Cover Image: Between Before and After

Between Before and After

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Member 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.”"

-The story of family secrets, hopes and changes. It is beautifully written, characters are amazing and intriguing.  The book has two timelines and wraps everything up nicely. great read!
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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 in 1919 NYC. Seeing her as a girl and as a mother in the 1955 sections was a very interesting look into the ways her life experiences had altered her view of the world.

I also really appreciated the inclusion of the Hansel and Gretel story. This novel being about siblings who had to rely on themselves, about a girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders, it was very fitting. Even though I knew where the story was going (it was fairly predictable), I still felt compelled to continue because I needed to know what was going to happen to these characters.
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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 place. Those who love historical novels and memoirs, heavy on the hardships and historical aspects, may enjoy this one.

The writing was very well done. I didn't have any issues following along or get confused about which time period I was in. The characters were also quite complex. There were some interesting lessons or questions that the story brought forward and I appreciated that the author didn't really tell the reader what to think, but presented them in a way that it just makes you think.

I'll just honestly say that this was one of those stories that jarred me. I was expecting something completely different than what I got and it was hard to reconcile my expectations and the actual story. I also didn't particularly love any of the characters or even relate to them, although I did relate to some of the situations and one of the time periods. It's hard to read something like this that isn't necessarily pleasant to read in the first place, it be something you weren't expecting, and then not really like the characters. I also love Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities and was expecting to really love this, but I just didn't see as many connections... or maybe it just lacked the sweet moments and characters I loved that Dickens brought to his story.

In the end, was it what I wished for? If you love Women's Fiction, Memoirs or YA Historicals that are just telling the story of a woman and her daughter, then give this a try. It just wasn't for me.

Content: Some references to abuse and pre-marital relations.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through JustReadTours, which did not require a positive review nor affect it in any way.
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This is an interesting story that has both historical fiction about a terrible medical event that killed many of Americans in the influenza epidemic in the 1900's and how this impacted families and relationships. I am always intrigued by the real life, human side of a medical event in history. It is told from multiple perspectives, which although somewhat difficult to follow at times, is probably a good way to tell the story to the fullest honestly. It also has multiple timelines, going forward and backward to capture the events during the epidemic and the events of the immigrants from Ireland and what their experiences were like at the time.
I would recommend this for readers who enjoy historical fiction such as Before They Were Yours.

#BetweenBeforeAndAfter #NetGalley
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“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.  Elaine begins working for a rich family and her life changes forever.

I preferred the 1919-1920 storyline more than the 1955 and found myself reading more quickly to get back to it when it strayed away.  It was a quick read overall, during part of a day stuck in a jury waiting room.  What I thought I would find was not what I would find, as Molly’s uncle/Elaine’s brother Stephen explains to Molly. You don’t know where a story is really going until you takes the journey with it. At least you hope that is what you find and it is what I found here.  

Thanks to Maureen Doyle McQuerry, her publisher, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this quiet gem.
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This book was interesting. The style wasn't my favorite, but it was still an interesting story about the Spanish Influenza.
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I loved this book. It brings to lives being told from their point of views 37 years apart. One life is of a mother named Elaine when she is a teen in 1918 and the other of the her daughter named Molly in 1955. Once you’re addicting to reading about one life, @maureenmcquerry whips you back to a different time period & life. Tales of flu epidemic in New York, hardships of being poor versus luxurious life of rich, and the shenanigans of being a teenager. It was wonderfully entwined and beautifully written. If you’re wanting a piece with history and mystery with a touch of religion, this is for you.
I received a copy to review from the author and Just Read Tours.
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Told from the perspective of siblings, Molly and her brother Angus, as well as seeing their mother and uncle, Elain and Stephen's lives, as children, we follow the story of Elain's past , understanding that there's hardship within the mysteries we choose to leave in the past. A story of love, heartbreak, and family ties that continue to prevail, Between Before and After goes down the deep path rooted in family, in stories that are too difficult to face, and gets a reader so invested in each character and their backstory that hearing it unfold is so heart-wrenching. 

I loved seeing the relationship that Elain has with everyone in her life, and despite what she goes through, she has people who love and support her. Even more so, seeing her past catch up with her and her accepting and moving forward is such an important shift and growth in character makes her seem like a much more dynamic character than she was as a child! 

There were definitely moments that were a bit slow and didn't understand it's importance later on, but overall, it was a fantastic little mystery that had my heart invested!
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I enjoyed the mystery of this one. It was rather uncomfortable to read at times, but I like books that deal with real life.
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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 pieces but not as a whole. Thanks to NetGalley and Just Read Tours for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a historical story told between two perspectives: mother and daughter. And through each one, we discover a life of secrets, survival, and  growth.

