cover image Blessed Are the Wholly Broken

Blessed Are the Wholly Broken

Melinda Clayton. Thomas-Jacob Publishing, $12.99 trade paper (252p) ISBN 978-0-9895729-3-4

Clayton (Appalachian Justice) has written an emotionally charged, engrossing book that tackles life's large and often overwhelming questions. Phillip and Anna Lewinsky are struggling with heartache and grief after the death of their first child when Anna discovers that she is pregnant at age 43. Shuttling between the past and the present, Clayton probes the couple's troubled world, as Phillip looks back at their early relationship. He recalls that when Anna shortened his name in conversation that, "as silly as it may sound, particularly given all we'd suffered at that point, it saddened me, as if I'd slipped a notch in her esteem, no longer worthy of those extra letters." With another child on the way, the couple wrestles with their demons: "We didn't want to get our families' hopes up again only to have them dashed....We also didn't want to have to make that terrible phone call again, the one signifying the end of everything." Clayton writes with a raw immediacy, and the multiple narratives satisfyingly converge to create an intense and compelling atmosphere.