Margaret from Maine: A Novel

( 2 )

Overview

Brought together by war, separated by duty, a love story for the ages

Margaret Kennedy lives on a dairy farm in rural Maine. Her husband Thomas—injured in a war overseas—will never be the man he was. When the President signs a bill in support of wounded veterans, Margaret is invited to the nation’s capital. Charlie King, a handsome Foreign Service officer, volunteers to escort her. As the rhododendron blossoms along the Blue Ridge Highway, the ...

See more details below
Paperback
$11.81
BN.com price
(Save 26%)$16.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (42) from $1.99   
  • New (11) from $1.99   
  • Used (31) from $1.99   
Margaret from Maine: A Novel

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.99
BN.com price

Overview

Brought together by war, separated by duty, a love story for the ages

Margaret Kennedy lives on a dairy farm in rural Maine. Her husband Thomas—injured in a war overseas—will never be the man he was. When the President signs a bill in support of wounded veterans, Margaret is invited to the nation’s capital. Charlie King, a handsome Foreign Service officer, volunteers to escort her. As the rhododendron blossoms along the Blue Ridge Highway, the unlikely pair fall in love—but Margaret cannot ignore the tug of her marriage vows.

Joseph Monninger’s Margaret from Maine is a page-turning romance that poignantly explores the dilemmas faced by those who serve our country—and the men and women who love them.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Margaret Kennedy has been living on a down east farm for several years with her six-year-old son, Gordon. Her husband, Thomas, shot through the spine in Afghanistan, has been in a vegetative state for several years. Still, Margaret is content with her quiet life until Charlie King, a Foreign Service officer, arrives to escort her to a function in Washington, D.C. They have an instant connection and soon become lovers. Margaret puts off returning to Maine while taking a meandering road trip with Charlie and attempting to sort out her conflicting feelings. Her love for Charlie grows every day but she cannot ignore Thomas or the vow she made to him. Monninger astutely renders the tension in Margaret’s struggle between her heart and her belief in what’s right, but by the end, readers will puzzle over why she goes the direction she does and why her decision was so difficult. Margaret’s ultimate choice is a letdown; the conclusion seems contrived and diminishes the value of the story that Monninger crafted so well. Agent: Andrea Cirillo, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
“Monninger comes to writing with his five senses wide open, and his sharply focused imagery has the rare quality of being entirely original while producing a jolt of startled recognition in the reader.” -The New York Times Book Review

“Monninger is a brilliant writer.” -Luanne Rice

"Fans of John Irving, you have a new author to love." Lisa Genova, New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice and Left Neglected

"Monninger’s imagery resonates long into the night, while your lamp burns oil because you cannot put the book down until the last page is turned." -Romantic Times (4 stars)

Library Journal
As a wife, mother, and dairy farmer, Margaret Kennedy is the epitome of devotion?rising early to see to a farm that will never really be hers, regularly visiting her husband who was injured in war and is now in a vegetative state, and raising a son whose father will never know him. She has never been tempted to cast aside any aspect of her life, until she meets Charlie King. As an army veteran, diplomat, and brother to a vegetative patient, Charlie identifies with Margaret’s situation on many levels. When he is tasked with escorting her to Washington, DC, to witness the President sign a bill designed to increase funding for those in her husband’s condition, Margaret is not as Charlie expected but everything he wants. While they embark on a brief, passionate affair, Charlie realizes that he has little chance of having a future with Margaret while her situation remains the same.

Verdict Monninger’s (The World as We Know It) effort to create realistic characters dealing with difficult situations and set against pretty scenery results in a well-crafted tale that manages to be poignant and sweet, all at once. Recommended for fans of Nicholas Sparks.—Natasha Grant, New York
(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
With enemy fire slamming into his hand, leg and neck, Sgt. Thomas Kennedy instinctively uses his body to protect another soldier. Not because he is brave, but because he is a decent man from Maine. Monninger (The World as We Know It, 2011, etc.) exquisitely evokes the horrific ballet of a body riddled by bullets, as well as the enchantment of snow falling on lilacs. His latest novel pits love and duty against each other in the tale of Margaret Kennedy. Six years after her husband, Thomas, was shot in Afghanistan, Margaret carries on her duties selflessly, day after day. On a Maine farm, she rises early to tend the cows with her father-in-law and then turns to her 6-year-old son, Gordon, who has only ever known his father as a wounded, comatose veteran. Although her beauty has faded from fiery to elegant, Margaret seeks nothing more than to do right by Thomas. Little does she suspect how her life will change when she accepts an invitation to Washington D.C., to show support for a bill sponsoring aid for wounded soldiers. A handsome, wounded warrior himself, Foreign Service officer Charlie King arrives to personally escort her to the capital. Astonishingly quickly, Margaret and Charlie fall in love and into bed. And so begins a love affair filled with beautiful words and beautiful places, including the blooming of the rhododendrons along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Yet their romance lives within a glass bubble. Can her love for Charlie keep Margaret from her loyalties back home? Neither the consequences of war nor the ties that bind generate a satisfying conflict for this emotional tryst.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452298682
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/24/2012
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 999,637
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

