Book Reviews

The Other Island: Ben’s Story by Barbara Kent Lawrence

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 Now, we get the rest of the story. Ben’s story.

I loved Barbara Kent Lawrence’s novel, Islands of Time, and immediately after finishing it, I picked up the sequel, The Other Island: Ben’s Story. Both books were published by the Maine Author’s Alliance.

In Islands of Time, Becky Granger tells her story of love, loss, and a lifetime of incredible sorrow. Her family members are “summer people” on a Maine island when she falls in love, at the age of 14, with Ben Bunker, an island boy. Everything goes wrong, and Becky mourns that lost love for the rest of her life, through two unsuccessful marriages. And then she moves permanently to that island, and reconnects with Ben, although he is very happily married.

There’s a lot more to the story, of course, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. For sure, you should read Islands of Time before you tackle Ben’s Story.

Islands of Time by Barbara Kent Lawrence

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 Islands of Time will bring tears to your eyes – many times. Barbara Kent Lawrence’s first novel, published by Maine Authors Publishing, is both profound and insightful.

Set on a Maine island, a young “summer” girl falls in love with an island boy. But summer residents are a different breed than the local folks, and the young girl and boy are driven apart. The young girl never gets over her young love for the island boy, and that affects her life in every way.

When she returns to the island, after two divorces, well, the story gets even more complicated. I will leave this there.

I found Lawrence’s writing to be engaging, with deep emotions that leap off the pages, until you want to jump in and rescue that poor girl. My wife Linda is now reading the novel, and finds it equally compelling.

Can I Carry Your Luggage? By Shelley Lance-Fulk and Jacklyn Amtower

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 I don’t know how it is that I had never heard of Shelley Lance-Fulk and Jaclyn Amtower, who live in Beaver Cove, a small village just north of Greenville, and who have travelled to all 7 continents and more than 75 countries to experience and photograph wildlife.

Thankfully, I know about them now, after reading some of their amazing stories, and seeing some of their fantastic photographs, in their new book published by Maine Authors Publishing, Can I Carry Your Luggage? The title comes from a question often asked at their talks from folks who would love to travel with them and carry their luggage. Now, I’m also on that list!

Beneath the Depths by Bruce Robert Coffin

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I figured it out! I figured out who killed the prominent attorney, the drug dealer, and the stripper.  Well, ok, I was only about 20 pages from the end of Bruce Robert Coffin’s wonderful new novel, Beneath the Depths, but I did sense who the real killer was before Coffin revealed that information.

As the intriguing story progressed, more than a dozen possible killers were trotted out, and another prominent attorney was jailed for those murders, but it became obvious, using the clues Coffin revealed, that someone else was the killer. And I figured it out.

I enjoyed Coffin’s first novel, Among the Shadows, and his new novel is even better. I can tell you that this book is flying off the shelves of our Mount Vernon library, and getting rave reviews from our patrons.

Door In Dark Water gives you an inspiring and frightening experience

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I was right out there in the open ocean, feeling the powerful wind, worried about the approaching storm, hauling in tons of fish, exhausted after being at sea for 36 hours without sleep.

P.D. Callahan’s book, Door In Dark Water, is a well-written account of his years of commercial fishing, and I was most impressed with the way he puts the reader right on the boat with him. I thought I knew what that experience is like, until I read this book.

Here’s how he got hooked.

“Now, here is the greatest moment in this drama… It is experiencing a wildness that is both a heart-rending moment and a peak instant of excitement all at once.

“As you pull (the mackerel) explode in front of you all at once, four or five thousand leaping bodies in a loud splashing, water flying high enough to rain back down. You are standing in a heavy downpour of seawater and tiny mackerel scales. We know we have them. But it is so loud, you have to shout over the cacophony.

New book features a lifetime of hunting and fishing stories

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 My hunting and fishing heritage and experiences have been very important parts of my life, which makes it very exciting to announce the publication of my new book, A Lifetime of Hunting & Fishing, published by North Country Press.

Subtitled The Ones That Got Away and the Ones That Didn’t, the front cover features a photo of me and my Dad with the last turkey we got before he passed away. There are lot of stories in the book about my days hunting and fishing with Dad.

The book is a collection of stories written over the last 30 years about my lifetime of hunting and fishing in Maine, plus hunting and fishing adventures in Labrador, Quebec, Montana, North Dakota, and Alaska.

Mapping Murder by William D. Andrews

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 I’d been eagerly awaiting the third novel by William Andrews, and was delighted when it was published this year. Mapping Murder once again features Julie Williamson, director of the Ryland Historical Society, in a small western Maine town. Julie turns out to be a relentless and effective solver of crimes.

In this novel, valuable artifacts are stolen from several museums, and one director ends up being shot and killed. William’s friends at the Bethel Historical Society, a wonderful place, gave him the opportunity to learn about historical institutions and the important role they play in the life of a small community.

Having gotten to know William’s characters, I was delighted to get them back for another intriguing whodunit. The info on the back of the book indicates it “is sure to keep you up reading all night.” Well, I’m too old to stay up all night, but I did stay up much later than usual to finish this compelling read.

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