I really enjoyed exploring the emotional writing style and Molly's mission to get to know her mother through her depression and the eventual losses she endures. It ties the historical time period and the two realities each character faced in their own way. 

I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars. While there were parts where I was immersed in the story, there were also times when I had to pause a moment to review what I just read which I found to be a little counterproductive. 

I think the writing style portrayed a different level to the book that made me want to strive to the end. It harbors the experiences of Irish Immigrants while also displaying a coming-of-age story with her daughter. The darker moments give you a raw feel to the family and give you an overall dramatic impact.
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I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

“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.”
First impression: The cover is AMAZING. Seriously so beautiful. Anyways, onto the good stuff!

With sheer style and grace, McQuerry manages to interlace two generations of secrets without losing the reader in between. At first, it felt a bit suited for younger audiences but it was still easy and enjoyable to read. I started to get more and more drawn into the story as I read.
I enjoyed the settings, particularly the San Jose setting because I live about an hour from there.

I'm still wrapping up my thoughts on this and will update once I gather them!
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I wanted to like “Between Before and After”. The characters were mildly interesting, but I found the plot a bit slow for me, and development lacking. The author writes quietly and thoughtfully; I particularly enjoyed Arthur (the grandfather) and Father Kearny. Both showed grit and gumption.

That being said, a few topics included were more mature than expected: premarital sex, abortion, and alcohol, plus a few swear words.

If you liked “Fire in Beulah” (Rilla Askew) or “Gilead” (Marilynne Robinson), you may enjoy this read.

I received a copy of the book from JustRead Publicity Tours. All opinions are my own.
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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 worker.
McQuerry definitely doesn’t pull her punches here! The hardship faced by Elaine as she struggles to support her family is heartbreaking, as is the eventual tragedy that marks ‘before’ and ‘after’ and scars her for life. Though I’d rather have focussed solely on Elaine’s story rather than Molly’s, it’s a fascinating parallel look into growing up in two different time periods… I’m just thankful I was born in the 1990s
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Between Before and After by Maureen Doyle McQuerry is one of those books that captivates you from the very beginning. I was a little hesitant going into this book as historical fiction is very much out of my comfort zone, but I was pleasantly surprised by McQuerry's beautiful writing style. She fantastically crafts a story of past and present, and of sorrow and love. I was shook by the end.

Elaine, one of our protagonists, is growing up in early 20th century New York City. She struggles to keep her poor family from falling apart after her beloved mother dies from the Spanish flu. Through sorrow and grief Elaine remains to be one of the strongest YA protagonists that I have read about in a long time, and she will forever remain one of my favorites.

Elaine's daughter Molly, our second protagonist, is growing up in San Jose, Califorfnia in the 1950s. She is crushed by her parents' recent, devastating divorce. Desperate to understand her distant, mysterious mother, she sets out to uncover some secrets about her past.

As someone who had never read historical fiction in the past, I found this book engaging and highly entertaining. I found that the history elements woven in gave this book some richness and depth that most YA books do not have. Maureen McQuerry wove the two plot-lines and time periods beautifully. Overall I prefered Elaine's story over Molly's. Her struggles, including abuse, alcoholism, and poverty were so well developed and intriguing. I feel like her story was a little more put together than Molly's, but I still enjoyed Molly's story very much.

Overall I would highly recommend this book. The writing is beautiful and the characters are very intriguing. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in trying out historical fiction. You will not be disappointed.

*I was sent this book by JustRead Publicity Tours and NetGallery in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.* (
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Between Before and After

by Maureen Doyle McQuerry


Historical Fiction , Teens & YA

Pub Date 05 Feb 2019




I am reviewing a copy of Between Before and After through Blink and Netgalley:


Molly is a fourteen year old in the mid 1950’s who worries about school and friends and her parents failed marriage.  She is mostly worried about her Mothers depression and the carefully guarded secret Molly knows she is keeping.  Her mother is a writer with an obsession for others people’s story, but when it comes to her own she is a poster child for surpressed emotions.


Molly spends her California Summers watching out for her younger brother Angus and tiptoeing around her Mother’s fragile and raw emotions.  Molly needs her Mother’s in ways she never has before but Elaine shuts herself off from her family burying herself in the lives of the strangers she writes about.  After her Uncle Stephen is pressed into limelight because of a miracle cure for a young man, Elaine is no longer able to hide behind other people’s stories.  As Molly digs into her Mother’s past she finds a secret that reveals a family mystery dating back to 1918 New York.


This book is told in dual narratives, in two different times and places, but the narratives blend perfectly together making for a powerful read, one that holds on but doesn’t let go.


