by Eleanor Morse
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 20 Apr 2021 | Archive Date 20 Apr 2021
A literary novel set on the coast of Maine during the 1960s, tracing the life of a family and its matriarch as they negotiate sharing a home.
Margreete’s Harbor begins with a fire: a fiercely-independent, thrice-widowed woman living on her own in a rambling house near the Maine coast forgets a hot pan on the stovetop, and nearly burns her place down.
When Margreete Bright calls her daughter Liddie to confess, Liddie realizes that her mother can no longer live alone. She, her husband Harry, and their children Eva and Bernie move from a settled life in Michigan across the country to Margreete’s isolated home, and begin a new life.
Margreete’s Harbor tells the story of ten years in the history of a family: a novel of small moments, intimate betrayals, arrivals and disappearances that coincide with America during the late 1950s through the turbulent 1960s. Liddie, a professional cellist, struggles to find space for her music in a marriage that increasingly confines her; Harry’s critical approach to the growing war in Vietnam endangers his new position as a high school history teacher; Bernie and Eva begin to find their own identities as young adults; and Margreete slowly descends into a private world of memories, even as she comes to find a larger purpose in them.
This beautiful novel—attuned to the seasons of nature, the internal dynamics of a family, and a nation torn by its contradicting ideals—reveals the largest meanings in the smallest and most secret moments of life. Readers of Elizabeth Strout, Alice Munro, and Anne Tyler will find themselves at home in Margreete’s Harbor.
Note: The publication date of this title has changed. The new publication date is 4/20/2021 .
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 143 members
Margreete’s Harbor is a tender story of Margreete’s daughter and family trying to balance their lives with their children, while Margreete is slowly losing her grasp on reality. Eleanor Morse drew me into the story and kept me enthralled and pulling for this family to the end of the book. This would make a great Lifetime Movie!
This is a beautifully crafted family drama that takes us back to America in the 50s and 60s. The catalyst is the growing senile behavior or Liddie’s mother, Margreete. Her deterioration brings Liddie and her family back to Maine from Michigan. This move sets the stage for the family saga, as it demonstrates the family values and trials of that time. The children, Bernie, Eva and Gretchen are emblematic of this period of growing change and unrest. The family is influenced by the values of father, Harry and his social activism. I found this novel very authentic and reminiscent of the roots of protest and activism that are so timely now. The only criticism of the book is that it left me wanting more! It is rare to feel such an attachment to characters that I’m hopeful that Morse will write another book that follows Liddie’s children into adulthood. Perhaps a trilogy? The characters are so well-drawn that I felt that I was part of their issues. Morse has captured the cultural birth of so many movements that are very timely today. I can think of dozens of questions for discussion with book groups. Personally, I can’t wait to engage in discourse and debate about the ongoing societal issues. I highly recommend this novel, for its engaging writing and its incorporation of social history. Thank you Netgalley for this extraordinary opportunity to read what I believe will be a BEST NOVEL of 2021.
My thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC of Margreete’s Harbor in exchange for an honest book review. Margreete Bright is slipping into the throngs of dementia. Accidentally leaving a pan on the stove, she sets her kitchen on fire. Her daughter Liddie makes the decision to move her family (husband Harry and children Eva and Bernie) from Michigan to the isolated coast of Maine to care for her. This novel spans a ten year period from the late 1950’s through the 1960’s. America is facing changes and turbulent times and we bare witness to how the dynamics of this family is affected in their internal and external worlds. The Vietnam war, a confining marriage, becoming a young adult or slipping into a private world, the prose are beautifully descriptive and vivid. There are revelations within these pages that seem so familiar and identifiable that any one of these characters could be you or I or someone we know. Eleanor Morse has written a story with lessons to be learned. It simply rends the heart. I recommend this as a ‘must read’ and thank the author for a moving experience.
I simply adored this book and hope it will become a classic of our times. Though it takes place during the 1950's and 60's it has a message that cannot be ignored. The simple, yet elegant writing style and the astute observations and actions of each character combined engage the reader fully. Each character could be someone we know; they are ordinary, yet each extraordinary in their approaches to life and situation. Margreete herself is a vehicle for both humor and realism. How the family relates to and handles her descent into dementia is very touching. Finally, this would be an excellent choice for a book club, particularly one with members of this generation. Highly recommended.
