Tell Me Something True – A Visit With Beth Webb Hart

Today’s post by the amazing Beth Webb Hart | @bethwebbhart

We’ve got five copies of Beth’s new novel, MOON OVER EDISTO, up for grabs today. (Believe us, you want a copy of this one–Pat Conroy endorsed it.) Just leave a comment on this post to enter.

Marybeth Whalen

UPDATE: the winners for this giveaway are Nuala Reilly, Megan C, Blanche Diane, Karen, and Kerri. They have been notified by email. Thanks to everyone who entered! And don’t forget to visit again soon.

What would be the most difficult thing to forgive?   That was the question I was turning over in my mind like a lemon drop on the tongue when the idea for my new novel, Moon Over Edisto, materialized.   The story is about a young woman, Julia Bennett, whose best friend from college has an affair with her father, and the ripples of this particular betrayal expand like this:   Julia’s father divorces her mother, marries his young love, they have a family of their own before he dies very suddenly of a heart attack one morning while painting a landscape on their Edisto Island dock.

When the novel opens it’s nearly twenty years after the initial affair and Julia, who traded the southern gothic family dysfunction long ago for a life as an artist and art professor in Manhattan, finds her father’s widow — Marney — on her doorstep one night.   Marney slowly divulges her outrageous request.   She wants Julia to come home for the summer and take care of her three young children (Julia’s half-brothers and half-sisters who she’s never had contact with) because she has lung cancer and will need help as she recovers from massive surgery

So how is this story connected to my personal life?   No, my father never had an affair with one of my friends (though I do actually have a friend who this happened to).   But, I did experience betrayal at a very tender age – not the juicy kind — but certainly the slow burning insidious type consisting of verbal lashings, reckless decisions, acute temper flares, intimidation, fear of what might happen next.   And it has taken me years and no small amount of counseling and prayer to work these painful memories and their impact on all of my subsequent relationships.

To spell out the particulars of what happened to me as a child and young adult would harm the process of forgiveness I’ve been undergoing with loved ones.   However, that’s what makes story such a therapeutic place to confront this kind of injustice.   Julia’s fury is my own fury, and the fury of anyone who has been unfairly treated or abandoned.   Her grief was mine too.   And her willingness — at last in the story — to acknowledge the intrinsic frailty and woundedness of those who hurt her most also belonged to me.

Like Julia and like the ones who hurt me when I was young, I’m a broken, flawed, weak human being living in a fallen world where I’m surrounded by others who share my affliction.   I’ve been abused and forsaken, and I’ve done those things right back at the people I loved most, even the most innocent.   Such is my condition, the human condition.   Such is my need for someone to rescue me from myself and the world in which I have no choice but to live.

Julia finds a way through this, and she can’t help but falling in love with the half-brother and half-sisters who are — whether she likes it or not –  her family.   Love covers a multitude of sins.   I know from personal experience, that this much is true.

Edisto Island was where it all came apart.  Can the Bennett girls ever be whole again?

Once, they were the happiest family under the sun, crabbing and fishing and painting on beautiful Edisto Island in South Carolina’s lowcountry.

Then everything went wrong, and twenty years later the Bennett family is still in pieces. Mary Ellen still struggles to understand why her picture-perfect marriage came apart. Daughter Meg keeps a death grip on her own family, controlling her relationships at a distance. And eldest daughter, Julia, left it all behind years ago, forging a whole new life as an artist and academic in Manhattan. She’s engaged to an art dealer and has no intentions of returning to Edisto. Ever.

Then an emergency forces Julia back to Edisto to care for her three young half-siblings. She grudgingly agrees to stay a week. But there’s something about Edisto that changes people. Can Julia and her fractured family somehow manage to come together again under that low-hanging Edisto moon?

“A rich, endearing, can’t-stop-reading book about what matters most, the power of love to transform the human heart. ” —Dorothea Benton Frank,  New York Times  best-selling author,  Porch Lights

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS, will be published in January 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.

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42 Responses to Tell Me Something True – A Visit With Beth Webb Hart

  1. Blanche Diane February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    À healing must read! Interesting.

  2. Kate February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds like a great story – looking forward to reading it!

  3. Sharon February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I would love to get my hands on this book. Sounds like a good read.

  4. Rachel February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Wow, what a story. I can’t wait to read it!

  5. Linda February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I have some memories of a vacation at Edisto beach several years ago and would love to read this and refresh those memories! Thanks for the chance to win!