 Joseph Monninger is the author of Eternal on the Water and The End of the World as We Know It, as well as several award-winning young adult novels. A professor of English literature, he lives in Warren, New Hampshire.

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION

Brought together by war, separated by duty, a love story for the ages

Margaret Kennedy lives on a dairy farm in rural Maine. Her husband Thomas—injured in a war overseas—will never be the man he was. When the President signs a bill in support of wounded veterans, Margaret is invited to the nation's capital. Charlie King, a handsome Foreign Service officer, volunteers to escort her. As the rhododendron blossoms along the Blue Ridge Highway, the unlikely pair fall in love—but Margaret cannot ignore the tug of her marriage vows.

Joseph Monninger's Margaret from Maine is a page-turning romance that poignantly explores the dilemmas faced by those who serve our country—and the men and women who love them.

ABOUT Joseph Monninger

Joseph Monninger is the author of Eternal on the Water and The End of the World as We Know It, as well as several award–winning young adult novels. A professor of English literature, he lives in Warren, New Hampshire.

A CONVERSATION WITH ALEXANDRA FULLER

Q. What inspired you to write Margaret’s story? Did you have most of the plot in mind when you began to write?

I didn’t have the plot, honestly. I had the idea of the first scene...when Margaret’s husband is shot. I wanted to have a character placed under pressure. That’s always my starting point. Margaret is a good woman in an impossible situation. After the initial set-up, I ask myself, well, what will happen next? Once I have the character in mind, I ask the usual questions: does she have children, where does she live, what does she think about her life? Once I have those settled, I can move into the story.

Q. Are you ever surprised by the way your characters develop while you’re writing? Or do you have a very firm idea of who they are as people before you begin? Were there any in particular who turned out a little differently than you might have imagined at first in Margaret?

I’m not sure he turned out differently from what I imagined, but Margaret’s son, Gordon, became fuller as the novel progressed. It was interesting to write from a little boy’s perspective. I’ve been that boy with a toy soldier in his hand. His life became richer as I listened to him, and that was rewarding. Writers often have little scenes that — while not immensely important to the novel — please them in their construction or cadence. The scene near the end of the novel when Gordon is shooting hoops on a court just at sundown is a scene I like a great deal. I like his granddad appearing, and I like the sound I created — or remembered — that a basketball makes as it goes through a metal chain on a playground basketball goal. The character seemed real to me at that moment.

Q. Aside from being an author, you also teach creative writing. What one piece of advice would you give to all of the budding novelists out there?

Depends a little on what you hope to write. A short story is different from a novel, obviously. But a sense of honesty is key in almost any form of writing. A writer friend of mine once said our biggest obstacle to good writing is letting ourselves off the hook to say, well, next time I’ll do it better. It’s much harder to say: I’m giving it everything I’ve got this time, right now, and if it isn’t up to standard, well, that’s my fault. Honesty in the writer creates honesty in the novel.

