The Half Brother

Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Evocative of Dead Poets Society and The Starboard Sea, Holly LeCraw's The Half Brother is the story of secrets and betrayals between two brothers set amid the ivy-covered walls of an elite New England boarding school.
     When Charlie Garrett arrives as a young teacher at the Abbott School, he finds a world steeped in privilege and tradition. The school's green quads are lined by gothic stone halls, students dart across campus in blazers and bright plaid skirts. Fresh out of college and barely older than the students he teaches, Charlie longs to find his place in the rarefied world of Abbottsford. He gets to know the school chaplain, Preston Bankhead, and is drawn to Preston's beautiful young daughter, May, a student at the school.
     Then, Charlie's younger half brother, Nick, arrives on campus. Nick is, quite literally, the golden child, with sandy blond hair and a dazzling smile. Teachers welcome him warmly; students stay late to talk after class; and May Bankhead proves susceptible to his magnetic power. As Charlie sees the unmistakable connection between his first love and his half brother, he struggles with emotions far more complicated than mere jealousy. A terrible secret threatens to surface, and Charlie's peaceful campus life is in jeopardy.
    A complex, sexy, page-turning novel, LeCraw's latest asks how much we will sacrifice to protect those we love and how far we will go to keep the past safely buried.


"The Half Brother is a beautifully written novel. . . . a thoughtful meditation on family and mortality, with sympathetic characters and a well-drawn setting that will be recognizable to many."
The Boston Globe

The Half Brother is escapism at its best―gemmed here and there with truly powerful writing, it’s decadent as cake, and just as much fun to consume.” ―Winnipeg Free Press

“[An] engrossing study of characters and relationships.” 
Kirkus Reviews

"When Harvard graduate Charlie Garrett starts teaching at Abbott, an Episcopal boarding school in Massachusetts, the chair of the English department tells the young teacher that his students ‘all still believe in truth.’ LeCraw’s gorgeous sentences dramatize a campus where literature stirs young hearts and minds . . . LeCraw never eases the emotional tension. . . One of the finest school-set novels in recent memory.” — The Millions

"With profound insights and through elegant, understated prose, LeCraw tells an intricate tale of loyalty and betrayal, secrets and truths, taking readers on a dreamlike journey into the heart of passion and the soul of family. In this exotic, emotive, and evocatively delicate novel, LeCraw brings southern gothic to staid New England in a tale reminiscent of books by Pat Conroy, Anne Rivers Siddons, Anne Tyler, and Donna Tartt."
Carol Haggas, Booklist (starred)

“This second novel by transplanted Southerner LeCraw is written in the analytic but un-self-pitying voice of Charlie, with an air of Greek tragedy or Southern gothic that should appeal to readers who liked Amber Dermot’s The Starboard Sea . . . Fans of boarding school novels will snap up this story of lost loves, family secrets, and life at a New England prep school from behind the teacher’s desk.” 
–Laurie Cavanaugh, Library Journal

“Irresistible . . . Holly LeCraw has created an appealing setting in the Abbott School, a campus at the top of a ridge in north Massachusetts where azaleas and cherry blossoms surround the stone and clapboard buildings, and the grass almost shimmers with mist . . . It is a pleasure to get lost in LeCraw’s prose, which is both graceful and filled with smart observations . . . By the end, we’re invested.” 
“With wisdom and emotional generosity, LeCraw takes us through a year that transforms both the teachers and students of Abbott forever. Page-turning, lyrical, and ambitious, The Half Brother is a powerful examination of family, loyalty, and love.”