  6. Paula Dolin February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    This story sounds great – I love stories about forgiveness amid broken relationships. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  7. Billie February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Tis a rainy day here…a great day to read such a book…No one gets out of this life without a broken heart of some form…Writing and reading are both healers.

  8. karenk February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    i have read & LOVED all of beth’s novels…thanks for chance to read her latest masterpiece ;)

  9. Katherine Jones February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I heard about this book…what a compelling premise. I love it when writers aren’t afraid to make their characters’ problems BIG. Those make for the most resonant stories. Sounds like a fascinating read.

  10. jane February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    this book sounds so good! i really wish i could win it.

  11. LRF February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I am hoping this book can help me on my journey of learning to forgive & love despite wrongs done over a period of years. Even if I don’t win a copy, I will definitely put this on my “must read” list.

  12. Cammi Hevener February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds like a rivoting read! I think of my mother as I read the synopsis. She would probably enjoy this book.

  13. Beth Webb Hart February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Thank you for all of the terrific comments, folks. I continue to struggle with forgivness, but writing this book helped me work through a lot of my questions. If my character can do it…. maybe I can. I hope it blesses you! Warmly, Beth Webb Hart

  14. Becky S February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds like a very compelling story. Would love to read it.

  15. Audra February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Wow, I have chills just reading this!! Going on my must read list now!

  16. Ann Ellison February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds like a great read and I would love to win a copy.

  17. Jennifer February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Can’t wait to read this!

  18. Juliet February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Ahhh…Edisto. Another novel set in the magical Sea Islands. Looking forward to reading it.

  19. Ruth O February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Another great read to look forward to! Thanks for the inspiring post, too. Will add this to my upcoming to-read list.

  20. rhonda February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds so good would love to read it.

  21. Heather Marsten February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Powerful story – You are right, love covers a multitude of sins. Betrayal is hard to overcome. I’m curious how you work this out in your novel.
    HM at HVC dot RR dot COM

  22. Nuala Reilly February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Crossing my fingers! SheReads has not steered me wrong yet! I’d love a copy.

  23. Beth Webb Hart February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Thanks, y’all. I love seeing that some of you know Edisto Island as it’s a pretty remote place. Hope you enjoy the story! Warmly,
    Beth Webb

  24. Kandra February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Such an intriguing interview! i need to check this author out.

  25. Kathy Scott February 21, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    The story of betrayal and then forgiveness is a riveting theme for the book, “Moon Over Edista.” I am sure it would be worth reading. I applaud the way Beth sees her writing as a therapy to find her way to forgiveness as well.

  26. Tamara February 21, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Oh She Reads- you naughty little book loving people! Do you realize that you just add to my TBR list everyday? I’ll never make it through my TBR list at this point- unless I become fabulously wealthy and can just sit and read all day!

  27. Megan C. February 21, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Pick me! Pick me! I’ve read and really enjoyed her previous novels.

  28. Polly Schneider February 21, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    This sounds like a great story, one we all need to read. I would love to win a copy. Thanks for the opportunity.

  29. Wauthena Neely February 21, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Having gone through a similar experience I didn’t think I could even read the review but I did and I am glad. The author has had experiences that my Granddaughter is currently dealing with so this is a book we will both be reading.

  30. Ariel February 21, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds great, can’t wait to read it.

  31. shannon brown February 21, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    I want it!!!!! Sounds wonderful!!!

  32. Gwyn February 21, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Wow, this book sounds really interesting!!!

  33. Nicole February 21, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Ooh yes! I’m in!

  34. Becky February 21, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds great!!! Tried to imagine what the worst thing to forgive before I read on- didn’t guess that one!! Pulled me in for sure!

  35. janet h. February 21, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Wow! sound great!

  36. Lana February 21, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    I can’t get enough Marybeth Whalen!!

  37. Kerri February 22, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Would love to read it! I am a huge fan of books about South Carolina!!

  38. Gwen February 22, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Love reading your books and can’t wait to read this one.

  39. Karen February 22, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds like a great read!

  40. Gayle February 23, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Please enter me in your drawing. I would love to read this book. Thank you for the opportunity to win. Gayle

  41. Janet Estridge February 25, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I would love to win the book, “Moon over Edisto” to add to our collection in the Church Library.
    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to do so.

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  1. Thursday’s Round Up… « Traveling With T - February 21, 2013

    [...] Tell Me Something True- A Visit with Beth Webb Hart   5 copies of Moon Over Edisto is being given away thanks to She Reads. [...]

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