Two young women trying to find their places in the world settle in a small coastal town in Maine and discover purpose, friendship and acceptance.
When Leah, a reporter, meets down-to-earth Henry Lynch in a New York City bar, she wastes no time resigning from her job, marrying him and moving into his family home in the small fishing community of Menamon. Leah’s filled with romantic notions about living an idyllic life and fitting in with the locals, but she soon discovers “from-aways” can’t easily dissolve barriers built by common roots and experiences. She also discovers there are things about Henry she doesn’t know and wonders if she fell in love with only the idea of him. Finding work at the Menamon Star, owned by her unfriendly sister-in-law, Leah meets wisecracking tough girl Quinn Winters, another recent transplant to the area. Quinn originally came to town to confront her father, Carter Marks, once a moderately successful folk singer who had an affair with her late mother, but she puts her plans on hold as she sorts through her different reactions to him. Instead, believing no one knows she’s his daughter, she remains in town, gets hired at the paper, falls in love with her roommate, and becomes a self-taught guitarist and songwriter. Quinn’s amateurish prose contrasts with Leah’s professional writing, but the two become drinking buddies and begin to collaborate on pieces. Soon they find themselves embroiled in a story about a building project that polarizes the townsfolk and threatens to change the nature of the entire community. Leah finds that her involvement might help her gain the acceptance she covets but could jeopardize her marriage. As events begin to spin out of control, debut novelist Hauser creates a palpable bond linking characters, readers, a community and a relevant political issue.
Hauser's style is expressive, clever and compelling, and she offers readers a thoughtful and engaging debut.