June 12, 2012
Book Review: The Cottage at Glass Beach
Title: The Cottage at Glass Beach
Author: Heather Barbieri
Book: Hardcover, 352 pages
Married to the youngest attorney general in Massachusetts state history, Nora Cunningham is a picture-perfect political wife and a doting mother. But her carefully constructed life falls to pieces when she, along with the rest of the world, learns of the infidelity of her husband, Malcolm.
Humiliated and hounded by the press, Nora packs up her daughters—Annie, seven; and Ella, twelve—and takes refuge 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 named 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 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 long-buried past.
When I saw this book, I immediately thought that it would be the perfect summer read. Not only does it have a cover that makes me want to get away to the beach, but the synopsis also sounded very promising. If you're looking for a romantic summer read, you won't find it here, but you will find a beautiful story about a woman trying to turn her life around and protect her family from things that haunt their every day existence.
Nora is lucky that her childhood cottage is available for them to stay the summer, getting away from the busy city life and reconnecting with her aunt whom she hasn't seen in years.
Just when you think the novel will drag with the tale of how they spent their summer laying by the sea, a stranger shipwrecks and changes their whole look on the summer. He brings with him mystery, protection, attraction and company that Nora desparately needs. A romance for Nora may not be the most appropriate thing given that she is there with her kids who miss their father very much and display anger for being separated.
One aspect of the story I love is the reconnection with her aunt, who is sweet and thoughtful and wants to take Nora on a journey into the past to tell her what her mother was like before she disappeared. She discovers things she never knew and comes across relics from her past. She also has to endure restless children who set out on their own adventure and leaves their family worried and scared.
Maybe some say it's not right to run away and hide when things are tough, but when you have children to protect and a husband that doesn't deserve your kindness, what can you do but get away? Nora did what she thought was best for her children and herself and spent the summer with ghosts of her past and experiences that will last a lifetime. I truly enjoyed this book and the adventure it took me on. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the publisher in order to create this review. The opinions expressed are of my own. Thank you to Trish at TLC Book Tours.
Posted by Scientific Housewife at 8:33 AM