For the Kellehers, Maine is a place where children run in packs, showers are taken outdoors, and old Irish songs are sung around a piano. As three generations of women arrive at the family's beach house, each brings her own hopes and fears. Maggie is thirty-two and pregnant, waiting for the perfect moment to tell her imperfect boyfriend the news; Ann Marie, a Kelleher by marriage, is channeling her domestic frustration into a dollhouse obsession and an ill-advised crush; Kathleen, the black sheep, never wanted to set foot in the cottage again; and Alice, the matriarch at the center of it all, would trade every floorboard for a chance to undo the events of one night, long ago.
This is not my usual type of book at all, but I picked it up because it takes place in Ogunquit. So when it said, "She passed by the Leavitt Theater," I passed by the Leavitt Theater! When it said, "She stopped off at Barnacle Billy's," I stopped off at Barnacle Billy's! When it said, "They walked on the Marginal Way," I walked on the Marginal Way! That was fun. Otherwise I never would have bothered reading it. It's a fluffy "woman's book," and I grew tired of the characters almost immediately, although I did stick around to see what would happen to them at the end. But if you are in Ogunquit and looking for a "beach book," you could do worse.
Speaking of worse, the book I read right before vacation, Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel, was a total dud. The style made me think the author was trying too hard, as if she were trying to impress her writing instructor. It had an interesting plot idea: A young girl is "kidnapped" by her father and spends her childhood on the road with him, then grows into a woman who, not surprisingly, can't seem to settle down. But none of the characters felt real to me at all, and I found them alternately boring and annoying. Do not bother.
I hope luck doesn't come in threes or else I'm doomed to be disappointed by the next book I pick up, too.