Synopses & Reviews
Heather Barbieri follows her acclaimed Gaelic-tinged drama The Lace Makers of Glenmara with the resonant tale of a woman who, in the wake of scandal, flees to a remote Maine island to reconnect with her past — and to come to terms with the childhood tragedy that has haunted her for a lifetime. Set on the rugged New England coast, Barbieri's The Cottage at Glass Beach strikes the perfect balance between high lit and mainstream womens fiction, infusing a potent and unforgettable love story with unforgettable characters that will remain with you long after the final chapter. Richly evocative, Barbieri's narrative of intimacy, struggle, and redemption will call out to readers of Joanne Harris, Alice Hoffman, and other modern masters of drama.
"In the enchanting world of Maine's Burke's Island, fanciful stories of captured selkies becoming dutiful wives and tears cried in the sea beckoning lovers to shore are gracefully woven into modern reality. Nora Cunningham, 40, was born on the island, but after her mother disappeared when she was five, Nora was whisked away to Boston by her father. Decades later, after Nora's husband's scandalous affair, her Aunt Maire invites Nora and her young daughters, Annie and Ella, back to the cottage on Glass Beach to find solace. Welcoming the slow pace of the island, Nora must learn to navigate her new place in life and rediscover the magic of the present while filling in the pieces of her past. At times plodding and mundane, Barbieri's newest (after The Lace Makers of Glenmara) is saved by the precociously wise Annie, the tenacious and endearing Aunt Maire, and the budding romance between Nora and a mysterious shipwrecked sailor. Agent: Emma Sweeney, Emma Sweeney Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Married to the youngest attorney general in Massachusetts state history, Nora Cunningham is a picture-perfect political wife and a doting mother. But her carefully constructed life falls to pieces when she, along with the rest of the world, learns of the infidelity of her husband, Malcolm.
Humiliated and hounded by the press, Nora packs up her daughters — Annie, seven; and Ella, twelve — and takes refuge 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 named 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 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 long-buried past.
About the Author
The author of two previous novels, The Lace Makers of Glenmara and Snow in July, Heather Barbieri has won international prizes for her short fiction. She lives in Seattle with her family.