May 16, 2012

{Review + Giveaway} The Cottage at Glass Beach by Heather Barbieri

The Cottage At Glass Beach by Heather Barbieri
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

GENRE: Fiction
THEME: Myths/Family Drama
RECEIVED: Received for Review from HarperCollins
AUTHORS BLOG: Heather Barbieri Site

Married to the youngest attorney general in Massachusetts state history, forty-year-old Nora Cunningham is a picture perfect political wife and doting mother. But her carefully constructed life falls to pieces when she -along with the rest of the world - learns of her husband Malcolm's infidelity.

Humiliated, hurt, hounded by the press, Nora packs up her daughters, Annie, seven, and Ella, twelve, and takes refuge with her maternal aunt 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, 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 young 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 past

The cottage at Glass Beach was a little out of my norm of genres, but it had that kick of mythology and romance that I absolutely love. The major premises of this novel are really about family and healing from the heartbreak in the families past and present. This was my first novel by Heather Barbieri and definitely not my last.

Nora Cunningham has just been dealt with a major blow, her husband a well-known political figure has cheated on her. It’s been all over the news and she just has to get away. Taking her two daughters to the island where she was born, just trying to make it through the summer to heal and maybe mend her relationship. But the past of her mother’s disappearance and a man, who washes in with a storm, brings a whole lot more drama into Nora and her daughter’s lives.

Nora is a very strong woman whom is devoted to making sure her daughters don’t see what there father has done. But sadly has to deal with one daughter in particular who thinks her mother is at fault. I felt so bad for Nora; she has a good heart and really loves her daughters. Her husband is a selfish and horrible man, who really only thinks of what he wants and not his family. She slowly uncovers her mothers past and what kind of woman she really was.

Owen is a man who is all about mystery, washing up from a ship wreak and taking in my Nora’s aunt. He becomes someone who helps heal not only Nora, but also her Aunt whom is damaged a bit from her sister’s disappearance. He is kind and really tries to connect and help Nora. I absolutely loved his character and his connection to the myths of the island.

My only issues were that Nora didn’t explain more to her daughters. She was the victim and her daughters kept asking for their father who hurt their mother. Ella, Nora’s eldest daughter was cruel and extremely hurtful to her mother, I really didn’t like her at all and she pretty much angered me through the whole book. Also the ending fell flat and felt unfinished for me, in some ways people who see it as finished but for me I wanted more explanation. The readers do get a hint about Owen and what happened to Nora’s mother, but for me more would of been better.

Overall I enjoyed the mystery and the myth behind Nora’s family, both Owen and Nora’s aunt really pulled the story along and kept me reading. This is a story about a family that needs to heal and is trying to find that strength to help each other. This is the perfect summer read that you’d be able to relax and dig into a story, really making you pull for these characters to find that piece that’s missing in their lives.

This is an adult book that’s a perfect summer read, the island details make you wish you were there with the characters. Fans of Nancy Thayer of Heat Wave and Mary Alice Monroe of The Beach House will enjoy The Cottage at Glass Beach.

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1Print Copy
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  1. Nora does sound like a strong character, and I'm very intrigued by Owen! Great review. :)

  2. I am so ready for summer! I don't have anything in particular planned though.

  3. Stories about families can be really good and emotional especially when it deals with healing. Sounds like a great summer read.

    I have no official plans for summer which means anything goes :)

  4. I am more than ready for summer. I can't wait to go read at the beach!

  5. Planning on lots of good reading while sitting out by the pool :D