Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Review: The Cottage at Glass Beach

The Cottage At Glass BeachTitle: The Cottage at Glass Beach
Author: Heather Barbieri
Series: N/A
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: May 15,2012
Format: ARC
Pages: 302
Dates Read: March 13-16 2016
Source: Won via Goodreads First Reads
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My Rating: 3 Stars
Snippet That Stuck With Me:

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.

Melissa's Musings:

This book has an easy, rolling quality to it, like the waves coming in with the tide.

It's easy to get pulled in to the world, and to lose yourself in the story as Nora steals away with her daughters, Ella and Annie, to Burke's island to try and protect them from the scandal of her husband, the youngest attorney general in their state.

The island and the inhabitants were probably my favorite part of the book as a whole. There are a lot of interesting characters here, and the fact that there is a lot of Irish history tied to the island gave the supporting characters easygoing, likeable qualities. The island itself is described beautifully, and is easy to picture as you read.

The story moves back and forth, telling bits of the present day, intermixed with pieces of Nora's past. I liked the sequencing, but I honestly wish there had been more buildup of Nora's past. I felt that there was too much kept behind closed doors, so that at the end, you were left dangling, trying to believe too much of what happens in the last chapter is Noras story coming full circle through her daughters, when you don't get enough of a sense of her story in the first place. 

There are elements of magic to the story, but I don't feel that they resolve themselves, so you're left trying to fill in the blanks yourself.

I am curious to know what happens to these characters, but this story isn't really the kind that lends itself to a sequel, unfortunately.

Have you read this? Any other beach reads that you would recommend?


kimbacaffeinate said...

I love the setting and it sounds good despite needing the backstory sooner to fully appreciate the ending. Lovely review

Melissas Midnight Musings said...

Thanks Kimba!