05 April 2011

The Silver Boat


First Sentence: Dar McCarthy sat on the granite step of her mother's rambling, gray-shingled house, listening to the surf break beyond the pond.

Publisher’s Synopsis:  From the beloved New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice comes a heartwarming yet heart-wrenching portrait of three far-flung sisters who come home to Martha’s Vineyard one last time to say good-bye to the family beach house. Memories of their grandmother, mother, and their Irish father, who sailed away the year Dar, the oldest, turned twelve, rise up and expose the fine cracks in their family myth – especially when a cache of old letters reveals enough truth to send them back to their ancestral homeland.

Transplanted into the unfamiliar, each sister sees life, her heart, and her relationship to home in a new way. But how do they let go of a place that contains the complicated love of their imperfect family?

The novel is a season on Martha’s Vineyard; a mission to Ireland; a memorable cast of friends, including one wildly off-the-grid Zen genius; passionate love in the surf; and three very different sisters whose lives are filed with beauty, sorrow, and deep love they’d never been sure they could trust. A novel as timeless as the sea on which it’s set, and Luanne Rice at her very best, complete with her singular talent for capturing a family in all its flawed complexity. 

My Thoughts:  This is the first book by Luanne Rice that I’ve read, though I see her name all the time, and  have three of her other books in my To Be Read pile. So I was looking forward to finally experiencing her writing. Unfortunately, I was not overly impressed. I had trouble getting into the story, and found it sort of dragged and at times my attention tried to wander. With some authors, the writing just flows across the page, but that’s not the sense I got here, and I had to make myself concentrate on the words.

It was also pretty depressing, which, given the subject matter, is understandable – Dar and her sisters are packing up their childhood home in preparation of selling it after their mother’s death. Those scenes took me back to my own two sisters and I, along with our mother, packing up my grandmother’s belongings after she passed away. So I did relate a little. There is also a subplot about Dar's nephew Pete, trying to straighten out his life and stay sober, and those scenes kept me riveted. I have a daughter who is in recovery, so I could definitely relate there.

Once the sisters traveled to Ireland in search of answers about their father, who sailed away when they were kids and never returned, the story picked up for me. I would have liked to read more about their trip and their father.

I think part of my problem with the sisters was that when reading about them, I felt like they were young women, who have not experienced life yet and matured. I don’t remember their actual ages being mentioned, but I believe they were closer to forty than to twenty. They just didn't seem to act like it.

There are a few sex scenes, nothing graphic of course, between Dar and her boyfriend, Andy. I don’t have a problem with sex scenes, but I didn't feel they were particularly well written and could have been omitted without any effect on the overall story.

I will probably try this author again, as I know she is very popular and beloved by many readers. So I’m hoping that this particular book was just a miss for me and I’ll enjoy her others more.  I didn't hate the book, I just didn't love it. 

(I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.)

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