Margreete's Harbor is a beautifully written story set in beautiful coastal Maine against the backdrop of the 60s - an era that was filled with change. The characters Ms. Morse gives us are multi-dimensional, full of life, spirit and strong personalities. I found myself feeling deeply about each of them, especially Margreete. This is a book that made me cry, laugh out loud, and gave me much to think about.
A very good book, one can almost feel the salt air and mist from the ocean. A wonderful book about family and living out our days
Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was hooked from the opening chapter if this book- after her mother nearly burns her house down, Liddie is faced with a non-choice- She has to pack up her family and move back home to care for her mother. Her mother Margreeth had always been fiercely independent and though no longer of sound mind, resents her, her husband and her children’s presence. in her life. Several years ago As my own mother was beginning to age, I was faced with a similar choice. I instantly recognized the stubbornness of Margreeth that seems to go hand to hand with old age. As the family adjusts to their life in Maine, we learn more about them as people. Liddie, a professional cellist, music is her solace. Her husband Harry desperately trying to make the world a better place for his children and their children Bernie and Eva. Bernie smart, observant and awkward. Evie the middle child, a creative soul and baby Gretchen who’s tender heart feels all that is wrong with the world. Margreeth aware that she is slowly losing her mind, fierce, proud and trying to hold on desperately hanging on as long as she can to her independence. It’s essentially a love story of a family. Tender, flawed people living with the choices they made, or didn’t make. The turbulent 1960s when it seemed that everything was wrong with the world, ad this little family finds that all you have is each other.
I liked the first couple of chapters but had a hard time remining interested after that. I trudged along to chapter 27 before giving up. Nothing in the characters, other than Margreet, held my attention. Maybe with all thst is going on in the U.S. I just need something more exciting or entertaining to occupy my mind.
This is a lovely story of a family learning to grow and change around an aging family member who has dementia. The writing was simple, yet elegant and actions of each character combined kept me, the reader, engaged. The characters are very relatable and could be people you know and encounter all the time. Margreete herself was funny and real. The way in which the family relates to and handles her descent into dementia is very touching. I think this would make a good book club read especially with some from the generations of the 50s and 60s. A good, heartfelt read. Thanks NetGalley for this ARC!
When Liddie’s Mom, Margreete had a major fire in her kitchen, Liddie tried to tell her Mom she needed to move into a care home,but Margreete was having none of it. She was loosing her memory, a tragic state of affairs for the family, so sad. The family decided to move to Burnt Harbour, Maine, otherwise know as Margreete’s Harbour to live with her mother. A small isolated town, very different from the city they had left. Liddie had to put her cello away, no more concerts for her, Harry had to find a new job, the kids a new school and try to make new friends. Margarette didn’t want the family there, she asked the same questions over and over, wandered around all over the house, climbed into everyone’s bed and forgot where she was and who you were. But the love that grew between them all is beautiful. The author has betrayed their family life with extraordinary ease, each family member having their own say dealing with their emotions, their struggles and beliefs. I highly recommend reading this book, it is very hard to put down!
I really enjoyed the time period and the family that was placed in it. This era w I think for me that this was a hard book for me to read. Why you ask? I feel that dementia is a hard thing to address. While I might not have any experience in that area I can't imagine what it must be like for the families that do. My heart went out to Margareet and her family. There were places in the book that I wanted to cry because it was so very sad. In many cases in this story I even snickered at some of the scenes. I think the author has done an excellent job on this subject and has managed to bring it to life so us readers can get a glimpse of how families deal with this issue. The characters in this beautiful story were well rounded out and I enjoyed in getting to know each character. Margareet especially. I thought she was a jem. This book deserves 5 stars and more! I am looking forward to more from this author. My thanks to Netgalley for a beautiful story. One that I highly recommend. This is one of a few books that I've read that wouldn't let me put it down until I was finished. It also left me thinking about the characters especially Margareet long after the story was finished. I was NOT required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.