The author of The Lace Makers of Glenmara returns with the enthralling tale of a woman who, in the wake of scandal, flees to a remote island off the coast of Maine to reconnect with her past-and come to terms with the childhood tragedy that still haunts her
Married to the youngest attorney general in Massachusetts state history, forty-year-old Nora Cunningham is a picture perfect political wife and doting mother. But her carefully constructed life falls to pieces when she -along with the rest of the world - learns of her husband Malcolm's infidelity.
Humiliated, hurt, hounded by the press, Nora packs up her daughters, Annie, seven, and Ella, twelve, and takes refuge with her maternal aunt on Burke's Island, a craggy spit of land off the coast of Maine. Settled by Irish immigrants, the island is a place where superstition and magic are carried on the ocean winds, and wishes and dreams wash ashore with the changing tides.
Nora spent her first five years on the island but has not been back to the remote community for decades-not since that long ago summer when her mother disappeared at sea. One night, while sitting alone on Glass Beach, below the cottage where she spent her childhood, Nora succumbs to grief, her tears flowing into the ocean. Days later she finds an enigmatic fisherman, Owen Kavanagh, shipwrecked on the rocks nearby. Is he, as her aunt's friend Polly suggests, a selkie, a mythical being of island legend, summoned by her heartbreak; or simply someone who, like Nora, is trying to find his way in the wake of his own personal struggles?
Just as she begins to regain her balance, her young daughters embark on a reckless odyssey of their own, a journey that will force Nora to find the courage to chart her own course-and finally face the truth about her marriage, her mother, and her past.
About the Author
The author of two previous novels, The Lace Makers of Glenmara and Snow in July, Heather Barbieri has won international prizes for her short fiction. She lives in Seattle with her family.
Nora has taken her two girls and takes refuge on an island off the Massachusetts' coast in her aunt's cottage after she reads about her politician husband's infidelities in the paper. Her mother's disappearance years ago left a rift between her and her aunt that she is now trying to mend. The two girls find magic at the beach even though they don't fully understand what exactly happened between their parents. When she meets Owen, a fisherman who has apparently survived a ship wreck, she find a bit of comfort in this man's sudden appearance. There are rumors that he is a Selkie, summoned by her tears of grief. This paranormal element gives a new twist to my favorite genre of beach reads which is perfect for this time of year.
My heart broke for Nora, seeing how her life is all wrapped up in grief with her mother's disappearance and her husband's indiscretions. I somewhat guessed where all this would take her and her daughters but the journey of words was well worth the trip. I love books with a little bit of a magical element that can keep you guessing all the way until the end, but there were a few strings left untied here. I hope that this opens the way for a follow up to find out exactly the mystery behind her mother's disappearance. Annie and Ella brought a true bit of whimsy with their story with how kids believe so truly in the mystical. If you enjoy Cathy Lamb or Sarah Addison Allen, you will be sure to enjoy this one.
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