Author: Mary-Beth Hughes
Genre: Short Stories/General Fiction
Publisher: Grove Press
Publication Date: January 12, 2021
Book Description: A stunning story cycle from bestsellingNew York TimesNotable author, Mary-Beth Hughes, The Ocean House explores the fractured lives of families from a beach town on the Jersey Shore as the consequences of loss pass through generations.
Faith, a mother of two young children, Cece and Connor, is in need of summer childcare. As a member of a staid old beach club in her town and a self-made business consultant, she is appalled when her brother-in-law sends her an unruly, ill-mannered teenager named Lee-Ann who appears more like a wayward child than competent help. What begins as a promising start to a redemptive relationship between the two ends in a tragedy that lands Faith in a treatment facility, leveled by trauma.
Years later, Faith and her mother, Irene, visit Cece in college. A fresh-faced student with a shaved head and new boyfriend, Cece has become a force of her own. Meanwhile, her grandmother, Irene, is in the early stages of dementia. She slips in and out of clarity, telling lucid tales of her own troubled youth. Faith dismisses her mother’s stories as bids for attention. The three generations of women hover between wishful innocence and a more knowing resilience against the cruelty that hidden secrets of the past propel into the present.
Including stories from an array of characters orbiting Faith’s family, The Ocean House weaves an exquisite world of complicated family tales on the Jersey Shore. In ever-tender and elegant prose, Mary-Beth Hughes masterfully explores the emotional consequences of loss and the saving graces of love.
Rating: 3 stars
Review: In the same vain as the infamous Olive Kitteridge, Mary-Beth Hughes gives us a short story collection that centers around one town and the people who live there.
The setting, the Jersey Shore, these stories predominantly follow Faith and her family through many decades. Intertwined we meet many other characters that have their own voices.
Like many short story collections, I feel like I am on the fence with them. I love some of the stories and others are just so-so. There is enough to keep the reader interested, just beware, there a few you have to slog through.
Thank you NetGalley and Grove Press for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.