paperback now available!

The Other Mother 

  • WINNER — Stonewall Book Award – Barbara Gittings Literature Award for Fiction (2023)
  • Finalist — Publishing Triangle Award (2023)
  • A TIME Best Book of the Month
  • A Good Morning America #GMA Buzz Pick
  • A Book Riot Best Book of 2022 So Far…
  • An Amazon Best Book of 2022

“Gripping.” — Angela Haupt, A TIME Best Book of the Month

“Riveting…Harper skillfully layers the narrative with accounts from the various characters’ points of view, capturing palpable emotions and the fissures running through their fraught relations, all while handling themes of motherhood, race, and sexuality with aplomb. This adds up to a heartrending story.” — Publishers Weekly

“Harper has created a novel about longing, loss, kinship, talent, queerness, and what makes a family… A novel about the families we inherit and the ones we make for ourselves.” — Kirkus Reviews

“The Other Mother breaks every rule of traditional world-building and creates the kind of full hearted literary saga we are lucky to get once every generation. Dazzling.”

Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir and Long Division

“In her gripping novel, The Other Mother, Rachel M. Harper challenges outdated ideals of family and motherhood, drawing us into a world where women choose themselves first—and we witness the beautiful avalanche of loss and heartbreaking erasure that follows. This book is for anyone who has lived in the shadow of another, and wanted something more. I couldn’t put it down.” 

Jodie Patterson, author of The Bold World: A Memoir of Family and Transformation

“A riveting, suspenseful, tender, kaleidoscopic rewriting of the American family—formed as much by blood and memory as by desire, will, and even deception. In Rachel M. Harper’s masterful hands, ideas of family are exploded and put back together in an epic story as compelling as it is necessary. Harper has written a modern American saga that defines what we are and who we might become. This is an exquisite novel.”

Danzy Senna, Whiting Writers Award-winning author of Caucasia and New People

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With legendary voice actors January LaVoy and William DeMeritt as dual narrators

This Side of Providence

This Side of Providence

“Luminous, heartbreaking, and profoundly redemptive, This Side of Providence is a hauntingly beautiful novel about the unbreakable bonds between a wounded mother and the children she tries to love. In original, poetic, and surprisingly operatic prose, Harper brings her distinct blend of clarity and compassion to these wonderful pages, echoing the structural ingenuity of William Faulkner and the passionate intelligence of James Baldwin. A must read.”
Rebecca Walker, author of Adé, A Love Story

This Side of Providence is so beautifully written and incredibly compelling that I found myself not wanting to do anything but sit inside this world until everyone turned out all right. Rachel Harper is a stunning writer.”
Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award-winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming and Another Brooklyn

“A truly remarkable novel. Rachel Harper writes with jagged grace and unflinching courage—a willingness to confront fear and pain through characters beautifully alive with feeling, truth, and compassion.”
Scott O’Connor, author of Half World and Untouchable

This Side of Providence is sung by many voices, some achingly youthful, some wise, some wizened, who sing of desperation, who sing for compassion, who sing from the margins the long song of family. Harper’s great achievement is that of choirmaster, keeping the arrangement of voices honest and clear, and somehow pitched toward love.”
Justin Torres, author of We the Animals

“Survival, forgiveness, belonging, addiction: Rachel Harper guides readers along the knife-edge lives of her characters with silken pacing and muscular prose. With deep empathy and intellect, Harper paints a universal story of honest, imperfect love and hard-won family. This gorgeous book balances the gritty with the good-hearted, reminding us that only what is dark and difficult can give rise to redemption.”
Neela Vaswani, author of You Have Given Me a Country

“Here is a novel that can save lives. Harper holds no bars about the dangers of addiction and poverty, yet offers hope for the near-miraculous ability of courageous young people, guided by dedicated teachers, to survive and flourish as unique and valuable individuals. Readers will root not only for struggling children, but also feel compassion for the flawed adults whose lives are spinning out of control. With unflinching honesty and unlimited love, Harper’s This Side of Providence tells it like it is in many of our cities, and how it can be better. I’ll never forget these characters or this novel.”
Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab’s Wife

“Rachel Harper is a channeler of voices, an inhabiter of bodies, an invoker of spirits. In this exquisitely braided narrative, Harper trusts her characters to tell their own stories, and grants each of them their own broken poetry. A stunning achievement—I did not want this novel to end, but when it did, I felt a rush of cathartic joy.”
K. L. Cook, author of The Girl from Charnelle and Love Songs for the Quarantined

This Side of Providence is an ambitious, beautifully written, heartfelt novel that demonstrates the centrality of family under the most arduous of conditions.”
Jervey Tervalon, author of Understand This and Monster’s Chef

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Brass Ankle Blues

Brass Ankle Blues

“Brass Ankle Blues is a beautiful debut… full of humanity and elusive shocks of recognition. It gracefully explores the fissures and possibilities that all young selves experience. This is a marvelous novel.”
Providence Journal

“Rachel Harper’s fierce debut is a tender, passionate, and moving read. A clear window onto a world rarely seen in contemporary fiction.”
Shay Youngblood, author of Soul Kiss

“I am very impressed by this first novel. Simple, clean and direct—my credo for good writing. She has an excellent eye for the most minute details. I hope many people will get a chance to read this book.”
Ernest J. Gaines, author of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and A Lesson Before Dying

“I enjoyed reading this remarkable first novel. A contemporary novel in the great traditions: American landscape, American character, American heroine. Intelligent, eloquent, lyrical… all the elements of fine writing.”
Gayl Jones, author of Corregidora and The Healing

“With a deftness of touch that can arise only from hard-won wisdom, Brass Ankle Blues transfigures the journey from innocence to experience in pure lyric tenderness. This is an extraordinary novel.”
Ronald A. Sharp, Former Editor, The Kenyon Review

“Rachel M. Harper’s fine novel… is told with a discerning eye for detail and wry humor.”
Curtis Harnack, author of We Have All Gone Away and Love and Be Silent

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Simon & Schuster