Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mother Of Pearl by Kellie Coates Gilbert (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Kellie Coates Gilbert, author of Mother Of Pearl!

Author Guest Post

So, What Is Women's Fiction Anyway?
By Kellie Coates Gilbert

Recently, I was asked how I personally define women's fiction. To me, women's fiction is very different from any other genre. Unlike general contemporary fiction, women's fiction is a story about a woman (or women) that tells more about her inner journey than her outer experiences, where relationships are key and the journey evokes a lot of emotion.

As an author of women's fiction, I am on a bit of a soapbox about this topic. So often I hear a category romance author or someone who writes high adventure claim their stories fit into the women's fiction category. I disagree.

Authors like Kristin Hannah, Cassandra King, Elizabeth Berg and others know that readers who long for stories that focus on a strong character arc, where the woman protagonist journeys through a plot and becomes someone different in the way they think or feel by the end of the story, is paramount to satisfying true women's fiction aficionados. 

Don't misunderstand. In my novel, Mother Of Pearl, there is a strong plot as a backdrop. The story is about a high school counselor who learns the football coach has been inappropriate with her daughter, and how she risks everything to bring him to justice. There are plenty of twists and turns, and surprises as the reader turns the pages. But, as protagonist Barrie Graeber journeys through the events in this story, she changes. An inciting incident pulls her from her regular world and thrusts her into a situation she never expected, was not prepared to deal with - a situation that made her face her worst fear. 

By the end of the novel, Barrie is forced to examine the inner landscape she's always relied on and instead must look outside herself for answers. She releases her tight grip on her own abilities and steps into unknown territory. Not that she has pat answers, but she leaves the novel different from the woman she was on the first page. 

And, if I've done my job as an author ... so does the reader. 

About The Author

Kellie 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. 

Her latest book is the Christian fiction, Mother Of Pearl.

Mother Of Pearl Book Trailer

Book Review

Mother Of Pearl by Kellie Coates Gilbert
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: September 1, 2012
Format: Paperback - 304 pages / Kindle - 474 KB / Nook - 891 KB
ISBN: 1426733437
ASIN: B0093R5J16
Genre: Christian Fiction / Women's Fiction 

BUY THE BOOK: Mother Of Pearl

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours.

Book Description:

A high school counselor seeks justice after learning her own teenage daughter had an inappropriate relationship with the football coach. 

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

Barrie’s attempts to steer her daughter back on course fail. Nothing prepares this mother for the helplessness that follows when Pearl shuts her out . . . or when the unthinkable comes to light about her nemesis, the football coach. 

Mother Of Pearl is a story that puts absolute truths and convictions to the test. It’s the emotionally riveting tale of a woman who finds she must recognize her own vulnerability and learn to trust in something much bigger.

Book Excerpt:

“Turn around, quick.”


“Mom, please—” she pleads. “Just turn around. Hurry.”

I grip the wheel and check my mirrors. Finding the way clear, I whip my Acura around then glance back in Pearl’s direction. “What’s going on?”

She points at a pickup parked near the back of the Texas Roadhouse restaurant. “There.”

I slow the car and my eyes follow where she points to a guy letting a girl out of his truck – Craig's truck. He bends and kisses her.

My eyes dart back to Pearl. She sees as well. With tears pooling, she barks, “Go! Don’t let them see us.”

I nod and quickly pull away. “Oh, honey . . .”

She holds her hand up. “Mom, stop. Don’t say anything. Not now.”

I watch helplessly while my daughter’s face crumbles and tears roll down her cheeks. I take a frail breath, wanting desperately to find the right words.

When she was little and fell off her bike, I knew how to bandage a scraped knee. And as her heart filled with disappointment in junior high when the principal awarded the coveted science fair prize to someone else, I knew how to salve her hurt feelings. But this time, a still voice deep inside my head warns me to do as she asked and remain quiet. At least for now.

Moms are supposed to run interference for their children, protect them from the hard things in life. Perhaps for the first time, I understand mothers can’t fix all things.

I press my foot on the accelerator and focus on the road ahead, silently driving my daughter and her broken heart home.

My Book Review:

Barrie and Steve Graeber have a wonderful life together: a solid marriage, two great kids and jobs that they enjoy. But their life is turned upside down when daughter Pearl catches her boyfriend cheating with her best friend. Barrie watches helplessly as Pearl's life begins to unravel, she becomes withdrawn and pulls away from the close loving relationship that they had once shared. Barrie doesn't know how to cope when she learns that Pearl has been drinking and driving and keeping a dark secret, let alone know how to help her hurting daughter. When tragedy strikes and the family's life is altered forever, Barrie has to strike a balance between the grief that has wrapped itself around her family, and taking a firm stand to bring justice for a horrible wrong that has been committed. Barrie's commitment to seek justice puts a huge strain on her family relationship and could sacrifice her career ... can she continue to seek justice even if it proves to be too costly?

Mother Of Pearl is an emotionally profound and poignant story that will pull at your heartstrings. In her debut novel, author Kellie Coates Gilbert weaves a heart wrenching tale told in the first person narrative by Barrie Graeber, who takes the readers on an emotionally charged roller coaster ride with a sobering story that only a mother could tell. This story is thoughtfully written about the dynamics of family and community relationships; real sensitive societal issues; and dealing with betrayal, loss, the grieving process, faith and seeking justice. The author has created a realistic story that is very powerful, compelling and thought provoking. The religious element of faith is subtle in this story, instead of being overbearing, it is inspirational and has a very relevant part that is only natural when dealing with the events that unfold in the story.

The cast of characters are realistic and complex people who have human flaws, shortcomings, and struggles that the reader can easily identify with and relate to. The author does a wonderful job of portraying the dynamics of various relationships that Barrie has with her family and community. The dialogue and interactions are emotionally charged and palpable, the reader is drawn into Barrie's journey and witness her transformation as the story unfolds. I loved the way the story unfolds, especially as Barrie's focus is turned inward and she changes into an advocate for troubled teens with a positive activist outlook. The character development is phenomenal, the reader can't help but be drawn into their lives and feel their raw emotions, it is so palpable your emotions will run the gamut, so keep a box of tissues nearby. I could easily see this story becoming a made for TV movie on the Lifetime channel.

Mother Of Pearl is an amazing story that will touch your heart and soul, it is one of those stories that is so thought provoking that it will simply resonate with you for a very long time.



  1. I really liked this book as well. Can't imagine the suffering the parents went through. Nice web site!

    1. Hi JoyAnne! Thank you for stopping by and posting your kind comments. I loved the book, and can't imagine what the parents went through either. This story just tugs at your heartstrings, a very sobering read.