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THE VINEYARD: A Novel ~Michael Hurley

Monday, November 24th, 2014

“Dory was rich.  Stunningly rich. Although she thought of herself as someone just like everyone else, there was no one quite like Dory.  She lived her life as though everything were possible.” (Page 9)

“Michael Hurley holds a degree in English Education from the University of Maryland and a law degree from St. Louis University.  He is admitted to the bar in Texas and North Carolina.   His debut novel The Prodigal (2013) won the Chanticleer Grand Prize and was shortlisted for several other literary awards. After more than thirty years in trial practice, Michael retried in 2014 to write, sail, and pursue the secret of life fulltime.  He lives near Charleston, South Carolina, and keeps up with readers at www.mchurley.com “ (from the inside cover)

From the jacket:

“Ten years after their college days together, three wounded and very different women reunite for a summer on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.  As they come to grips with the challenges and crises in their lives, their encounter with a reclusive poacher, known only as ‘the fisherman,’ threatens to change everything they believe about their worlds – and each other.”
“…a complex and ambitious, allegorical tale of old money, young passion and ancient mystery in a classic New England seaside village.”

I truly enjoy reading this romantic story / almost saga (can 3 months of summer be a saga?) and the problems the characters endure and muddle through.   This story was so well written it was just a get lost and enjoy the flow of the words on each page.  The premise was interesting too and I always love sailing stories, including water details, islands and the private culture developed by the isolation.  I had one day to read the 375 pages and then I was off to enjoy the beach myself.  The Biblical allegory was a bit blatant for my taste, but then I think many people do not know the stories these days so maybe that will not bother other readers.  I definitely felt I was relating to the Southern Christian experience and it made me laugh a couple of times in remembrance of my experience of these religious notions and how the people I encountered were not even aware that their deep down thinking was not very Global in its capacity – they often chock it up to superiority when it is a mask for fear.

The three women in the story were a hoot to read about until I watched what was going on in our country during this last election cycle.  The characters had a realness which was frightening and insulting and made me think about the 1% boys and girls who will be in control of the country – inherited wealth and no Global thinking.  Although Dory was caring and loving towards her friends, in personal crisis she was downright scary; this is a person in control and setting the standards?  In crisis she was an airhead and queen of the bling, who was very kind and generous to her friends.   Women as sexy manipulators – whew we are stuck in the religious mold again – let’s all go shopping;  I sent my pup jumping off my lap as I burst into a knee slapping happy dance!

The Ivy League produces three more who are really cupcakes to tradition and unable to see the big picture and in reality just want the same old same old of the wealthy cults.  A few clever moments thrown in to balance the boat and keep the keel balanced.  I just relaxed and let go of my cares.

Fabulous escape reading and I am sure the ‘30 some things’ of the world will make this a best seller.  That has left a rather bitter aftertaste in my sphere; we don’t know what we don’t know!

TLC Book Tours  – I enjoyed this read I think I would have liked the family saga about the timber industry in the Northwest a bit better – location, location, location.  Oh how the young are blinded by money and create a strange reality.

Related:
A Breast Cancer Alphabet 
Becalmed
The Hourglass
Accidents of Marriage

Visitors

Monday, July 11th, 2011
The Rockies

The Rockies

When my oldest daughter was in High School she received a Rotary scholarship to Denmark for a year.  She had sought out the experience as she wanted to be free from parents and our particular school and when she found out it was Denmark, she worried about learning such a difficult language.

The Rotarians said, “You are the one we think can handle such a tough language and learn it.”

Off she went and had a wonderful amazing year; minus the correct accent they could all understand her by the Winter Holidays.  She has been back several times for visits and the wedding of her best friend, and the arrival of children.

Not allowed to work during the ambassadors’ experience, her family was to send her an allowance each month, and we sent holiday gifts to her host families for her too.  We thought $100 a month would be what we could afford and Library Girl and I cleaned a small office building each week to send her that amount of money.   At the end of the experience, we found out that other students were receiving between $500 and $1000 a month allowances from home.  We did not know how she survived as Denmark was one of the most expensive countries.

One family in particular had taken our daughter into their lives and made sure she had some childcare opportunities and funds to go to the swimming pool, theatre, and other events; they included her in their family experience.

This family came to visit us and RV through Canada to see the wilderness, bears, and Mounties.  This visit gave us the opportunity to return the favor.  Best friend, her husband, 6 year old daughter, 3 ½ year old son and the wonderful parents/ grandparents arrived here nearly a month ago.  We went on a lovely sailboat ride to show off Puget Sound and gathered up all our camping gear to share, and then rented an SUV to get them to the spot to pick up their RV for 17 days in Canada.

Canada Day

Canada Day

Right away it felt like one’s favorite Aunt and Uncle had arrived with cousins and grandies!  Warm, gracious and happy to be off on an adventure and so ready to enjoy life and discover what their new surroundings had to offer.   We only anticipated that language would be a problem and by the time we sat down to our first meal together we were communicating first hand.

By the way, I served the Chicken Pot Pie Recipe from the Harvest Potluck e-cookbook http://patriciaswisdom.com/2009/11/harvest-potluck-unicef-fundraiser/, free from this site. Once again it was a prize winning supper and the fresh CSA (community supported agriculture) salad added to make it a feast.  Washington strawberries were at their peak and we added Danish Havarti Cheese and Rainier cherries and we were all laughing and having a good time.

It Girl joined her host family for her 2 weeks of vacation and celebrated her birthday in Canada too.  Kamloops, Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper were all visited and their amazing photographs rekindled memories from my childhood. Travelling now with cell phones and wireless computers, they found even more adventures and new GPS routes to embark upon.  The children still enjoyed climbing on rocks, hiking, seeing all the wildlife and told the stories of seeing  the bears along the way.

Tak (thank you),  Selv tak (You are welcome), far (father),  mor ( mother),  bedstefader (Grandfather) and bedstemoder (Grandmother) – we all added to the conversation at the table and we all could understand what ZIP wanted right away!

The children and I decorated an ice cream birthday cake for my husband to help him celebrate his big day.   I think having children to play cars and draw with kept him from being a Gloomy Gus (The Danes work a 35 hour work week and get more vacations and can retire at age 62 and have health care!  And this was a bit overwhelming to a fellow who has to work until age 72 to break even and has had to save up vacation days for years to go on a 5 week bike tour at age 64)!

Everyone off to the airport to return home to regularly scheduled lives and Zip keeps checking all the bedrooms to see if they might be lingering there still.  10 people in the house and it felt full of life and energy.   New friends and children’s hugs created priceless memories.

Have you rekindled some old acquaintances this summer or made some new friends in this season?

Wild Rose

Wild Rose

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Related Reading:
Harvest Potluck Cookbook
A Birthday Ritual
Cascade-Siskiyou Bike Tour
Seattle to Portland Bike Ride 2009