The Cottage at Glass Beach 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.
"You can always start again," Kate Robinson's mother once told her, "all it takes is a new thread." Overwhelmed by heartbreak and loss, the struggling twenty-six-year-old fashion designer follows her mother's advice and flees to her ancestral homeland of Ireland, hoping to break free of old patterns and reinvent herself. She arrives on the west coast, in the seaside hamlet of Glenmara. In this charming, fading Gaelic village, Kate quickly develops a bond with members of the local lace-making society: Bernie, alone and yearning for a new purpose since the death of her beloved husband, John; Aileen, plagued by doubt, helplessly watching her teenage daughter grow distant; Moira, caught in a cycle of abuse and denial, stubbornly refusing help from those closest to her; Oona, in remission from breast cancer, secretly harboring misgivings about her marriage; Colleen, the leader of the group, worried about her fisherman husband, missing at sea. And outside this newfound circle is local artist Sullivan Deane, an enigmatic man trying to overcome a tragedy of his own. Under Glenmara's spell, Kate finds the inspiration that has eluded her, and soon she and the lace makers are creating a line of exquisite lingerie. In their skilled hands, flowers, Celtic dragons, nymphs, fish, saints, kings, and queens come to life, rendered with painterly skill. The circle also offers them something more-the strength to face their long-denied desires and fears. But not everyone welcomes Kate, and a series of unexpected events threatens to unravel everything the women have worked so hard for. . . .
"Riveting. "-Glamour "A commendable debut . . . entertaining and engaging. "-The Seattle Times "[Barbieri's] insights into family dynamics are solid and true. "-The Washington Post Book World "Reminiscent of Mona Simpson's novels, in the way that it sneaks up on you with its message of strength as a payoff for hardship . . . a thoughtful and thought-provoking study of family afflictions. "-January Magazine "Powerful. "-Seattle Post-Intelligencer All of Erin's life, her older sister has eclipsed her, stolen her boyfriends, and commanded the family's attention with one meteoric crisis or another. Meghan was always smarter, prettier, more daring and dynamic. As a child, she could charm her way out of any situation, usually leaving Erin to shoulder the blame for their various transgressions. But Meghan has been gone for years, and now Erin is eager to leave Butte behind her, too: to go east to art school or west to Los Angeles to become a jewelry designer-anywhere, so long as it's far from Butte, Montana. Then Meghan, a single mother with a six-year-old daughter and an infant, unexpectedly returns, again expecting Erin and their mother to solve her problems. But this time there are other people involved, no easy solution to those problems, and no one else to blame. Meghan, still beautiful and magnetic, is now addicted to men, danger, and drugs. She is the world's "most frequent flier. " Little Teensy and baby Si-Si are lonely and endangered. Teensy, especially, has been affected by her mother's neglect, and she clings to Erin, desperately craving the intimacy and affection that has been denied her. When Meghan's attempts to stay clean falter, the responsibility for the children becomes Erin's. But how much can she be expected to sacrifice for her nieces' well-being? Can she find fulfillment and happiness, even in Butte?
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