I give Between Before and After five out of five stars!



Happy Reading!
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Between Before and After by Maureen Doyle McQuerry, while written for youth, is equally enjoyable by adult readers. 

Fourteen year old Molly is a typical teenager concerned with many things, school, friends, and boys, but her biggest concern is her mother. Her mother, Eileen, is a writer and seemingly buried in writing but yet Molly knows she is drifting ever further away, at a time Molly needs her most. After her mother chops down the rose garden in their backyard, leaving it in complete shambles, Molly is determined to find out what secrets her mother carries. Finding the lock of hair hidden in her mother’s drawer, Molly becomes even more determined. Not only that she is certain that her Uncle Stephen knows much more than he lets on. 

Between Before and After flips back and forth between the earlier 1900’s and the “current” 1955, Molly’s time. As Molly continues her search, the story of her mother’s life is told in heart-rending clarity. A story Molly searches for but will never fully comprehend and remains hidden from her, and readers, until almost the very end of the novel. Only one other person understands and knows what happened in Eileen’s life and Uncle Stephen isn’t telling.  

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley and JustRead Publicity Tours, and am not required to write a positive review. All thoughts and opinions therein are solely my own.
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Many thanks to NetGalley and JustReads Tours for sending me an advanced reader's copy of Between Before and After in exchange for an honest review.

The novel was not what I expected. To be honest, I'm not sure what I expected before reading it. The synopsis left more questions of intrigue more than anything and then there's the cover. Can we talk about how gorgeous this cover is?! I mean anything involving keys, I'm immediately interested in.

Between Before and After follows the perspectives of 14 year old Molly (the after) and her mother (the before). It alternates between the two POVs, which is really fascinating because with each switch the story gets closer to the big family secret. This made the novel unique because I had never read a book with converging perspectives like that. During Molly's perspective, her uncle performs a miracle on a terminally ill kid and her family is left to deal with the consequences: people gathering outside their house, losing friendships, etc. I struggled to find the connection between this and Molly's mother's story. At times, it felt like I was reading two different stories and I didn't know where the final resolution was going to end up.. I thought the big family secret was kind of a let down. I won't spoil it, but I thought it would be darker. I got so pumped up and when I got to it I was like "that's it???".

Overall, Between Before and After was a different and unique read. I liked the whole historical fiction mixed with contemporary and mystery concept. Definitely refreshing after reading several books of the same genre in a row.
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- A stunning YA novel about the bonds of family and the power of hope. - 

From the first sentence, this book captured my attention and drew me in, tugging my heart-strings and daring me to put it down.

With gorgeous imagery, authentic historical detail, and overall amazing storytelling, Stephanie Morrill took me on a journey that I won’t soon forget! 

The split-time aspect was amazing—I enjoyed seeing the stories of Molly and Elaine side by side and watching as they paralleled each other. I also thought the Hansel and Gretel retelling side of this book was very intriguing!

This book dealt with some really difficult topics, and my heart ached for the characters, especially for Elaine. But I also really connected with Molly—her love of writing and curiosity coupled with her sense of responsibility made for an incredibly endearing character, but it was the struggles both girls faced that shaped this story into the amazing book that it is! 😉 

Abandonment, betrayal, loss, and secrets are woven throughout, but it is the hope found in the midst of all that, and the overcoming love of family that truly brought this story together. And the ending was great, if surprising!!

****Highly Recommended!!****

Note: There is a very small amount of more mature content in this book, but nothing graphic, so I would probably recommend it for 14+
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I’m not sure why this book didn’t immediately take to me. The foundation of the story, the setting, characters and plot was good but I only found myself deeply in the book about midway where it came alive for me. 

Between Before and After, the reader is told it’s story through dual time perspectives which I really appreciated. One perspective told through teenage Molly at the present and the past told through her mother Elaine. I feel through Elaine’s perspective, we are learning about the past. Some moments I wish could’ve been explored more because it felt like something was left out or we rushed right buy. Molly’s perspective helped us understand who Elaine was and why she feels the way she does through the past. Getting to know their lives this way gave us a backstory and a overall perspective on who they were.

In hopes to learn more about Elaine, Molly decided to look into her past. When she discovered something hidden, she decided to put up ad to get any information. Not knowing what it would uncover, when an accident occurred, the past collided with the present leaving opening secrets that had consequences that would change their lives forever.

I thought it was a beautifully written story with several memorable moments. There were moments that I wish we could’ve learned more to experience more of their journey. I thought it was a wonderful addition to the book embedding snippets from Hansel & Gretel in there. Despite a couple of my thoughts, I will recommend this book for you to consider.
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