In the synopsis, we learn that The Shore is a group of small islands in the Chesapeake Bay, just off the coast of Virginia, with…clumps of evergreens, wild ponies, oyster-shell roads, tumble-down houses, unwanted pregnancies, murder, and dark magic in the marshes. Sanctuary to some but nightmare to others, it’s a place that generations of families both wealthy and destitute have inhabited, fled, and returned to for hundreds of years.

So the story begins, and we are first introduced to two young girls, Chloe and Renee, and watch Chloe in the store, trying to get bait so she and her sister can catch crabs for dinner. The descriptions of Chloe and her life were awesome, and I settled in for a great tale.

But then we meet some other characters, and then more characters…and as each vignette took us into other worlds, with some appealing and others, not so much, I started to lose focus.

Sweeping across time and back again, the author shows many such characters, but none quite so appealing to me as Chloe.

Then we meet Medora, in the 1800s…and I was hooked again. A half-Shawnee woman, with special medicinal talents and a determination to rise above her childhood abuse…she really grabbed my attention, and then I kept waiting for her story to reappear.

The author did a great job of showing us the setting and making the reader feel a part of it. And the darkness of the characters’ lives didn’t bother me, but the numerous cast of characters and the veering back and forth through time did….I was lost. And then decided to forget about taking notes and just try to enjoy each “story,” which worked out better.

The Shore: A Novel was not an enjoyable book for me, but the themes and issues were definitely important ones. 3.5 stars.


  1. I actually saw this on Blogging For Books and thought about requesting it but now I’m not so sure. Have you read The Glass Castle? It was released in 2008 but I recently read it this year and loved it. It’s an autobiography that tells about a moving and thought-provoking story about an unconventional family. I think it’s my favorite memoir so far. 🙂


  2. This book is getting a lot notice right now. I’ll likely try it at some point, but I’m thinking I won’t rush. I did know that it was more like a short story collection rather than a novel.


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