Margreete’s Harbor

I was invited by St. Martin’s Press to read the ARC of Margreete’s Harbor in exchange for an honest review. This saga by Eleanor Morse, is a commentary on multiple topics ranging from dealing with a feisty parent suffering from dementia to draft dodgers and the protests over the Vietnam War, to one character who questions God, a struggling marriage, a flood caused by greedy developers, a pedophile schoolteacher, and a teenager who begins to recognize he is gay.

Set in 1950s and ‘60s Maine, the author’s lovely prose describes the ocean scenery, the rough turbulent surf,  and the local flowers in a way that makes me want to visit the area. Against this beautiful backdrop, the aging Margreete almost burns down her home when she turns on the stove, then goes to take a shower. Her daughter, Liddie, and Liddie’s husband, Harry, decide they must move from Michigan to Maine to care for Margarete.

As a professional cellist, Liddie’s main joy in life is music. For Harry, it’s teaching history. Moving to the remote village of Burnt Harbor (which Margreete calls her own) is difficult both emotionally and career-wise for the two of them. When Harry criticizes the U.S. position on the war, his job is threatened.

It can be risky to deal with too many issues in one book, but Ms. Morse pulls it off beautifully. Margreete’s Harbor makes us examine our own beliefs and struggles, but without sounding condescending. It ended a bit more abruptly than I prefer, but I highly recommend this book to lovers of this genre.

What made The Grumpy Book Reviewer grumpy?
I am happy to say not a lot:

  • incorrect verb usage — bringing vs. taking; come vs. go, were vs. was;
  • two questions that need question marks instead of periods.


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