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Margaret from Maine: A Novel

Margaret from Maine: A Novel

4.5 2
by Joseph Monninger

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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


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.

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.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sold by:
Penguin Group
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"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)

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.

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Margaret from Maine: A Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
JerseyGirlBookReviews More than 1 year ago
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.
rockygirl1 More than 1 year ago
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!