HAVEN POINT - Virginia Hume
St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 978-1250266521
June 2021

Washington D.C. and Haven Point, Maine - 1944 to 2008

The seemingly idyllic spot known as Haven Point along the Maine coast has been home to generations of families who have summered there. For Maren Demarest, it started out as the summer home of her husband's family, a place she had to grow accustomed to. Coming from a Midwest farming background, Maren was not used to the upper crust lifestyle that this enclosed community held to. But, as the years went by, taking her children to Maine to avoid the sweltering Washington D.C. weather, Maren felt that she was almost fitting in. She had a few close friends who understood her mother-in-law's alcoholism, as well as her father-in-law's miserable treatment of his wife. Maren's husband, Oliver, a surgeon who maintained his practice in D.C., came up on weekends. Now, it is home to Maren. Her in-laws are dead, her husband has passed away, and now her daughter, Annie, is gone. The one who will inherit Four Winds, the Demarest home in Haven Point, will be Skye, Annie's daughter, hopefully.

Maren and Oliver met at Walter Reed Army Hospital in 1944. A Cadet Nurse Corps member, Maren had come from Minnesota to do her duty. She met Oliver in the amputee ward where he was treating several of the patients she cared for. They started dating, and, despite Oliver being pursued by   Haven Point girls, he asked Maren to marry him. To say that she was readily accepted at the Maine community was stretching it a bit, but Maren didn't let the snobbery get to her, well, too much anyway. She and Oliver had three children. Billy, the eldest, Annie, and Charlie. All three loved Haven Point for its freedom, for the sailing, and the friends they made. But an event happened when Annie was in her late teens that made Haven Point a place she would avoid forever.

Skye, Annie's only child, grew up with the feeling that Haven Point is not a place her mother ever loved. Visiting her grandparents there, Skye wasn't sure she was accepted despite the Demarest name (Skye's mother never told her who her father was). Most of the time when she visited Maine, it was because her mother was back in rehab, so Skye was never sure who in Haven Point knew what about her life. And she would never reveal why she was there or where her mother was. Her loyalty was to her mother, no matter what. As an adult, Skye wanted to be a writer, but ended up working in Washington D.C. for a politician in order to be closer to her mother. Skye always felt that she had to be there to pick her mother up when things went wrong. But she couldn't be there all of the time. 

A multi-generational story, HAVEN POINT is a debut novel for author Virginia Hume. The characters are so real, so understandable, that it's not difficult to lose yourself quickly in this book. If readers have never been to the coast of Maine, the beautiful descriptions of its rocky shores will give the perfect vision. Maren's feelings of alienation at first are not far from the truth when it comes to New Englanders' ability to take time to warm up to strangers. But strong friendships are made, and Maren realizes what is at the heart of this community. Annie's avoidance is made clear eventually, but will Skye ever warm to the Haven Point life? 

A romance, a mystery, a story of life, HAVEN POINT is a terrific way to start off the summer reading time.

Jani Brooks