Gracie McLaughlin is an advice columnist who finds it difficult to live by the advice she gives. Within Arm’s Reach follows three generations of the McLaughlins, an Irish Catholic family who is jarred into crisis by Gracie’s unexpected pregnancy. This lyrical first novel is told through six different points of view: the unmarried Gracie, her sister Lila, their parents, their matriarchal grandmother, and a family outsider with a curious connection. As the McLaughlins respond to the profound change in Gracie’s life, their own memories and personal stories begin to emerge.
Ann Napolitano creates a family quilt of sorts, each person’s life and actions closely woven throughout the fabric of the past, present, and future. Within Arm’s Reach is a rich and deeply satisfying narrative of guilt, love, betrayal, and the ultimate loyalty—that of blood.