Friday, September 3, 2010

The House on Oyster Creek

The House on Oyster Creek, by Heidi Jon Schmidt.

She was probably right: The oystermen were fighting a losing battle - it was a romantic notion that you could farm the edge of the sea, live by the tides, and really make a living at it. Farmers never made a decent living ... Certainly the dairy farmers she'd grown up among had suffered one hard time after another, and without government milk subsidies, she'd hate to think. But to be able to say, "I raise oysters," was a little like being able to say you were a mom, or that you wrote a column for the East Village Mirror - there was not much outward glory in it, but at the end of the day you could be proud for what you'd done.

This is the first novel by Heidi Jon Schmidt that I have read and it was very good. The main character, Charlotte Tradescome, has a husband who is 20 years older than her and a small child, Fiona, and they decide to move from New York City to a house he inherits in Wellfleet, Masschusetts, near Cape Cod. She meets Darryl there, an oyster farmer, and sparks fly between them; he is her age but unmarried, but she still feels bound by her marriage to Henry. Meanwhile, Charlotte has sold off part of their land to another "washashore" (out-of-town) couple, and they are making changes to it that not all of the townspeople agree with.

The ending was a bit surprising to me and it's rare to see a type of romance in a novel that ends up like Charlotte and Darryl's.

4 stars out of 5.

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