I love novels set in New England so when Amazon threw up Maine by Courtney Sullivan as a recommendation based on my previous purchase history I duly paid my money and downloaded the Kindle edition.
Maine tells the story of three generations of Irish American women — the Kellehers — who spend their summers by the sea. Alice is a drinker, devoted to the church but rather cruel to her family. Kathleen, her daughter is a recovering alcoholic. Ann Marie, her daughter-in-law is obsessed with decorating doll’s houses although she is perhaps the most sympathetic of the women. Maggie, Kathleen’s daughter plays a significant role in the later part of the novel. Mary, Alice’s sister, who makes a cameo appearance is one of the better drawn characters and leaves a lasting impression.
Although Maine is a relatively long novel, the characters do not develop very much as the story unfolds and their relationships while unhappy lack sufficient drama to really entertain the reader. That said, it does generate enough interest to keep you reading and some sections are definitely stronger than others. Although some readers have been critical of the ending, I thought it rather good. I just couldn’t help wishing it had come a bit sooner.
Maine is published by Atlantic Books. I read the Kindle edition.