before (a huge trend around the same ti
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
My Review:

This poignant tale of family, coming of age, and miracles, follows fourteen year old Elaine and her brother Stephen as they fight to survive after the death of their mother, with their absent alcoholic father. Elaine finds a job with a wealthy family to support her family.

Thirty years later Elaine's fourteen year old daughter Molly gets the idea to find out more about her troubled mother's past, drawing inspiration from her mother's career as a biography author. As the pieces begin to
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All of my books have an element of mystery and magic, even the realistic stories. And as a friend pointed out, there is a library in every one of them. It must be because libraries have always been magical places for me.

Maureen McQuerry is an award winning poet, novelist and teacher. Her YA novel, The Peculiars (Abrams/Amulet 2012) is an ALA Best Book for Young Adult Readers 2013, Bank Street and

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