JULIE LAWSON TIMMER grew up in Stratford, Ontario, Canada and graduated from McMaster University before earning a law degree from Southern Methodist University. By turns, she is a writer, lawyer, mom/stepmom, and dreadful cook. Her first novel, Five Days Left, received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal, and her second novel, Untethered, was praised by Kirkus Reviews as, “[A] thoughtfully written and ultimately uplifting celebration of families that are not bound by blood or by law but by love.”

Timmer now resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband, their children, and two fairly unruly dogs.





A Novel

Lake Union Publishing – August 1, 2017

Critically acclaimed author Julie Lawson Timmer returns with a tale of how community can heal the brokenness in all of us.

Markie, a fortysomething divorcée who has suffered a humiliating and very public fall from marital, financial, and professional grace, moves, along with her teenage son, Jesse, to a new town, hoping to lick her wounds in private. But Markie and Jesse are unable to escape the attention of their new neighbor Mrs. Saint, an irascible, elderly New European woman who takes it upon herself, along with her ragtag group of “defectives,” to identify and fix the flaws in those around her, whether they want her to or not.

What Markie doesn’t realize is that Mrs. Saint has big plans for the divorcée’s broken spirit. Soon, the quirky yet endearing woman recruits Markie to join her eccentric community, a world where both hidden truths and hope unite them. But when Mrs. Saint’s own secrets threaten to unravel their fragile web of healing, it’s up to Markie to mend these wounds and usher in a new era for the “defectives”—one full of second chances and happiness.



“Another winner from the very talented Julie Lawson Timmer. Fans of Matthew Quick’s The Silver Linings Playbook will devour this sweet, surprising story.”—Sarah Pekkanen, internationally bestselling author of The Perfect Neighbors

“Warm, witty, and with the most satisfying ending I’ve read in years, Mrs. Saint and the Defectives is absolutely delightful. This novel won’t just keep you turning the pages; it will inspire you to be a better person.“—Camille Pagán, bestselling author of Life and Other Near-Death Experiences

“I savored every page of this delicious novel. Charming and poignant, funny and wise, Mrs. Saint and the Defectives is perfect for fans of Fredrik Backman and Anne Tyler.”—Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List and Sweet Forgiveness

“An uplifting journey…”—Kirkus Reviews





G.P. Putnam’s Sons – June 7, 2016

When Char Hawthorn’s husband dies unexpectedly, she is left questioning everything she once knew to be true: from the cozy small town life they built together to her relationship with her stepdaughter, who is suddenly not bound to Char in any real way. Untethered explores what bonds truly form a family and how, sometimes, love knows no bounds.

Char Hawthorn, college professor, wife and stepmother to a spirited fifteen-year-old daughter, loves her family and the joyful rhythms of work and parenting. But when her husband dies in a car accident, the “step” in Char’s title suddenly matters a great deal. In the eyes of the law, all rights to daughter Allie belong to Lindy, Allie’s self-absorbed biological mother, who wants to girl to move to her home in California.

While Allie begins to struggle in school and tensions mount between her and Char, Allie’s connection to young Morgan, a ten-year-old-girl she tutors, seems to keep her grounded. But then Morgan, who was adopted out of foster care, suddenly disappears, and Char is left to wonder about a possible future without Allie and what to do about Morgan, a child caught up in a terrible crack in the system.


USA Best Book Award winner

“Harper Lee famously wrote that you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. In Untethered, Julie Lawson Timmer makes mincemeat of this old chestnut, proving that a modern family can indeed consist of people who find their own way to each other, however circuitously. The pulse of the story is in the journey, and the triumph is in the unexpectedness of the destination. If you’re inclined to gently strong-arm your book club, Timmer’s is a poignant page-turner worth going to the mat for.”—Elisabeth Egan, author of A Window Opens

“[A] thoughtfully written and ultimately uplifting celebration of families that are not bound by blood or by law but by love.“—Kirkus Reviews



A Novel

Putnam – September 9, 2014

Destined to be a book club favorite, a heart-wrenching debut about two people who must decide how much they’re willing to sacrifice for love.

Mara Nichols is a successful lawyer, devoted wife, and adoptive mother who has received a life-shattering diagnosis. Scott Coffman, a middle school teacher, has been fostering an eight-year-old boy while the boy’s mother serves a jail sentence. Scott and Mara both have five days left until they must say good-bye to the ones they love the most.

Through their stories, Julie Lawson Timmer explores the individual limits of human endurance and the power of relationships, and shows that sometimes loving someone means holding on, and sometimes it means letting go.


“Timmer’s novel is a heartbreaker, but it is also a stirring debut.”—BookPage

“Timmer’s emotional debut should come with a box of tissues….The characters are so affecting it’s tough to make it to Day 5. An Authentic and powerful story.“—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Told in the alternating voices of Mara and Scott, Timmer’s debut novel packs a powerful punch. Absorbing, deeply affecting, and ultimately uplifting, it heralds the arrival of an author to watch.”—Library Journal (starred review)

“This starkly intimate epistolary novel …dissects the experiences of losing hope and finding strength… Timmer makes a powerful debut.”—Publishers Weekly

“Like Joshilyn Jackson, Timmer, in her impressive debut novel, shows a facility for creating authentic characters dealing with heart-wrenching dilemmas… A compelling read and a good choice for book clubs.”—Booklist

“A beautifully drawn study of what is at risk when you lose control of your own life. Unique, gripping, and viscerally moving—this impressive debut novel heralds the arrival of an extremely talented writer.” —Jodi Picoult, New York Times–bestselling author of The Storyteller and The Lone Wolf

Five Days Left is a heart-wrenching drama about a world in which there are no easy answers. With an unflinching gaze, Julie Lawson Timmer explores what makes a family, what happens when bonds (familial and otherwise) are tested, and the relationships we forge that change our lives. This novel feels as true as life.”—Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Orphan Train

“Julie Lawson Timmer’s novel pulls no punches. It takes no prisoners. It is pure and honest. I sat down with this book after dinner, and, when I looked up, it was 2 a.m. and I had turned the last page. My only regret was that there weren’t a hundred more pages; Five Days Left is that compelling.”—Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times–bestselling author, The Deep End of the Ocean

“An affecting, heart-wrenching tale of one woman’s descent into a progressive, fatal illness, and how she decides to take her fate into her own hands. Timmer handles delicate, controversial issues with deep insight into human nature, and ultimately renders a story that will stay with readers long after they reach the last page.”—Amy Hatvany, author of Heart Like Mine, Best Kept Secret, Outside the Lines, and The Language of Sisters

“A stunning debut about the impossible things we do for love. Heartbreaking yet uplifting, Five Days Left is a book I won’t ever forget.”—Sarah Pekkanen, internationally bestselling author of Catching Air, The Opposite of Me, Skipping a Beat, These Girls, and The Best of Us

“In her beautiful, brave debut, Julie Lawson Timmer examines the limits of love and resilience—as well as the heartbreaking decisions parents must sometimes make. With a fresh revelation on every page, this novel is a gift.”—Camille Noe Pagán, author of The Art of Forgetting

“A lesson in compassion and grace. An emotional journey that left me weeping, humbled, and ultimately hopeful.”—Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List

Jessica SpiveyT