Geographies of the Heart

A Novel

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Pub Date 18 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 02 Jan 2022

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Description

Sarah Macmillan always puts family first, but she can’t quite stretch her arms wide enough to hold on to everyone as they all age: her career-minded, inattentive younger sister, Glennie; their grandparents, who are slowly fading; or a pregnancy Sarah desperately wanted. But it’s her tumultuous relationship with Glennie that makes Sarah feel the loneliest. She’d always believed that their relationship was foundational, even unbreakable. Though blessed with a happy marriage to Al, whose compassion and humor she admires, Sarah shoulders both caregiving and loss largely alone and grows bitter about Glennie’s absences, until one decision forces them all to decide what family means—and who is family. Narrated by the chorus of their three voices, this elegantly told and deeply moving novel examines the pull of tradition, the power of legacies, the importance of forgiveness, and the fertile but fragile ground that is family, the first geography to shape our hearts.

Sarah Macmillan always puts family first, but she can’t quite stretch her arms wide enough to hold on to everyone as they all age: her career-minded, inattentive younger sister, Glennie; their...


A Note From the Publisher

Caitlin Hamilton Summie earned an MFA with Distinction from Colorado State University, and her short stories have been published in Beloit Fiction Journal, Wisconsin Review, Puerto del Sol, JMWW, Mud Season Review, Belmont Story Review, Hypertext Magazine, and more. Her story collection, TO LAY TO REST OUR GHOSTS, won the fourth annual Phillip H. McMath Book Award, Silver in the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award for Short Stories, and was a Pulpwood Queen Book Club Bonus Book. Her debut novel, GEOGRAPHIES OF THE HEART, was inspired by three stories in her collection. She spent many years in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Colorado before settling with her family in Knoxville, Tennessee. She co-owns the book marketing firm, Caitlin Hamilton Marketing & Publicity, founded in 2003.

Caitlin Hamilton Summie earned an MFA with Distinction from Colorado State University, and her short stories have been published in Beloit Fiction Journal, Wisconsin Review, Puerto del Sol, JMWW, Mud...


Advance Praise

"...tender...[a] mature depiction of love and sisterhood...Geographies of the Heart is a piercing novel populated by absorbing legacies and instances of forgiveness"—Foreword Reviews

“…Summie writes with admirable nuance.” —Publishers Weekly

"An accomplished, confident debut, with complex characters you'll be rooting for."—J. Ryan Stradal, bestselling author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest and The Lager Queen of Minnesota

"Geographies of the Heart is both riveting and moving, its characters rendered with painstaking and loving attention. I got to know them very well, and the author made me care about them. Caitlin Hamilton Summie is not afraid to go deep, to explore the fears and emotions most of us spend so much time trying to conceal. I loved this novel. I only wish there were more like it."—Steve Yarbrough, author of The Unmade World

“Years of secrets, resentments, and words left unspoken force a family to examine the fragile complexities of the heart. A tender yet powerful journey, where bitterness gives way to the determination it takes to stitch lives back together.”—Beth Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

“Caitlin Hamilton Summie writes like waves cross large oceans. Words, sentences, chapters and stories build with a complexity of wind, current, and underground tectonic force until they crash toward their resolution onshore. Her debut novel, Geographies of the Heart, is a new force of nature that readers of Summie’s work will love. Intense, searching, intimate in the moment and sweeping in its range, this novel is an oceans-wide meditation on the inseparability of family, and the redemption of loss.”—Andrew Krivak, author of The Bear


"...tender...[a] mature depiction of love and sisterhood...Geographies of the Heart is a piercing novel populated by absorbing legacies and instances of forgiveness"—Foreword Reviews

“…Summie writes...


Marketing Plan

She is the award-winning author of TO LAY TO REST OUR GHOSTS. Three stories in that collection inspired the novel and are included in the novel. Praise for the collection includes the following:

Winner, Phillip H. McMath Post-Publication Book Award

Silver Winner, Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards for Short Stories

Featured in The Millions Most-Anticipated The Great Second-Half 2017 Book Preview

A Pulpwood Queen Book Club Bonus Book for June 2018


She is the award-winning author of TO LAY TO REST OUR GHOSTS. Three stories in that collection inspired the novel and are included in the novel. Praise for the collection includes the following:

...


Available Editions

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ISBN 9781953236395
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Featured Reviews

GEOGRAPHIES OF THE HEART is an elegant and tender story that revolves around what it means to be a family. I enjoyed how the author rotates among view points and captures the joy and beauty in everyday moments. The story also moves deftly across time. Sarah's bonds with her husband and sister are immediately relatable and I found myself pulling for these characters.

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The highest praise I can give to a writer is to say they have the gift to make seemingly ordinary characters and the circumstances of their lives feel extraordinary. It’s extraordinary because Caitlin Hamilton Summie doesn’t just take us to the “geographies” of her character’s hearts, but to similar places in our own hearts. She takes us to places where we know grief, loss, fear of loss, love. She takes you to that special place in your heart reserved for family, that certain place where we feel the memories, the beautiful ones like how much we loved our grandparents , or how close we used to be with our sister, and the hard ones when we drift apart because we don’t understand each other. One of the most poignant lines for me in the novel is “He was my brother, Daddy, in my heart. “ Rather than talk about what happens in this story, I’ll just say that I loved these characters because they were my family in my heart. Highly recommended to those who enjoyed the author’s award winning story collection, [book:To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts|34913559] as you’ll meet familiar characters here. I also recommend it anyone who wants to read a beautifully written and relatable story that will take them to the “geographies” of their own heart . I received an advanced copy of this book from Fomite Press through NetGalley.

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A little over four years ago, I read Caitlin Hamilton Summie’s To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts, which I loved. In the years since, I’ve read several of her short stories that I’ve hunted down online. There’s something about the way she writes, the stories she shares that pulls me in completely, so much so that it fully comes alive for me. I can feel it all, see it all, and even after I’ve read the last word of the last sentence, I know these are people who I will remember, and not as characters in a story, but as people I know and feel invested in. Vignettes of a family that changes over the years, and the memories gathered over those years shared by them. At the heart of this is Sarah MacMillan, who considers the traditions of her family, her parents, her grandparents, as sacred. Growing up along with her sister, Glennie, who becomes a doctor, Sarah feels the distance increasing as they begin their own lives. Sarah marries, and their grandparents begin to need more assistance, Sarah’s husband Al steps in to help, even as Glennie steps even further away. ’Time changes things slowly at first, like the seasons. The leaves turn yellow, the color deepens, and then suddenly some are red, and fall arrives, as if overnight. I’ve decided that’s how age works. First, there is a gray hair, a wrinkle, a dull ache in one’s joints, but the changes are small and easy to accommodate.’ There’s nothing extraordinary that happens, moments we can all relate to in one way or another, people in our families or our lives that we can recognize similar quirks or traits. Holding on to ancient grievances, memories of unfairness, or of feeling marginalized. Love, family, friends, the bond of family, the fractious nature of siblings, children, change, loss, regrets, and more - the things that are part of life. What is extraordinary is the way this story wove its way into my heart that felt so relatable, so real and yet so remarkably lovely even when my heart was breaking. The gifts we inherit from family - the tangible gifts, along with traits, love, as well as the pain inflicted along with the love and memories over the years - are the legacy we pass on to others. And so it goes...and so it goes. Pub Date: 18 Jan 2022 Many thanks for the ARC provided by Fomite Press #GeographiesoftheHeart #NetGalley

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