An orphaned 11 year-old works through his grief when he goes to live with his great-aunt on a remote South Carolina island.
Marcus Harshaw looks back on his life as an 11 year-old who faced the tragic, sudden death of his single mother and then went to live with his great-aunt Charlotte on a remote South Carolina island. The story is predominantly set during Marcus's first summer on the island when Aunt Charlotte--a thrice married and divorced, set-in-her-ways, reclusive artist--took in precocious, self-contained Marcus and provided him a safe haven. Marcus's formative years with his mother--and their chronic struggles to make ends meet--made Marcus philosophically wise beyond his years, enabling him to adapt and be sensitive toward his aunt's brooding, hermetic life. Charlotte gained notoriety painting images of a deserted, dilapidated local house nicknamed, Grief Cottage, where the family who occupied the residence disappeared during Hurricane Hazel in 1954. The battered, run-down cottage becomes a source of intrigue for Marcus, as well, as he seeks to learn more about the shack's history and the people who perished there. This quest unearths questions about Marcus's own background, namely coming to grips with his relationship with his mother, how he lost his best friend from school and identifying his unknown, absent father.
Godwin (Publishing: A Writer's Memoir) has written an exquisitely rendered narrative that emotionally deepens with metaphorical subplots that include the preservation of nested Loggerhead turtle eggs and the presence of a ghost at Grief Cottage. This grace-filled story probes aspects of life and death, isolation and family, and how great pain and loss can ultimately lead to unforeseen transcendence.
Bloomsbury USA, $27.00 Hardcover, 9781632867049
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
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NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (July 11, 2017), link HERE