A Love From Away by Joe Haskins Jr.

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 Joe Haskins, Jr., is a native of North Carolina, but he sure did capture Maine in his novel, A Love From Away. There is a good reason for that: Haskins married a teacher from New Brunswick, Canada, and they moved to Maine in 2007.

So you won’t be surprised when the novel features, Gabriel, a guy from the south who, while teaching a semester at the University of Maine, meets a Canadian girl in Bangor and falls in love with her. But the guy doesn’t fall in love with Maine, and he leaves our state and the girl to return to North Carolina.

One reason for that is that Gabriel is haunted by the tragic death of his mother. And he can’t seem to put that behind him, even though he was only 15 when it happened. Both Gabrial and the young lady are devastated by his decision to leave her and Maine.

I don’t want to tell you more, but here’s something from the back cover: “Just as happiness seems within reach, Gabriel’s past places their future in doubt. Will Gabriel overcome his demons to build a life in a place his southern roots never thought they’d sprout? Will the past shackle Gabriel to a hopeless end, or will love triumph to tether to hearts from away?”

I enjoyed the details of Maine in this novel, including some of our favorite Bangor restaurants. But what really surprised me – given that this is Joe’s first novel – is how compelling and well-written the story is. I could not put the book down. So set aside some time for this one. And I guarantee that you will like it as much as I did.

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