Chance Harbor is the story of a family that like all families faces it share of challenges. Zoe was a rough and tumble teen and finally left her daughter Willow behind so that she could start over and make a better life for herself. Her sister Catherine and her husband become Willows legal guardians until Zoe comes home and Catherine’s husband turns their world upside down. In the mist of the upheaval in Willow’s life her grandmother has decided to sell the family’s summer home in Chance Harbor and they journey there for one final visit as a family. Each of the characters faces adversity and unexpected circumstances and must decide not only to do what is best for them but what is best for Willow who must figure out who she is and who she wants to be. This story is full of funny and touching moments. I found the bond that forms between Willow and Nola to be comical and heartwarming, but I loved all the characters and their dynamics.
I loved Wally Baker, she is everything an inquisitive young girl should be and more. I loved the day she went to her grandparents as a surprise, I loved her friendship with Ham and all their adventures. She had me hooked early on. Wally (short for Wallace, her mother Stella’s maiden name) does not have an easy life, her father has been sent off to war, her mother is busy trying to become a doctor again, but Loretta her grandmother’s housekeeper and her son Ham who is close in age to Wally are always there for her no matter what life tosses her way. A heartwarming story about love and families in good times and tough times.
This one is a bit on the darker side. It is the story of a family and the small town they live in. It speaks of promises and hopes and dreams and secrets kept and things buried. I really liked it. The story is told for the most part by Lucy and her mother Lila. Lila vanishes when Lucy is small and during the summer between her junior and senior year in high school Lucy realizes she has more questions that answers not only about her mother’s disappearance but also about Cheri a friend from school who was missing for a year or more before her body was discovered. During the day Lucy works for her uncle at his store, but at night and on the weekends she spends her time trying to unravel what happened to Cheri and as you can imagine it leads her to more questions about her town and her family. Despite the sometimes dark subject matter I found the book thought provoking and was left with a good feeling about Lucy’s future, perhaps she will be the one to create a new future for her family.
I have to confess I don’t read a lot of non fiction books, or parenting books for that matter unless i am trying to find an answer to a specific problem, but this book caught my attention, mainly because i think for most Mom’s the “Good Mom” is an idea we strive to reach, not the way we see ourselves. For me this was doubly true when my son was small and I struggled to balance his needs and wants, along with my own and keep the house from crashing down around us from the weight of the ever present laundry, the constant need to pick up toys and the need to clean and cook and eat. There were times when I was overwhelmed to say the least. What I found most interesting about this book is that instead of the dry text book style discussion you might expect the book uses experiences from real Mom’s to illustrate it’s points, that bad things happen despite our best efforts and our kids are usually no worse in the long run, and that at least some of the pressure we feel to be a certain kind of mother comes from ourselves. I found it refreshing to be reminded that i was not the only one out there who didn’t feel like supermom.