A Hand to Hold in Deep Water by Shawn Nocher

This was a very good, but at times hard read. This novel touches on family, abuse, cancer and how often the monster is in our own houses. Lacey has always struggled with her upbringing. She was raised by her step-father who stepped right up to the role, with no questions asked and truly treated her as his own daughter but she always wondered what happened to her mother. Why did she leave them? What did she do, for this to happen? And now a mother herself she is struggling with some very hard decisions as well, for the best interest of her child.

Having been thrown into every parents worse nightmare, Lacey seeks out her childhood home and step-father for guidance and that sturdy pillar he always has been for her. As they are working through this all, she is starting to question more and more of why her mother left and is determined to find out the truth. She feels a piece of her has always been missing, and it is time to find that puzzle piece. Then maybe Lacey will finally feel complete and really understand things in life, and in herself.

I loved how this novel was written, in that you followed Lacey through her journey and you also then followed the diary of her mother, and her mother’s brought life. How she was raised, the things she endured, and ultimately why she left – along with all of the family secrets that only a few townsfolk had speculated about years ago.

Thank you to Blackstone Publishing for the free copy of this novel, it was a great read! I will for sure read more by this author.

~ About the author from her website ~

I was raised on forty acres of land in the northern part of Baltimore County, Maryland. It was lovely and idyllic and could be easily romanticized, but it was also a bit lonely. I had horses, dogs, cats, pet rabbits, mice, and snakes as well as siblings and probably preferred them in that order, but I also had books and a mother who loved them. Seems a small thing, but she gave me access to her extensive library and nourished my soul with Willa Cather, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, O. Henry and more. She read voraciously and wasn’t too good for a romp with a Jackie Collins novel. If it was in print, she would read it, and likewise so did I. She was especially proud of the fact that she had smuggled an unabridged copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover from Europe in the late 50s. 

I was lucky enough to learn to read by way of an experimental phonetic alphabet and so, by the age of six, I was able to “write” anything that popped in my head without much of a struggle. And thus, the storytelling began. 

I earned my bachelor’s degree at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and my Master of Arts in Writing at Johns Hopkins University. In between the two degrees there were amusing stints as a freelance copywriter, a bookstore clerk, and a florist. I raised a family, adopted a menagerie of stray animals, and gave wings to two children. But always, I was writing. 

My short stories have appeared in a number of literary publications and I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to the tireless efforts of generous staff readers and editors who often volunteer their time to gather the best works from around the world and then present them, beautifully formatted and often free to the larger world. Their gift is my blessing. 

I live with my husband and an assortment of sassy rescue animals in Baltimore City where I write novels and short stories in a room of my own. These are stories I am compelled to tell, my way of examining the ways in which our hearts are tethered to one another. 


Shawn Nocher

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