THE SILVER BOAT

Luanne Rice

Bestseller Luanne Rice returns with a novel as timeless as the sea on which it’s set.

From the beloved New York Times bestselling Luanne Rice comes a heartwarming yet heart-wrenching portrait of three far-flung sisters who come home to Martha’s Vineyard one last time. Their mother’s beach house is the only place any of them ever found true happiness and they need to begin the difficult process of letting go. Memories of their grandmother, mother, and their Irish father, who sailed away the year Dar turned twelve, rise up and expose the fine cracks in their family myth-especially when a cache of old letters reveals enough truth to send them back to their ancestral homeland.

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Bestseller Luanne Rice returns with a novel as timeless as the sea on which it’s set.

From the beloved New York Times bestselling Luanne Rice comes a heartwarming yet heart-wrenching portrait of three far-flung sisters who come home to Martha’s Vineyard one last time. Their mother’s beach house is the only place any of them ever found true happiness and they need to begin the difficult process of letting go. Memories of their grandmother, mother, and their Irish father, who sailed away the year Dar turned twelve, rise up and expose the fine cracks in their family myth-especially when a cache of old letters reveals enough truth to send them back to their ancestral homeland.

Transplanted into the unfamiliar, each sister sees life, her heart, and her relationship to home in a new way. But how do they let go of a place that contains the complicated love of their imperfect family? Without the house, where will they be together?

The novel is a season on Martha’s Vineyard; a mission to Ireland; a cast of friends, including one wildly off-the-grid Zen genius; passionate love in the surf; and three very different sisters with lives filled with beauty, sorrow, and deep love they’d never been quite sure they could trust. The Silver Boat is Luanne Rice at her very best, complete with her singular talent for capturing a family in all its flawed complexity.

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  • Penguin
  • Paperback
  • May 2012
  • 336 Pages
  • 9780143121039

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$16.00

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About Luanne Rice

Luanne Rice is the author of twenty-six novels. She lives in New York City and Old Lyme, Connecticut.

Praise

"Popular Rice, in her mellifluous style, captures the essence of family and sisterhood as each character deals with love and loss."Patty Engelmann, Booklist

"…will strike a chord in every mother, daughter, or sister."Marie Claire

Discussion Questions

Which boat is the one referred to in the title? How does it drive the events of the novel?

Discuss the ways in which their father’s abandonment played out in the lives of each of the three sisters. What does the trip to Ireland represent for each of them?

Michael McCarthy loved his daughters, yet he felt compelled to leave them to find and claim his rightful legacy. Do you believe a mother would have left her children under the same circumstances? Do most men today still feel they need to be their families’ main provider?

Dar’s and Pete’s respective experiences with alcoholism and drug addiction wreak damage beyond their individual lives. How does a history of substance abuse affect a family?

Would Dar have been an artist and writer if her father had not abandoned them? Is suffering an inherent part of the creative process?

Why did it mean so much to Cathleen McCarthy to meet Dar and her sisters? How does that affect them? Does the fact that their father had an affair with Cathleen diminish your opinion of him? Why or why not?

“Hence Bluepool’s waving groves delight/Amuse the fancy, please the sight/And give such joy as may arise/From sylvan scenes and azure skies/The weary here in safe repose/Forgetting life’s attendant woes/May sit secure, serene and still/And view with joy yon famed hill” (pp. 161 – 164). How does this poem—partially quoted by Cathleen and engraved on the Dalua Bridge—tie into the novel?

“‘No, it’s not that,’ she said quickly. But he saw her look around. He felt how ashamed she was of all this, and was ready to drop it, just drive her home” (p. 222). Was Pete correctly interpreting Delia’s feelings about going with him to the AA meeting? Why is it important to him that she be there?

“‘Dear R & D, I know it’s beside the point, but we now have an offer from the Rileys. I took the liberty of burning it'” (p. 248). Of the three sisters, only Dar wants to keep Daggett’s Way. Rory and Delia see it as a beloved white elephant and imagine how helpful the money from its sale could be for their families. Might Dar feel differently if she had children of her own? If you are a parent, did your priorities change once your child was born? How?

What role does Harrison play in the novel? Why does he choose to live “off the grid” in Martha’s Vineyard over a more conventional life elsewhere?

Ultimately, the sisters decide to sell Daggett’s Way, but donate the even more valuable land grant. Why?