Q. What are you working on now?

I’m working on another story — again set in Maine — about a woman and a man and a boy who has been injured. I don’t want to give too much away, but it includes flyfishing and summer sounds. It’s set on a lake in Maine. It’s a novel about second chances, really, and about learning to trust. The working title is The Great Summer or The Day After You, but I’m not sure if either title will stick. I’m about half finished with it and I like it a good deal.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • Margaret From Maine is dedicated to Joe Monninger’s mother, whose love and support meant so much to him. Was there a similar female figure in your life? How did she change you? How might your life have been different without her?
  • Margaret’s husband Thomas is a wounded veteran with no hope of recovery. Despite the difficulty of their situation, Margaret continues to stand by his side. Do you agree with her decision? What could she have done differently? What do you think you would have done in her situation?
  • They say home is where the heart is, and Margaret is truly a down-home, down-to-earth, rural girl from Maine. How does her bond with the farm affect her life and the choices she makes? If she didn’t have Gordon, do you think she would have made the same choices? Do you think she could have been happy elsewhere? How have you been influenced by the place you grew up?
  • Nature plays a large role in Margaret From Maine. From the quiet beauty of New England to the vibrant flora of the Blue Ridge mountains, how is Margaret’s journey influenced by her surroundings?
  • The novel is broken into four sections, each named for different flowers: lilacs, rhododendrons, daises, and asters. What connection do you see between the species of flower and the events that take place in that particular section? Is there a flower that symbolizes your life at this moment, or at any other moment in your past?
  • Gordon is inseparable from his favorite toy, a little green plastic army man carrying a sawed off shotgun that reminds him of his father. Do you think that speaks to his relationship with Thomas? How so? Gordon also loves the meerkat that Charlie gives him. How might that represent another facet of his personality or symbolize a different part of his life?
  • The vows of marriage play a crucial role in this story. Both Margaret and her best friend Blake must think about their respective relationships and what is best for them. How do you feel about the choices they made? What is the most important part of a relationship to you? Do you think marriage is as important an institution as it used to be?
  • When Margaret meets Charlie, she has an immediate, natural connection to him. Do you believe in love at first sight? Have you ever felt a strong connection to someone you just met? What qualities attracted you to this person? Is love at first sight more than physical attraction?
  • Many decisions that Margaret makes while she is away from the farm are spontaneous, which is something very new to her. Which state is truer to her personality?
  • “That was the damnable thing: people could always live without one another. The movies pretended otherwise, but it simply wasn’t so. Life moved on and one went with it.” How do you feel about this sentiment? Is there someone in your life you couldn’t live without?
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 2, 2013

    Margaret Kennedy is married to Thomas, a Sergeant and Medal of H

    Margaret Kennedy is married to Thomas, a Sergeant and Medal of Honor recipient who returned from Afghanistan in a vegetative state. She lives with their son, Gordon, and her father-in-law Grandpa Ben on a dairy farm near Bangor, Maine. When she’s invited to Washington for a veterans’ bill signing, another wounded soldier and Foreign Service officer, Charlie King, volunteers to escort her. On their journey to Washington, Margaret and Charlie become close and fall in love with each other, but she is committed to Thomas and their marriage vows. Margaret must decide whether to follow her heart and choose a second chance at happiness and love, or remain true to her marriage vows and live with the remnants of a marriage to a man who is just a shell of who he used to be. What are two star-crossed lovers to do? What choice will Margaret make?




    Margaret From Maine is a poignant and heart wrenching tale of honor, love, responsibility and second chances. Author Joseph Monninger weaves an emotional tale written in the third person narrative with alternating points of view. With rich and detailed descriptions of the various settings: the Afghan war zone, the countryside of Maine and the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, the reader is transported into the lives of Margaret, her family and Charlie as their story unfolds. You can't help but feel for Margaret as she was faced with a traumatic heartbreak when her husband was injured in the war. But after six long years of selflessly loving and taking care of her husband, can you imagine being in her shoes and having to choose what to do when another man comes along and puts a smile back on her face? This is such a gut wrenching and emotional story that it simply tugs at your heartstrings and doesn't let go. The author has written a wonderful story that delves into the difficult issues that war veterans and their families have to face and deal with, especially when the veteran is critically injured or killed, and the families are left to pick up the pieces of their lives. Yet this is also a passionate and romantic story that delves into getting a second chance at love and happiness. This lovely story is reminiscent of the classic, Bridges of Madison County.




    With a cast of characters who are realistic and complex; engaging dialogue and interactions that have a genuine emotional pull; and a storyline that has a mixture of family dilemma and a forbidden romance that is passionate yet bittersweet; Margaret From Maine is a beautiful and timeless love story that will resonate with you long after the last page has been read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 25, 2013

    WOW! What a beautifully written story. With the tones and th

    WOW! What a beautifully written story.




    With the tones and the descriptions that Monninger puts into his story, you instantly feel pulled into the story, and truly find yourself caring about the characters.




    I love a contemporary romance. This had all the pieces perfectly laid out and I fell head over heals right into the story and didn’t come out until I had consumed the whole thing.




    I even asked my husband about what he thought about this dilemma, to be the ‘perfect wife’ to love a man who doesn’t even know you are there, or to be the center of someones world again. To be loved, and cherished and held. What a choice!




    This book was just such an amazing journey and was just such an incredible read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)