I had never read one of Luanne Rice's books, although she's had twenty-two New York Times bestsellers. Do you know why I reserved The Silver Boat? It's a Pamela Dorman Book. In describing Dorman's imprint, Penguin Group (USA)'s site says, "The imprint will focus on books of the kind Dorman has published throughout her career: fiction, especially debut fiction that is both well-written and accessible, novels of character that are propelled by strong storytelling and a rich emotional core." Beth Hoffman's Saving CeeCee Honeycutt was one of Dorman's first books when she returned to Penguin. And, I'll admit, I read for character. So, I picked up The Silver Boat, and had a hard time putting it down.
Dar McCarthy, the oldest of the three McCarthy sisters, never left Martha's Vineyard, their childhood home. But, when their mother died, her sisters Rory and Delia returned to help Dar pack it up, knowing they would be forced to sell. Only Dar, the artist and dreamer in the family, held out any hope they could save the house from taxes and a new owner. But, her dreams were based on her father's stories of Ireland, and a land grant that the McCarthy family received. Before he sailed away toward Ireland when Dar was twelve, she had walked the land with him, searching for the evidence of land ownership. But as much as he loved his wife and daughters, Michael McCarthy wanted to prove his worth. The master carpenter built a boat, and sailed across the Atlantic, arriving in Ireland to search for his birthright, then disappeared.
Although Michael's wife and daughters all missed him, it was Dar who was haunted by his loss. Her graphic novels were vivid stories of her alter ego, a ghost named Dulse whose father had disappeared. It was Dar who convinced her sisters to go with her to Ireland, in search of Michael McCarthy's story. That search would uncover truths that would change all three of the sisters.
Rice's characters are interesting, including the sisters' childhood friends, Andy and Harrison. I was fascinated, though, with Dar. If you fall in love with Dar, you'll love Luanne Rice's The Silver Boat. It's a story of faith, and love, friendship, sisters, change, and loss. It's the story of two islands, and the people who loved them. But, in the end, it's the story of Dar, the kind of spirit that never forgets.
Luanne Rice's website is http://www.luannerice.net/
The Silver Boat by Luanne Rice. Penguin Group (USA). ©2011. ISBN 9780670022502 (hardcover), 304p.
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