From the misty coast and dry ranch country of rural California to San Francisco's lively streets and Oregon's protective woods, Jessie and Emma are followed by the fumbles, failures, and multifaceted love of their family. The sisters are left behind by Laurel, a mother who never takes to mothering, then raised by their father and a stepmother who loves them as her own. When Laurel reappears to rekindle a relationship, they have disparate responses, but, in their love for one another, allow each other to follow their own paths. As their lives settle into adulthood along with their own questions of belonging, Laurel, desperate for another chance at family and happiness, asks for a stunning gift. The reverberations from the request and its answer will continue to transform the lives of the family.
In Give, debut novelist Erica Witsell wades through issues of motherhood, sisterhood, queer identity, polyamory, infertility, and infidelity while never losing sight of the important central question: how do we choose to give love? As Amy Willoughby-Burle, author of The Lemonade Year, says Give asks: “What will you give for your family—love, forgiveness, second chances? Everything you are? What if they don’t give back?” Ultimately, she says, the novel “pulls no punches, delivering an honest look into the lengths we will go for family.”
Born in Maine but raised in Florida, Erica Witsell lived in Connecticut, California, Ecuador, and Italy before settling in the mountains of western North Carolina fifteen years ago. A graduate of Wesleyan University and University of California, Berkeley, she taught high school for over ten years and now teaches English as a new language in Asheville.
A very unusual family saga written with unusual intelligence and compassion. Erica Witsell has a gift for depicting complex relationships. —Phyllis Rose, author of Parallel Lives, The Year of Reading Proust, and The Shelf
Every summer, Jessie and Emma leave their suburban home in the Central Valley and fly north to Baymont.