Book Review: Maine

September 26, 2011 book review 4

I have to say this novel by J. Courtney Sullivan was my favorite of the summer, and perhaps the entire year.
Maine is a sweeping novel, digging into the history of one family and the secrets each member keeps and how their relationships are formed and strained.
The story of the Kellehers begins with the matriarch, Alice, and the reader is taken back to her youth, her siblings and her much beloved sister, and the secret she can never forgive herself for.  We learn of her early marriage to Daniel and their children, and then we learn more about Kathleen, her daughter, Ann Marie her daughter in law and Maggie, Kathleen’s daughter.  Each of these women love and yet harbor grudges against each other, and during one summer at the beloved summer beach house in Maine the women are thrown together to face some of their problems.

As the story moves us in the past and current lives of our four Kelleher women we learn of their loves and losses and dreams. The reader is taken seamlessly along this journey, Sullivan weaves her words and this tale so very well.  I loved how I could feel the pain and passion in each woman’s story.  I felt so much love and compassion for each woman, at some places being moved to tears.

The influence and devotion to the Catholic church by Alice is carried over into all her relationships.  It reminded me so much of my mother in law, Pauline, and how her faith in the church was all encompassing, Sullivan really nailed this characterization.

I loved Maine, and I gave it a 5 out of 5 stars, I recommend it to everyone.  I’ve recently ordered Commencement, Courtney Sullivan’s  first book, I look forward to reading more by her, she is a wonderful storyteller.

4 Responses to “Book Review: Maine”

  1. Zibilee

    I really liked your review, and it has made me think because there are some other readers that I know that didn’t like this book as much. I think there might have been some issues with the characterizations. I am glad to see that you loved it though, and that you gave it such a great review! Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Jenny

    I haven’t read Commencement yet but was interested in it and didn’t realize this was the same author. Sounds like she does a good job describing the issues each of the women has and putting them all together. That is what has interested me from your review, and I hadn’t really been that interested in this book before!

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