May 10, 2018


When Mary Reilly turns up in a hospital hundreds of miles from the senior community where she lives, Nell and Bridget discover their mother has been hiding a second life. She has a lakeside cottage in Vermont and a series of complex relationships with people her daughters have never met. The family drama leads back to the middle of the 20th century and knits together all three women, the sacrifices they’ve made and the secrets they carry.

Nell is a carpool mom and corporate trophy wife who yearns for a life of her own. Bridget is a glamorous interior designer who transforms herself for every new man, always attracted to the bad ones. Their mother Mary was an army nurse in the Vietnam War, then married handsome navy pilot Thomas Reilly and lived happily ever after…or did she?


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Sandra's Review

The Taste of Air is a standalone novel. It’s the first book I have read by Gail Cleare and I am sure it won’t be the last. It’s definitely different then the books I usually read. But, I do love a good story involving secrets and this was a great one!
Nell was just going through her typical weekday routine when she gets a phone call about her mother. The one that is supposed to be living in Massachusetts but is in a hospital in Vermont. After calling her sister, Bridget she flew out to be by her mom’s side. She couldn’t worry about why she was there, her mom’s health was more important. She couldn’t put on added stress. She hoped she could figure it out with her Bridget when she got to town.
Bridget was upset that her mother was fallen ill but it was good timing. She was planning something big and needed to get out of town. She needed to be with her sister and mother right now. The mystery of why her mom was in Vermont would be a good distraction away from her problems. What she didn’t realize was how many secrets her mom was keeping from them. She was both proud and felt sadness for her mother. She lived a second life. One for the books, that for sure.
Mary always kept her promises. She loved hard. She lived her life happily but with secrets. She was a strong woman who raised even stronger women. Will they be able to discover and live with the ones she kept hidden all these years?
I loved this book! I was hooked from the very beginning until the very end. I had to know what was going to happen next. I loved how it felt like I was reading three books that were woven all together. I felt for all three of them. I see a little of myself in each of them. They all lived different lives but are connected. And the mystery! I have never written down so many notes to put it all together. The writing is magnificent. The story just flowed and was so engaging. I felt like I was right there in Vermont with them.
Overall…it’s a story about family, love, secrets, loss, friendships, strong women, and discovery. It’s also about forging your own path. Making your own happiness. It’s inspiring, really.
“I can picture two women back in caveman days, having this same conversation. ‘Wolf Tooth in bad mood today, sister, ugh, watch out for club on head.’”
“If you weren’t so grouchy all the time, I might trust you more.”
“If you didn’t tell me what to do, I wouldn’t be so grouchy.”
“Maybe if we let life take its course instead of fighting so hard to change things all the time, it will help us face the future,” Bridget said.


Gail Cleare has written for newspapers, magazines, Fortune 50 companies and AOL. Her award-winning ad agency represented the creators of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. She was the turtle Leonardo’s date for the world premiere of the second TMNT movie, and got to wear a black evening gown and sparkly shoes.

Gail lives on an 18th century farm in Massachusetts with her family and dogs, cats, chickens, black bears, blue herons, rushing streams and wide, windy skies. She’s into organic gardening and nature photography, and can often be found stalking wild creatures with a 300 mm lens.

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