by Virginia Hume
Publication Date June 8, 2021
Published by St. Martin's Publishing Group
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Genres: Family Life, Fiction, General, Women
A sweeping debut novel about the generations of a family that spends summers in a seaside enclave on Maine's rocky coastline, for fans of Elin Hilderbrand, Beatriz Williams, and Sarah Blake.
1944: Maren Larsen is a blonde beauty from a small Minnesota farming town, determined to do her part to help the war effort––and to see the world beyond her family’s cornfields. As a cadet nurse at Walter Reed Medical Center, she’s swept off her feet by Dr. Oliver Demarest, a handsome Boston Brahmin whose family spends summers in an insular community on the rocky coast of Maine.
1970: As the nation grapples with the ongoing conflict in Vietnam, Oliver and Maren are grappling with their fiercely independent seventeen-year-old daughter, Annie, who has fallen for a young man they don’t approve of. Before the summer is over a terrible tragedy will strike the Demarests––and in the aftermath, Annie vows never to return to Haven Point.
2008: Annie’s daughter, Skye, has arrived in Maine to help scatter her mother’s ashes. Maren knows that her granddaughter inherited Annie’s view of Haven Point: despite the wild beauty and quaint customs, the regattas and clambakes and sing-alongs, she finds the place––and the people––snobbish and petty. But Maren also knows that Annie never told Skye the whole truth about what happened during that fateful summer.
Over seven decades of a changing America, through wars and storms, betrayals and reconciliations, Virginia Hume's Haven Point explores what it means to belong to a place, and to a family, which holds as tightly to its traditions as it does its secrets.
Haven Point by Virginia Hume, is an enjoyable, and interesting multi-generational family saga, starting in Washington DC, at the start of World War II. This is a story of love, family, secrets, and perceptions that will endear you to the characters as the book brings you into their lives.
Maren Larsen is a cadet nurse from Minnesota, serving at Walter Reed Medical Center when she meets Dr. Oliver Demarest and falls in love. Oliver’s family spends their summers at the exclusive community of Haven Point on the rocky coast of Maine. Maren spends almost every summer in Haven Point, with her three kids, and Oliver when he can get away from the city and his work. After a tragedy in 1970, at Haven Point, Oliver, and Maren’s daughter Annie, refuse to go back to the small insular community.
Skye, Annie’s daughter, and Maren’s granddaughter share her mother’s dislike of the community, deciding that the insular and snobbish ways of the community do not reflect her values, nor the values of her mother. When Skye returns to Haven Point, after her mother dies, to spread her ashes along with Maren, she learns the real secret as to why her mother disliked the community.
This book is beautifully written, and the characters are fascinating. Maren, Annie, and Skye are well developed, and all have complex emotional journeys through the telling of the story. The beautiful community of Haven Point on the coast of Maine is well described and is a stunning setting for most of the story. The book is a bit long and does drag a bit in the middle, as the setting for the story is set up. However, it’s worthwhile to get to the end, where the story ramps up and draws to an emotional and fulfilling ending.
I listened to the audiobook version of this story and enjoyed the narrator, Cassandra Campbell, and her delivery of the story.
I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy emotional family sagas.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.