"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

25 May 2014

2014 Book Review #20: The Cottage at Glass Beach

Do you like a fast paced book and an easy one to read?

This is it!

This is a perfect "beach read". I started it last week and finished it on our little weekend  retreat that my husband and I took.  We got home earlier this evening and I'm just sitting down now to write the review after a fun and refreshing weekend away.  


Nora Cunningham is married to the youngest attorney general in MA.  They have 2 daughters, Ella (age 12) and Annie (age 7).  She has made a picture perfect life for her self, the children and her political husband.  They have a beautiful home in a wealthy section of Boston.

And then one day he confesses to an affair and suddenly their family life is in the spotlight even more......the press is too much to bear so Nora takes the girls up to her birthplace in Maine.  It is Burke's Island, settled by Irish immigrants and it's known as a place of magic and superstition, where wishes and dreams sometimes come true.

Nora has not been back to this island community since she was 5 years old.  That was the year her mother disappeared.  At sea.  Her father took her to the city of Boston and raised her.  Her aunt Maira has recently written to her to come for a visit so Nora feels that this is the perfect time to head north with her 2 daughters.

One night, while sitting alone on the beach, her tears begin to flow.  Days later she meets a fisherman named Owen Kavanaugh who was shipwrecked and washed up on shore.  Her aunt's friend, Polly, thinks he is a selkie---a mythical being from island legends---who has been summoned by Nora's grief.

Nora begins to enjoy her time on the island and getting to know Aunt Maire, Polly, and Owen as well as other island folk.  Most people on the island remember the tragedy from when Maeve (Nora's mother) disappeared.  Nora only recalls certain events.....will she learn the truth about her mother?


This was a remarkable, moving book about courage, and the special bond between mothers and daughters.  It speaks about the sea and all its mysteries.  I loved all the descriptive scenes and could almost smell the tang of the salt air and the pungent scent of seaweed.

I loved the characters Nora and Maire.  Mauve, when the author went back a little bit in time, drove me crazy.  I didn't like her.  Ella is portrayed as a sullen tween who really tries to get her mom and dad back together, not understanding that isn't really what Nora desires.  Annie is a delightful and very wise little girl.  Both characters are endearing but I did prefer Annie to Ella.

The ending was poignant if a bit odd......was Maeve really alive when the girls had their boating accident or was it her "spirit?"

Read the book and decide for your self!

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 17 and older.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 10.


Deb said...

This sounds like a book I would enjoy. Thanks for the review. I am going to look for it!

Susanne said...

Interesting. I've picked up a couple of beachy looking summer reads for this summer too. Hopefully I'll like them as much as you liked this one.