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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Readers of this blog might like to know that at this very moment, my mother is likely dying a small death of shame over the title I’ve chosen. This is because, in Mom’s parlance, accoutrements refers to a very specific kind of female undergarment. One worn on the top half of one’s body. My mother, let me note, adopted this term out of her wonderful wry and intelligent sense of humor. She would probably prefer I not write a public blog post about unmentionable undies and so, no doubt, would you, but still I am going to do it. But don’t worry, that’s not the only embarrassing thing I plan to write about.

The “Vacation” part of the title is because my husband and sons are away camping for the week, and my daughter is mostly engaged in the serious young adult business of Going Out Somewhere, which leaves just me and the dogs home alone. All week. It’s wonderful! I wash dishes, and they stay washed. Three days ago, I grocery shopped, and the refrigerator is still full. I have almost excavated the laundry pile down to the place where the floor is visible again. (We had all begun to doubt of its existence.) I miss my menfolk of course, just…not all that much. Not yet.

I’m not actually on vacation vacation. Not the kind where your employer pays you for not working: I still have to show up at my desk 3 days this week. But today was my day off, and I awoke thinking, It’s going to be a great day!

The wrench in the works is that I had to spend a good part of it, as already mentioned, shopping for accoutrements.

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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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