At The Breakers: A Novelby Mary Ann Taylor-Hall
"Soon or a little too lateeverything you never knewyou always wanted turns uphereat The Breakers" from the book In her new novel At The Breakers, Mary Ann Taylor-Hall, author of the widely praised and beloved Come and Go, Molly Snow, presents Jo Sinclair, a longtime single mother of four children. Fleeing an abusive relationship after a shocking attack, Jo
"Soon or a little too lateeverything you never knewyou always wanted turns uphereat The Breakers" from the book In her new novel At The Breakers, Mary Ann Taylor-Hall, author of the widely praised and beloved Come and Go, Molly Snow, presents Jo Sinclair, a longtime single mother of four children. Fleeing an abusive relationship after a shocking attack, Jo finds herself in Sea Cove, New Jersey, in front of The Breakers, a salty old hotel in the process of renovation. Impulsively, she negotiates a job painting the guest rooms and settles in with her youngest child, thirteen-year-old Nick. As each room is transformed under brush and roller, Jo finds a way to renovate herself, reclaiming a promising life derailed by pregnancy and a forced marriage at age fourteen. Jo's new life at the hotel features a memorable mix of locals and guests, among them Iris Zephyr, the hotel's ninety-two-year-old permanent boarder; Charlie, a noble mixed-breed dog; Marco, owner of a nearby gas station/liquor store, who may become Jo's next mistake; and enigmatic Wendy, her streetwise eighteen-year-old daughter, who signs on as housekeeper. Irrepressible Victor Mangold, Jo's former professor and a well-known poet some twenty years her senior, invites himself to Thanksgiving dinner and into her life, his passion awakening Jo's yearning for art and love. At The Breakers is a deeply felt and beautifully written novel about forgiveness and reconciliation. In Jo's words, she is "trying to find the right way to live" as a long-suffering woman who is put through the fire and emerges with a chance at a full, rich life for herself and her children, if only she has the faith to take it.
Meet the Author
Mary Ann Taylor-Hall is a recipient of the Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writers" award. and the author of How She Knows What She Knows About Yo-yos (Sarabande), which received Foreword Magazine's Book of the Year Award, and Come and Go, Molly Snow (Norton). She is the recipient of a PEN/Syndicated Fiction Award and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kentucky Arts Council.
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Mary Ann Taylor-Hall
University Press of Kentucky, 2009
Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com, 2/09
We all make mistakes, and Jo Sinclair made her share. The single mother of several children has wandered from one bad relationship to another. She has several children, but her daughter, Wendy, seems the most affected by her mother¿s bad decisions. In an effort to escape an abusive boyfriend, Jo traveled to the New Jersey shore. She found herself at The Breakers, an old hotel being renovated by the owner. She took on the monumental task of painting the interior. Various characters enter the picture at this point. As the Breakers was renovated, so was Jo¿s life. She begins to reform herself into a person she can be proud of.
This book would make a great movie. I quickly became wrapped up in Jo¿s life--even if I wasn¿t sure I liked her. However, I was still bothered by some of her decisions. I wasn¿t sure she had truly grown up. There were several errors in this book that a good editor should have caught. I chose this book, because it was written by a Kentucky author. Mary Ann Taylor-Hall has great potential, but The Breakers fell a little short of the goal.