"Deborah Reed’s novel, Carry Yourself Back to Me, marries gorgeous and wise prose with a can’t-help-but-read-one-more- chapter plot. In it, Reed weaves a complex story of love and longing that’s mysterious, intelligent and full of heart. She had me from page one."

— Cheryl Strayed, Author of Wild

Famed alt-country artist Annie Walsh has more than enough reason to sing her version of the blues, including a broken heart, a stalled career, and a troubled family. Annie seeks refuge from an upended love affair with her producer, Owen Pettybone, by sequestering herself at home with her old dog Detour, surrounded by a lush Florida tangelo grove. There, she spends her days furiously sanding down the house’s every veneer in a vain attempt at erasing the painful memory of the love she lost.

Soon, however, this quiet, small town existence—far from recording studios, ardent fans, and affairs of the heart—comes crashing down around her. A violent murder connected to her brother Calder threatens to tear her family apart and forces Annie to shore up her loyalties and uproot profound disappointments from her distant past. The evidence stacks against Calder, compounded by his lifelong affliction with Tourette syndrome that causes some in the community to cast aspersions on the soundness of his mind. 

As the circumstances converge to challenge lifetime ties and forge unexpected new bonds, this soulful, stirring novel shifts its narrative from an imperiled and ever-changing present, where each hour brings an unforeseen and unwelcome piece of news, to the poignant childhood days of first allegiances and life-altering loss. Like a fine and forlorn love ballad, the gifted, conflicted Annie lulls the reader into a journey through love and loss that mines the mysterious, and, at times, paradoxical rhythms of the human heart.  Carry Yourself Back to Me cultivates an always tender, sometimes tart, portrait of one family’s regret and redemption. Inflected with melancholy and redeemed by melody, this deeply affecting novel is certain to strike a resonant chord with music fans and lovers of fine fiction.

This ain’t no simple love story. It’s more like the story of our lives, rendered up close and very personal. It’s also remarkably akin to how our lives have been put to song by traditional American troubadours, primarily of the Southern variety. That’s not to say Reed’s forlorn tale is the mere literary equivalent of a country song, mind you. But it isn’t very difficult to imagine Patsy Cline or June Carter Cash voicing the sentiments that make this such a compelling debut. - Sun Post Weekly