I wasn’t sure what I was getting in to when I picked this book up at the library. The blue cover caught my eye when I remembered that one of the items on this Reading Challenge 2016 was to read a book with a blue cover. A quick scan of the book plot description and in to the book bag it went. What I came home with was a story that is part memory and recollection, part association, part regret and part hope.
As 78 year old Harriet Chance sets off on an ill-fated Alaskan cruise, inexplicably planned by her now-deceased husband prior to the Alzheimer’s took hold that would eventually take his life, we are privy to not only the thoughts she has about her current life without her husband and with her two adult children, but to moments in her past, both mundane and important, that have shaped the life she is now living. This life has many secrets and regrets. We see Harriet, warts and all, in good moments and bad. As the story develops, we get to know just how much early traumas and sorrows can impact a life many decades later.
This story is about love, marriage, independence (or lack thereof), and motherhood. The most well-fleshed out relationships ends being the one between Harriet and her daughter, Caroline, who unexpectedly shows up midway through the cruise. Their mother-daughter relationship hits many real notes, including the strains they feel with each other, the competition, and the ability to always say or hear the worst thing at the moment. Ultimately, it was a fast and bubbly read, with a light tone about serious issues (alcoholism, addiction, infidelity, child abuse…the list goes on) that no matter your age and stage of life, may resonate.