Anita Shreve has written some books I've loved - Fortune's Rocks, for instance. And who could forget The Pilot's Wife? Well blow me down with a feather if those aren't book one and book three of the Fortune's Rocks series, and here I stand with book two in my clingy little hands, and a long reading holiday ahead of me (with plenty to read already, mind you) and think this must be a sign.
It's early 1929 in New Hampshire, and Honora has just married Sexton Beecher. They've also purchased a house on the beach that needs a lot of attention. As does a newly married husband, Honora soon discovers. As the textile industry around them crumbles and falls, Sexton's previous errors of judgment in his job selling typewriters are uncovered, and the little community deals with the Great Depression, early labour uprisings, poverty, need and sickness and death.
The book is beautifully written, has a gorgeous setting, and some unforgettable characters. Here are some quotes:-
"Honora laid these flaws aside as one might overlook a small stain on a beautifully embroidered tablecloth one wanted to buy, only later to discover, when it was on the table and all the guests were seated around it, that the stain had become a beacon, while the beautiful embroidery lay hidden in everybody's laps."
"The only problem with looking for sea glass", Sexton says one day when he and Honora are walking along the beach, "is that you never look up. You never see the view. You never see the houses or the ocean because you're afraid you'll miss something in the sand."
Yay for well-stocked second-hand bookshops. They can brighten up the dreariest of mornings, and in this case, add an enormous pile of books to the luggage we carried about on a road trip, but also gave us many many more hours of reading pleasure. What's not to love?