Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Review: The Cottage at Glass Beach

Nora Keane has a troubled past and a troubled present. Her mother disappeared when Nora was five, and her marriage has been rocked by an affair. To get away from the scandal of her husband's affair, Nora packs up her two daughters and retreats to the small Maine Island where she was born. At the island Nora tries to sort out her marriage and find out what, exactly, happened to her mother.

The island is deeply steeped in Celtic mythology, and residents believe in the magical qualities of the sea. They believe that the sea brings creatures like selkies to aid mortals, and certainly some of the characters on the island have other-worldly qualities. This book is hardly fantasy, but it deals with how mythology functions in people's lives. These beliefs are particularly salient on a small island reliant on a tempestuous ocean for its safety and its livelihood.

Though Nora has clearly suffered, she is not always an especially likable character. She doesn't seem to take her older daughter's feelings about her home and father very seriously. I also found the resolution of the final series of events to be entirely unbelievable. In sum, not a bad book, and definitely well-suited to summer reading.

Heather Barbieri, The Cottage at Glass Beach (Harper Perennial, 2012) ISBN: 0062107976 

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