Friday 27 December 2013

The Cottage at Glass Beach

Finished December 25
The Cottage at Glass Beach by Heather Barbieri

This novel is set on an island, Burke's Island, off the coast of Maine one summer. Nora Keane was born on the island, but left when she was a young child after her mother disappeared. Now the wife of the youngest attorney general in Massachusetts history, she is back to the island for the summer with her two daughters, taking refuge from the media onslaught back home after her husband's infidelity is uncovered.
Annie is seven, full of imagination and daring. Ella is twelve, sassy and already showing signs of coming teen rebellion. Nora finds herself full of grief, for her marriage, for her renewed sense of loss of her mother, and for all the time she missed with her aunt, who wrote the letter that brought her back home.
Nora's aunt Maire is the island midwife, a family tradition, and while living alone, tied tightly into island life. This is a life with a sense of the unknown, a life where generations have been tied to the sea for their livelihood. A community where legends aren't dismissed out of hand.
So, when a quiet fisherman washes ashore in an apparent shipwreck and Nora finds him, her aunt's suggestion that he is a selkie summoned by her tears doesn't seem that farfetched a possibility. And what did really happen to Nora's mother, did she leave of her own accord, or did something happen to her. As Nora gradually begins to figure out her own future, her daughters go on a dangerous adventure that will draw Nora's courage beyond what she imagined.
The selkie legend surfaces several times in this book, but never really releases its mystery. An interesting novel, but it didn't capture me entirely.

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