Friday, February 20, 2015

The Half Brother; Holly LeCraw

The Half Brother; Holly LeCraw
Doubleday - 2015

When I think about fiction, boarding school settings, and particularly schools in New England, have always been high on my list for perfect settings. The Half Brother, by Holly LeCraw does have that perfect setting.

In this story the protagonist, Charlie Garrett is just out of Harvard when he is hired as an English teacher at the Abbott School in Massachusetts.  Growing up in Georgia, Charlie lived with his mother, Anita, wealthy step-father, Hugh and younger half-brother Nicky, 12 years his junior. Now just out of college, Charlie's first job at the prestigious Abbott school, feels a bit intimidating at first, given the fact that that he is not that much older than many of his students.

As Charlie gets a bit more comfortable there, he begins an innocent friendship with May Bankhead, a student there, and the daughter of the school's chaplain.  When May graduates the two continue to keep in touch, but it isn't until sometime later that they are reunited when May returns to the area to care for her dying father. It's then that the two of them realized that there is something more there besides friendship.
When Charlie learns something shocking, he chooses not to discuss it with May, but breaks up with her instead. Fast forward a decade or so and May, as well as Charlie's, half-brother Nicky, handsome, smart and outgoing, are also teaching at the Abbott school.  
You can probably guess where this story is headed. Sadly, I had such high hopes for this novel, but it just didn't work for me.  It's a slow moving story about love, lies and past betrayals. Unfortunately, the prep school setting was just not enough for me. The story and characters just felt flat.

2/5 stars
(review copy)


  1. I'm disappointed to see this one's not that good.

  2. Yours is not the only reaction I've read that has been a little less than positive. I love the school settings too, but there has to be other qualities as well.

  3. I totally agree with you on this one. I love boarding school books (like you) and had high expectations, but the big plot moments were so blah for me. I really think the publisher released too much detail in its blurb and that did the book a disservice. I'll be doing a mini review for this one.

  4. I guess I should be happy I didn't accept or receive this book, it did look good and I've been on the fence about reading it. Think I can safely pass now. thanks

  5. I felt the same way! I just wanted Charlie to DO something with his life. -Beth


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