Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Captain's Daughter by Meg Mitchell Moore

Because I enjoyed Moore's The Admissions, I decided to go back and read some of her older work.  The first one I tried was The Captain's Daughter which I found very enjoyable.  Like The Admissions it primarily deals with family relationships as well as what happens when past secrets come to life.

Eliza Barnes is now wealthy, country club woman living in suburban Boston with her husband and two daughters.  However, before she "married up" she was the daughter of a widowed lobsterman in small town Maine.  When her father is injured on his lobster skiff she travels to Maine to check on him and discovers he's more ill than she thought - causing her to spend more of her summer with her father.

While in Maine she also reconnects with her first love - who has remained in Maine and now works as a lobsterman too.  Through their discussions we learn of past secrets that Eliza has been hiding.  Meanwhile, Eliza's husband is struggling on his own - having left his architecture firm to go out on his own he's trying desperately to impress one of his mother's wealthy friends with the design of her massive holiday home.  And she is very difficult to please.  With his wife away he turns to his mother for help which has some humorous moments since she's a bit of a drunk.  We also learn Eliza's husband has a couple of secrets of his own.

In Maine Eliza also meets up with a pregnant teenager, Mary, who is in an abusive relationship and struggling with what to do.  As Eliza attempts to help her she also questions whether she did the right thing all those years ago when she fled Maine.

I don't want to give away more of the story - but we learn a lot about what happened in Eliza's past, including her relationship with her parents and her first love.  Eliza also learns her parents' marriage may not have been quite as sound as she thought.  And we see how Eliza's husband is also struggling with the relationship he had with his absent father and how that is impacting his relationships now.  There is also an interesting dynamic between Eliza and her mother-in-law which resolves in a somewhat unexpected way.

All in all I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read about family relationships.  It's well written, believable and develops a handful of very interesting characters.

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