9.26.2022

finished reading

Now, this is a beach read!  Set on the coast of Maine, the atmosphere is spot on.  It's the story of family, illness, and tradition.  Every year Louisa and her family spend summertime at her family's home on the coast of Maine.  This year, Louisa is on a sabbatical from her history professor gig at NYU to write a book that's not happening as steadily as she expected.  Her three children are all dealing with kid issues like boredom, first love, and too much sibling time.  Her husband's start-up podcast company is taking all of his time and causing him to be mostly absent.  Louisa expects this retreat to Maine to solve all her problems but reality has other plans.

The narrative shifts perspectives between Louisa, her children Mattie, Abigail, and Claire, the housekeeper Pauline, and the mysterious newcomer Kristie.  I will say I particularly enjoyed the chapters from the kids' perspectives.  Their take on the adult situations was well-done.

This felt like a coming-of-age novel.  It felt like all of the characters grew and evolved as they ultimately rediscovered the power of forgiveness and the importance of family.

From the publisher:
Louisa has come to her parents' house in Maine this summer with all three of her kids, a barely written book, and a trunkful of resentment. Left behind in Brooklyn is her husband, who has promised that after this final round of fundraising at his startup he will once again pick up his share of the household responsibilities. Louisa is hoping that the crisp breeze off Penobscot Bay will blow away the irritation she is feeling with her life choices and replace it with enthusiasm for both her family and her work.

But all isn't well in Maine. Louisa's father, a retired judge and pillar of the community, is suffering from Alzheimer's. Louisa's mother is alternately pretending everything is fine and not pretending at all. And one of Louisa's children happens upon a very confusing and heartfelt letter referring to something Louisa doesn't think her father could possibly have done.

Louisa's not the only one searching for something in Maine this summer. Kristie took the Greyhound bus from Pennsylvania with one small suitcase, $761, and a lot of baggage. She's got a past she's trying to outrun, a secret she's trying to unpack, and a new boyfriend who's so impossibly kind she can't figure out what she did to deserve him. But she can't keep her various lives from colliding forever.

As June turns to July turns to August, secrets will be unearthed, betrayals will come to light, and both Louisa and Kristie will ask themselves what they are owed and what they owe others.

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