The Captain’s Daughter by Meg Mitchell Moore Book Review & Giveaway

If anyone would like to escape to a quaint9780385541251_0df2c.jpg, picturesque coastal town in Maine for a while, then this is the book for you. Having stayed on a lobster wharf in a tiny little Maine town myself, this brought back great memories, as well as the strong yearning to visit again. There’s nothing quite like the crisp breeze and refreshingly clean smell of the ocean in Maine.

The Captain’s Daughter by Meg Mitchell Moore (published by Doubleday) releases on July 18, 2017. Eliza Barnes grew up in Little Harbor, Maine, a lobstering village that she was very eager to leave as soon as possible. Now married to her college boyfriend with two daughters, Eliza spends her time with other country club wives, sharing gossip and commiserating on the frustrations and woes of their high-society daily lives. Despite the years she has made a life in Boston, Eliza often feels like she is on the outside of the group, looking in, and that she doesn’t really belong in her current situation. Her lavishly wealthy mother-in-law, Judith, causes Eliza to feel even more like an outsider.

It appears that Eliza and Rob are happily-married, but Rob spends most of his time supervising contractor job sites of multi-million dollar homes and daydreaming on his pride and joy, a boat which is the most expensive, fanciest one in the harbor.

Eliza is forced to take a break from her life as she knows it when she receives an out-of-the-blue call from her ex and first love, Russell, with news that her father had an accident while out checking lobster traps on the Joanie B.  Eliza’s mother passed away from cancer when she was very young, which left Charlie and her mother’s best friend, Val, to raise Eliza. A hard worker, and never one to complain, Charlie getting hurt and calling the Coast Guard for help has Eliza more than a little concerned for her father’s health. Eliza drops everything and heads to Little Harbor, thinking she’ll be there for a few days, no sweat. However, when she arrives and realizes what is really going on with Charlie, it’s not going to be so easy leaving “home” again. When she was a teen, she couldn’t wait to leave Little Harbor, where everyone knew her business, but now that she is back, she realizes many of the things she missed over the years. To complicate matters, she is back on Russell’s home turf, and they were not on the best of terms when she left town years ago. Already on an emotional rollercoaster with her father, Eliza’s feelings for Russell and the secret they share from the past are brought to the surface once again. Now she finds herself wondering what could have been, if she had made a different choice so many years ago. Did she make a mistake? Can she make things right after all these years?

This novel has a little bit of everything for readers to enjoy. Strong themes of family, parenting, marriage, friendship, love, and forgiveness blend together in a beautiful tale about loving, losing, and finding the strength to keep living. It’s a perfect summer novel for those wanting to read something set near the beach. The story is intriguing and the descriptions of the setting are at times breathtaking, transporting the reader right into the lobster boat with Eliza or in the coffee shop with young Mary. I highly recommend this novel by Meg Mitchell Moore and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Many thanks to Doubleday for allowing me to giveaway some hardcover copies of The Captain’s Daughter. To be entered to win one of 3 copies, post a comment below. Winners will be chosen at random on 7/31/17 and notified by email. Good luck!

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The Railwayman’s Wife by Ashley Hay

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The Railwayman’s Wife will be published April 5, 2016.

The story takes place in the town of Thirroul, in 1948, on the coast of New South Wales. The author’s vivid descriptions of the water, the library, the train station, and the beach really help the atmosphere of the book, allowing readers to imagine such beauty.

Anikka (Ani) Lachlan, wife to Mac Lachlan, a railway worker, and mother to 10 year old Isabel is happy to have made it through war times without any real devastation hitting her immediate family, when so many of the townspeople around her have become widowed. She spends her days caring for the family’s home and their daughter, listening to the distinctive, constant trains passing through, with an ear for that which will carry her husband home each day.

When Mac perishes in a devastating railway accident, Ani finds herself in a state of grief and disbelief, but knows she must continue on and provide for the family. She is offered a job as a librarian at the Railway Institute’s library, a job she is both nervous and excited about. When Mac was alive, she had dreamed of some sort of work to fill her days, but she knew her place in the family hierarchy was to be at home. Now, she is given a chance to step outside of her comfort zone to help others find literature for various reasons. Here, she forges unlikely friendships with two men. Roy McKinnon, a poet who was able to write during the harsh war, but since has been unable to come up with any words. Frank Draper, a young doctor, was in the first group of men to arrive as help to Nazi concentration and labor camps. Haunted with guilt at not being able to save so many people, he cannot find any happiness in his present occupation, even though the war is over. These men, friends since they were young, are both back in their hometown, sort of wandering through life aimlessly, trying to grasp a purpose for their futures. Enter Ani Lachlan, a beautiful, smart, quiet widow who brings a new warmth to the library. As Ani grows close to Roy and Frank, she finds herself slowly starting to swim away from the grief which was drowning her in the wake of Mac’s sudden passing.

There’s more to the plot than what I have mentioned of course, but I dare not give out any more details. I was captivated by the honesty of the characters, as well as the lyrical text. If you are looking for a fairy-tale ending, however, you won’t find it here. The ending is startling and tragic, but it fits with the mood of the story.