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Margreete's Harbor: A Novel by Eleanor…

Margreete's Harbor: A Novel (edition 2021)

by Eleanor Morse (Author)

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279689,329 (4)4
Title:Margreete's Harbor: A Novel
Authors:Eleanor Morse (Author)
Info:St. Martin's Press (2021), 384 pages
Collections:Stored, Your library

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Margreete's Harbor by Eleanor Morse


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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

Margreete slowly descends into a private world of memories, even as she comes to find a larger purpose in them.

Thank you, Goodreads and St. Martin's Pres for a chance to read Margreete’s Harbor!!

This was truly a heartbreaking and absolutely lovely story. Eleanor Morse does a wonderful job showing us the family values the trials and dedication that a family should have. This book touches on a little bit everything. Even though it is based on the 1960s it shows what families are going through today war, sexuality, trust and sacrifice. This really was a lovely book. Beautifully written. You can tell that the author truly cared about her characters. This book just draws you in, grabs you and holds you till the very end. Happy reading everyone!

You look like an angel

Walk like an angel

Talk like an angel

But I got wise

You’re the devil in disguise. ( )
  jacashjoh | Jun 8, 2021 |
This novel tells the story of a family over a 10 year span of time. Originally Liddie and Harry take up residence with Liddie's mom, Margreete, when she can no longer live on her own and take care of herself. The story evolves into a family timeline told from the viewpoints of each family member. The timeline takes the family through many crises and events, but they come through them all and become somewhat wiser for it, as is true for many of us.

The novel was just okay,and seemed boring in parts. I disliked the way in which Margreete just became a minor character, sidelined by the events buffeting the family.

I received this novel from the publisher and from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own. ( )
  LadyoftheLodge | Jun 2, 2021 |
Margreete’s Harbor by Eleanor Morse tells the story of ten years in the life of a family. Margreete, an elderly woman with decreasing faculties, almost burns down her house by accident. She does not want to leave her home on the coast of Maine so it is up to her adult daughter Liddie to move her family from Michigan to Margreete’s home. Her husband Harry and children Eva and Bernie will have to adapt to an entire new life. From the fifties to the sixties, this family will face many problems. These are turbulent times but each person will grow close to Margreete as she becomes an important part of their lives. This is a story of ordinary, everyday life told in beautiful prose. It is a true pleasure to read Margreete’s Harbor. The author, Eleanor Morse, tells a simple story in an extraordinary way. This family drama is definitely worth a read. Highly recommended. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press, NetGalley and the author for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  carole888fort | May 26, 2021 |
A family story set in Maine the story revolves around a couple and their two children who return to Maine to stay with the wife’s mother who has dementia. Spanning a 10-year time from the late 1950’s through the 1960’s it’s a look at how everyone copes, not only with the changes in Grandma but in the changing world around them. It is a story written from the heart. It’s a story in which the reader will feel deeply for all the characters. ( )
  brangwinn | Apr 27, 2021 |
This family drama is set in Maine between 1955 and 1968. Margreete’s daughter and her family move in with her once it becomes obvious that, because of her dementia, she cannot live alone. Liddie and her husband Harry and their children Bernie and Eva leave Michigan and move to the small town of Burnt Harbor. The novel focuses on their lives for the next 13 years as they face personal challenges.

Liddie is a professional cellist for whom music is a comfort from a confining marriage and family obligations, especially after the arrival of a third child. Harry is unhappy in his stagnant marriage and in his job as a history teacher. Bernie and Eva contend with sexual issues and must make decisions about their futures. And of course, Margreete struggles with the challenges of memory loss.

Though the book is about a family, there is not much of a feeling of family. The focus is on individual struggles which are most often not communicated to anyone else in the family. Liddie and Harry do not talk about the issues in their marriage, and Bernie and Eva do not discuss the events that have such an impact on their lives. If they simply talked, so much drama and trauma could have been avoided. And though they upend their lives to move in with Margreete, she becomes just a peripheral figure in their lives. They do come together to some extent towards the end, but for much of the novel, I felt as if I were reading separate stories and wondered about the book’s purpose. The overarching message seems to be that “life is messy, because humans are messy. Life isn’t simple, no matter where you are.”

There are moments of self-realization and personal growth. Eva and Bernie do determine what is important to them and make choices about their futures. Liddie realizes, “When she was hurt, what came out of her was anger – a hard carapace of bitchiness safeguarding a soft underbelly.” Both husband and wife acknowledge the need to work on their relationship. Unfortunately, because there are so many dynamic characters, their epiphanies seem contrived. Again, I would have appreciated a more in-depth development of one or two characters.

At times, a character appears and the reader is led to believe that he will play a significant role, but then he disappears. Terry Leroux is one such person. Then there are Peter and Willard, Liddie’s siblings. Why are they not more a part of the narrative? Did the author not want to add more characters to an already crowded cast? If so, why not have Liddie as an only child?

People who lived through the time period will appreciate the memories invoked by the references to historical events and pop culture. The Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War feature prominently. I had never heard of the Minnesota Starvation Study, and it was interesting getting the viewpoint of a conscientious objector.

I must admit to struggling at times because I just wasn’t engaged. Perhaps it was the sadness throughout that was just too much. The novel touches on so many serious subjects – loss, death, betrayal, sexual assault, depression, unrequited love, and dementia being only some of them. Even animals suffer. I wanted fewer characters and more joy.

Note: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley.

Please check out my reader's blog (https://schatjesshelves.blogspot.com/) and follow me on Twitter (@DCYakabuski). ( )
  Schatje | Apr 19, 2021 |
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