Readmore Inn a Vermont Bed and Breakfast Inn

Maine

Author:  J. Courtney Sullivan
Date/Era:  2011
Room:  Great Hall

“Like Elizabeth Strout’s conflicted junior high teacher, Olive Kitteridge, [the Kellehers] are appealing partly because of their oh-so-­human shortcomings…I enjoyed every page of this ruthless and tender novel about the way love can sometimes redeem even the most contentious families. Like all first-rate comic fiction, Maine uses humor to examine the truths of the heart, in New England and far beyond.” –The Washington Post

“Sullivan beautifully channels Alice through her memories…The dialogue sizzles as the tension between the women’s love and anger toward one another tightens…You don’t want the novel to end.” –The New York Times Book Review

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 at night. Their beachfront property, won on a barroom bet after the war, sits on three acres of sand and pine nestled between stretches of rocky coast, with one tree bearing the initials “A.H.” At the cottage, built by Kelleher hands, cocktail hour follows morning mass, nosy grandchildren snoop in drawers, and decades-old grudges simmer beneath the surface.

As three generations of Kelleher women descend on the property one summer, 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.

By turns wickedly funny and achingly sad, Maine unveils the sibling rivalry, alcoholism, social climbing, and Catholic guilt at the center of one family, along with the abiding, often irrational love that keeps them coming back, every summer, to Maine and to each other.


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