CHANCE HARBOR

Holly Robinson

Catherine and Zoe are sisters, but even their mother, Eve, admits her daughters are nothing alike. Catherine is calm and responsible. Zoe is passionate and rebellious. Nobody is surprised when Zoe gets pregnant, drops out of college, and spirals into drug addiction.

One night Catherine gets a call from Zoe’s terrified daughter, Willow, saying her mother has abandoned her in a bus station and disappeared. Eve blames herself, while Catherine, unable to have children, is delighted to raise Willow as her own.

Now, five years later, Eve is grieving her husband’s death and making reluctant plans to sell the family’s beloved summer home on Prince Edward Island.

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Catherine and Zoe are sisters, but even their mother, Eve, admits her daughters are nothing alike. Catherine is calm and responsible. Zoe is passionate and rebellious. Nobody is surprised when Zoe gets pregnant, drops out of college, and spirals into drug addiction.

One night Catherine gets a call from Zoe’s terrified daughter, Willow, saying her mother has abandoned her in a bus station and disappeared. Eve blames herself, while Catherine, unable to have children, is delighted to raise Willow as her own.

Now, five years later, Eve is grieving her husband’s death and making reluctant plans to sell the family’s beloved summer home on Prince Edward Island. But a series of unexpected revelations will upend the family and rock three generations of women.

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  • NAL
  • Paperback
  • October 2015
  • 448 Pages
  • 9780451471505

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About Holly Robinson

Holly Robinson, an award-winning writer, has been a contributing editor to Ladies’ Home Journal and Parents, and her work has appeared in the Boston Globe, Good Housekeeping, and More, among other publications. She lives in northern Massachusetts with her husband and their five children.

Praise

“Oh the sneaky wonder of Chance Harbor by Holly Robinson. This book has the heart, intrigue, and secrets of Shakespeare but is written with the sensual prose or our time. If you are looking for a book that surprises all the way through, this is the book for you.”—Ann W. Garvin, author of The Dog Year

“Chance Harbor is a genuine, moving portrayal of the intricacies of relationships between sisters, mothers and daughters. Robinson’s skillful storytelling, smooth pacing and vivid characters combine to show us that no matter our secrets, misgivings and mistakes, compassion is the most precious human virtue. A truly authentic, engrossing story.”—Sonja Yoerg, author of House Broken and Middle of Somewhere

“Both heartbreaking and hopeful, Chance Harbor explores the depth of loyalty, commitment, and family bonds. . . .Beautifully written and full of real-life struggle, this is a first-class novel.”—RT Book Reviews

“Robinson specializes in emotionally potent ensemble fiction, featuring realistic characters in dramatic situations. The plot is intricate, with numerous narrators presenting their points of view, and the characters are sympathetic and realistically flawed. . .Robinson’s writing keeps getting better, and this exploration of family bonds and love in its many forms will appeal to mainstream-women’s-fiction fans.”—Booklist

Discussion Questions

Why do you think Catherine and Zoe turned out to be so different as sisters? Was it a matter of

biology, the way they were raised, or other factors?

Eve and her husband, Andrew, are both unfaithful during the course of their marriage. Do you think

they truly loved each other? Whose betrayal was greater?

When Russell became physically involved with his student, do you think he should have been

charged with a crime? Why or why not?

Sexual abuse affects many of the women in this novel. How do you think her sexual history impacted

Zoe? What about Willow and Nola, who both experienced abuse as children?

It’s never easy for the family of a substance abuser to know what steps to take to support a loved

one who’s struggling with addiction. In your opinion, who do you think parented Zoe more

effectively? Eve, who loved her unconditionally and continued giving her money? Or Andrew, who

thought they needed to take a tough- love approach and let Zoe sink or swim? What would you have

done, if Zoe were your daughter?

At two different points in the novel, Russell suggests that he and Catherine should live together

again, if only as roommates. Would you have let Russell move back if you were in Catherine’s

situation?

Did the novel end up the way you thought it should, or were you predicting a different resolution?

Do you consider this a “happy” ending?