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 the 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 world–and each other.
Drowning seemed like the best option or, for that matter, the only option. Being an inveterate planner of all things, even the means and manner of her own death, Charlotte Harris had explored for a full year the various ways she might best do herself in. Every possibility always came back to the water and to this place. But now that she was finally here and making her final crossing to the island, the greenish-gray waves pushing ahead of the ferry across Vineyard Sound seemed too gentle—incapable, almost, of the kind of violence necessary to end a life.
. . . .
The pleated sundress she had chosen for “the occasion,” as she primly regarded her own death, was neatly pressed and folded in the valise stowed in the trunk of her car. It was her only luggage. On the ferry, the tiny Fiat was dwarfed by the enormous SUVs and minivans parked all around it. They needed to be big enough to land platoons of parents, children, dogs, and bicycles, and all the assorted materiel of summer for the annual assault on Martha’s Vineyard by the armies of New England. There was one couple, however, who looked out of place.
They were young—very young. The girl had a deep green tattoo across the small of her back that appeared and disappeared as her halter top rode up above her jeans. She was clinging like a wet dishtowel to the boy, who was better-looking than the girl, and as tall, lean, and hard as a light pole. Charlotte was thirty-two. She guessed the boy’s age and did the mental math. There was at least ten years’ difference between them, maybe more. A thread of imagination flashed briefly in her mind, then vanished. Five years ago, she might have . . .
. . . .
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. No objective was beyond her ability to shape reality to her ends. So, when Charlotte had unburdened herself of the story of her failed marriage over martinis during one of Dory’s excursions to Boston, Eudora Delano’s Search and Rescue Service had snapped into action.
Dory decided that Charlotte must stay with her on the Vineyard until she got over losing her child to cancer, as if that were even possible, and got over losing her husband to the contagion of indifference that followed, as if that were even necessary.
. . . .
Michael Hurley and his wife Susan live near Charleston, South Carolina. Born and raised in Baltimore, Michael holds a degree in English from the University of Maryland and law from St. Louis University.
The Prodigal, Michael’s debut novel from Ragbagger Press, received the Somerset Prize for mainstream fiction and numerous accolades in the trade press, including Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, ForeWord Reviews, BookTrib, Chanticleer Reviews, and IndieReader. It is currently in development for a feature film by producer Diane Sillan Isaacs. Michael’s second novel, The Vineyard, is due to be released by Ragbagger Press in December 2014.
Michael’s first book, Letters from the Woods, is a collection of wilderness-themed essays published by Ragbagger Press in 2005. It was shortlisted for Book of the Year by ForeWord magazine. In 2009, Michael embarked on a two-year, 2,200 mile solo sailing voyage that ended with the loss of his 32-foot sloop, the Gypsy Moon, in the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti in 2012. That voyage and the experiences that inspired him to set sail became the subject of his memoir, Once Upon A Gypsy Moon, published in 2013 by Hachette Book Group.
When he is not writing, Michael enjoys reading and relaxing with Susan on the porch of their rambling, one-hundred-year-old house. His fondest pastimes are ocean sailing, playing piano and classical guitar, cooking, and keeping up with an energetic Irish terrier, Frodo Baggins.
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