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The Half Brother by Holly LeCraw
Contemporary fiction

The Half Brother

by Holly LeCraw

Quick take

At its core, The Half Brother is a love story—but one that veers into treacherous waters.

Why I love it

Have you have ever had to tell a lover a terrible secret? Or confront a wayward sibling, or care for an aging parent? In The Half Brother, the characters confront many difficult questions about the ties that bind: the choices parents make, the obligations siblings hold to each other, the guilt of leaving one's home behind, and the boundaries between love and loyalty.

The setting, a tony New England boarding school, provides an intense microcosm in which the characters' lives intersect in powerful and unexpected ways, with consequences that are both wonderful and horrific. The author creates and then pulls apart the twisty knots of messy relationships among husbands and wives, teachers and students, fathers and sons, and, of course, half brothers.

At its core, The Half Brother is a love story—but one that veers into treacherous waters. Charlie Garret, a fresh college grad, lands his first teaching job at the Abbott School. He soon finds himself infatuated with May Bankhead, one of his students who just happens to be the chaplain's daughter. When Nick, Charlie's handsome younger half brother, arrives in Abbott to teach and charms the entire town, a tangled web of affairs ensues. And this is just the tip of the iceberg…

All the elements of an extraordinary read are present here: evocative language, conflicted and genuine characters, a story that is both immediately gripping and satisfyingly well-constructed, and themes that bleed beyond the novel itself. Ultimately, the book contemplates the idea that the arcs of our lives are impacted by forces beyond our control. With so much here to sink your teeth into, you will find yourself wondering "what would I do?" while the author keeps you guessing until the very end.

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