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.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Sold by:||Penguin Group|
|File size:||1 MB|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
What People are Saying About This
"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)
Reading Group Guide
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
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!