Author: Eleanor Morse
Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: April 20, 2021
Book Description: A literary novel set on the coast of Maine during the 1960s, tracing the life of a family and its matriarch as they negotiate sharing a home.
Margreete’s Harbor begins with a fire: a fiercely-independent, thrice-widowed woman living on her own in a rambling house near the Maine coast forgets a hot pan on the stovetop, and nearly burns her place down.
When Margreete Bright calls her daughter Liddie to confess, Liddie realizes that her mother can no longer live alone. She, her husband Harry, and their children Eva and Bernie move from a settled life in Michigan across the country to Margreete’s isolated home, and begin a new life.
Margreete’s Harbor tells the story of ten years in the history of a family: a novel of small moments, intimate betrayals, arrivals and disappearances that coincide with America during the late 1950s through the turbulent 1960s. Liddie, a professional cellist, struggles to find space for her music in a marriage that increasingly confines her; Harry’s critical approach to the growing war in Vietnam endangers his new position as a high school history teacher; Bernie and Eva begin to find their own identities as young adults; and Margreete slowly descends into a private world of memories, even as she comes to find a larger purpose in them.
This beautiful novel—attuned to the seasons of nature, the internal dynamics of a family, and a nation torn by its contradicting ideals—reveals the largest meanings in the smallest and most secret moments of life. Readers of Elizabeth Strout, Alice Munro, and Anne Tyler will find themselves at home in Margreete’s Harbor.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Mini Review: Over the course of the 1950’s and ‘60’s you will meet Harry, Liddie, Bernie, Eva, and Gretchen. When we meet this family Liddie’s mother Margreete, has just burned her kitchen down. Liddie decides the best course of action is to move their family back to Maine to help care for her mother who has memory issues.
This is a very simple story for the most part of this family. Not everything is roses, but for the mostly this is about a typical family. What makes this story is the era that this book surround, from JFK’s and MLK’s assassination to the Vietnam War and whether you support it or not.
What I loved about this book, is that it really felt like it captured a family living in that era, while not perfect you can really tell this family loves each other immensely. I just wanted to spend more time with them and know where they all landed.
I fear this book will not get the hype it deserves. If you love a good family drama with lots of character development, then give this one a chance.
Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.