Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea

Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea

4.2 8
by Morgan Callan Rogers
     
 

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A captivating debut, introducing a spirited young heroine coming of age in coastal Maine during the early 1960s.

When her mother disappears during a weekend trip, Florine Gilham's idyllic childhood is turned upside down. Until then she'd been blissfully insulated by the rhythms of family life in small town Maine: watching from the granite cliffs

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Overview

A captivating debut, introducing a spirited young heroine coming of age in coastal Maine during the early 1960s.

When her mother disappears during a weekend trip, Florine Gilham's idyllic childhood is turned upside down. Until then she'd been blissfully insulated by the rhythms of family life in small town Maine: watching from the granite cliffs above the sea for her father's lobster boat to come into port, making bread with her grandmother, and infiltrating the summer tourist camps with her friends. But with her mother gone, the heart falls out of Florine's life and she and her father are isolated as they struggle to manage their loss.

Both sustained and challenged by the advice and expectations of her family and neighbors, Florine grows up with her spirit intact. And when her father's past comes to call, she must accept that life won't ever be the same while keeping her mother vivid in her memories. With Fannie Flagg's humor and Elizabeth Stroud's sense of place, this debut is an extraordinary snapshot of a bygone America through the eyes of an inspiring girl blazing her own path to womanhood.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
It's summer 1963, and Florine Gilham is 12 years old. Life in her small Maine town is mostly good. Even being grounded after a firecracker prank turned into a small house fire, she gets the benefit of extra time with her mother and grandmother. That time becomes precious when her mother suddenly disappears. Florine and her lobster fisherman father find their world tossed into confusion and loss. Did her mother run away, or is she dead? Will they ever find out? Caught in limbo but sustained by friends and her grandmother, Florine carves her own path to adulthood. She'll sustain more losses and get diverted by the wrong man, but she will hold true to the knowledge of love she has been bequeathed by her parents. VERDICT Readers who enjoy coming-of-age tales and small-town stories will appreciate this well-crafted debut novel that tugs at the heart without falling into sentimentality. [See Prepub Alert, 8/26/11.]—Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll. Lib., NC
Kirkus Reviews
In this debut coming-of-age novel, Florine Gilham, the young daughter of a lobsterman, and his free-spirited wife, learn the difficult lesson that life is mostly "getting on with it." It is the summer of 1963 on The Point, an isolated Maine fishing village. Florine will soon begin seventh grade. Leeman, her father, works his boat. Carlie, her adored mother, waits tables at the Lobster Shack. It's a summer like any other, until Carlie disappears while vacationing. Carlie loves her husband, but he prefers the sea to traveling, and so Carlie's annual getaway with her best friend, Patty, has become a tradition. Now, with Leeman able to climb out of the bottle only long enough to provide confused support, Florine rages against the mystery of her mother's disappearance. Florine's troubles grow when Stella, a clerk in the local general store and her father's high school sweetheart, moves to comfort Leeman. Florine responds angrily, so much so that her father agrees to let her live with Grand, her grandmother and beloved community matriarch. Florine also has Buddy, Glen and Dottie, her adventurous contemporaries. The novel chronicles Florine's life from prepubescence through high school, and her transformation from gangling precocious girl to a sexually aware, troubled young woman. Gradually, Florine learns about her mother's abusive childhood, her father's tortured anguish over her disappearance and his profound sense of helplessness. It is only Grand's presence, her uncritical and accepting love, that provide Florine the refuge she needs to keep her sanity. Grand is beautifully, empathetically, realistically drawn. Florine is self-aware, compassionately sketched with a perceptive measure of immaturity as she stumbles toward reconciliation with the world only to again be derailed by tragedy. Rogers writes with a superb sense of place and period, delving deftly into true-to-life responses to unexplained loss. The novel's resolution is deeply moving, albeit one perhaps better served by an altered sequence of events. A realistic and resonate coming-of-age novel, chronicling a journey from grief to acceptance.
Entertainment Weekly
“Florine . . . isn’t always lovable . . . [b]ut Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea makes her real. B+”
Entertainment Weekly
BookPage
“The novel is filled with a kind of fresh honesty, as well as dry wit—seen most of all in the character of [protagonist] Florine. . . . It is almost impossible not to care about her.”
BookPage
From the Publisher

“Florine . . . isn’t always lovable . . . [b]ut Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea makes her real. B+”
Entertainment Weekly

“This well-crafted debut novel tugs at the heart without falling into sentimentality.”
Library Journal

“A realistic and resonate coming-of-age novel, chronicling a journey from grief to acceptance.”
Kirkus Reviews

“The novel is filled with a kind of fresh honesty, as well as dry wit—seen most of all in the character of [protagonist] Florine. . . . It is almost impossible not to care about her.”
BookPage

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670023400
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
01/19/2012
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.26(h) x 1.12(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Morgan Callan Rogers is a native Mainer who grew up in the shipbuilding city of Bath and splits her time between coastal Maine and South Dakota. This is her first novel.

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