The Darlings are a warm, loud, slightly boundary-challenged family of 4 adult sisters and a brother. The first in a 3-part series, All Right Here, is about Ivy Darling and her husband Nick Mason, a couple with a crumbling marriage, who struggle with infertility. When the 3 kids next door are abandoned by their mother, Ivy & Nick unwittingly become foster parents to the only black children in the town of Copper Cove, Maine. Even as Ivy grows more attached to the kids, Nick refuses to accept their unorthodox household as a permanent family. With their relationship spiraling down fast, Ivy has to decide whether or not she still cares enough to try to save her marriage. A book about faith, family and most of all, forgiveness.

…an honest and delicately navigated novel... Gardner writes with raw insight… a beautiful journey that is both heartbreaking and hopeful.” ~Booklist

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I have a terrible memory for books. I have to look at my Goodreads shelf to remind myself what I’ve read, and even then I often don’t remember the stories. But a few books have stayed with me through the years. Stories I’ve devoured, and my heart has digested until they’ve become part of my molecular structure, altering the way I think. That’s what the best books do: they change the way we see the world.

Today, I thought I’d share 10 books that have never left me. They’re not the only ones I could list, but hey—I have to limit myself somehow. Here you go:

10 Books That Have Never Left Me

10. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: a Leadership Fable (Patrick Lencioni) Weirdly enough, someone gave me this book as a gift. I never imagined I would pick up a business book, let alone love one. But the principles here aren't just for businesspeople: they're sound advice for marriage, ministry teams, or any time you have more than one person forced to work together to accomplish a single goal. What made it memorable: This book taught me that conflict is not a bad thing: it’s a necessary thing that can be an opportunity to heal and build. This rocked my world. It taught me to welcome healthy conflict and deal with it in a constructive way.

9. Life of Pi (Yann Martel) My aunt passed this book on to me, and I put off reading it for years, because... boy trapped in a lifeboat with a tiger: how good can it be? The answer is: Brilliant. Pi spends 9 months lost at sea, trapped in a lifeboat with a 450-lb Bengali tiger and survives by learning to tame the tiger. What made it memorable: The twist at the end staggered me. This book speaks to the places a mind and heart will go in order to survive reality.

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About Carre

I write from the big small town of Portland, Maine, where I’m the mom of 3 teenagers and 2 dogs I wish I didn’t own. (Only the dogs, not the teenagers.) The most interesting thing I’ve ever done is to live for a few years in Russia, studying the language and doing humanitarian work. I wish I remembered more Russian than I do.

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About the Books


The Darlings are a warm, loud, slightly boundary-challenged family of 4 adult sisters and a brother. The first in a 3-part series, All Right Here, is about Ivy Darling and her husband Nick Mason, a couple with a crumbling marriage, who struggle with infertility.

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The Blog

Some reflections on family, faith, and the foibles of life. Stop by and leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you!

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