The Silver Boat
The McCarthy sisters grew up spending summers in an old-world cottage on the white sand beaches of Martha's Vineyard. Despite squandering the majority of their young years in Noank, Connecticut, they still consider their most memorable ones as being spent on the island. Dar, Delia and Rory were well acquainted as girls with the many fishermen and affluent vacationers who all sought peace in the oceanscape. They sailed, swam and conversed blissfully, and have been left with fond memories of lying lazily upon sun-bleached beaches and setting sail with their dear old dad aboard his sailboat, The Irish Darling.
Michael's ship had been vintage, a boat he built himself after honing his craft as a lad in his native country of Ireland. Years before his girls and wife came along, Michael immigrated and found a home in the States, setting out in search of both land and a fresh start. Even then, he'd been obsessed with claiming what he felt he had coming to him, proclaiming to be a long-lost heir to a fortune in land and apparently a recipient of a land grant endowed upon his distant ancestor, issued by King Charles I himself.
Years later, the McCarthys cherish these memories, especially after the three daughters have just buried their mother and mourn the disappearance of their dad. He set off in The Irish Darling overseas but never came back, and his girls now face saying goodbye to the only place they've ever really felt happy.
The years have not been kind. Dar, an artist and recovering alcoholic, has never been able to get over the loss of her father. Delia, the middle daughter, is in a midlife crisis. She's been challenged with raising her grandchild and worries daily about her alcoholic, drug-addicted son, who seems to mean well but disappears and takes no responsibility for raising his child. The youngest woman, Rory, is confronting the recent failure of her marriage, discovering that her husband has cheated on her repeatedly. But Rory just can't seem to stop loving him and finds herself mourning her marriage and the effects of the upcoming divorce, even while feeling compelled to spy on him and his new live-in girlfriend. All three McCarthy women remain haunted by the many fond memories they cherish of their cheery Irish father, a man whose desertion is an issue for which they all desperately need closure.
Spending these last weeks as devoted sisters, Dar, Delia and Rory labor sadly while preparing to leave the island, packing belongings and preparing the house for the impending sale. Gathering one last time is not just about saying goodbye; they have questions they need answers to, which seem more important than ever to resolve: What happened to Michael, and why did he never return? How did he relieve himself of his promise to his family? Could it be possible, by some miracle or wicked turn of fate, that Michael's search for proof about his claim was successful? If so, might this be the opportunity they all need to save their home? Their need for closure will take them on a trip to their long-lost homeland, where they will finally discover what happened to their father and uncover the details of his legendary quest.
Deeply entwined with this touching family saga are a few folk tales and legends about Irish sailors, plus a touch of authentic European history here and there. There are many characters within the story, making the initial chapters a bit confusing, but this resolves itself after the first half-dozen chapters. Luanne Rice's THE SILVER BOAT is a nostalgic story of love and loss in which readers who typically enjoy dramatic fiction should find ample pleasure.
Reviewed by Melanie Smith on April 25, 2011
The Silver Boat
- Publication Date: May 29, 2012
- Genres: Fiction
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
- ISBN-10: 0143121030
- ISBN-13: 9780143121039