‘It’s 1963. Twelve–year–old Florine Gilham is enjoying an idyllic summer in her Maine village — goofing off with her three best friends, baking bread with her grandmother, and swimming at the beach with her lively mom, Carlie, while her lobsterman father, Leeman, is busy making a living. Everything is as it should be until Carlie leaves for her annual weekend trip up the coast with her best friend, Patty. They have been gone two days when Patty calls to say that Carlie has gone missing.
As soon as they hear the news, Leeman launches a desperate search while Florine waits for news, both to no avail. Police conduct interviews and investigate suspects, the Coast Guard searches offshore, but nothing turns up. As summer passes into fall, and then winter, with no news or word from Carlie, it becomes obvious to Florine and her father that they must establish a new sense of normal. Lee takes up drinking to cope with his pain. Although the sincere support and offers of assistance from their neighbors help, it is clear that Florine and Leeman are the only ones who must learn to work through their loss and carry on.
Much to Florine’s chagrin, her father begins dating a former flame, Stella, and a relationship forms as she brings order back into Leeman’s life. But Florine resents this woman who has invaded her mother’s home — and she lets everyone know it. Florine is so upset at this development that she moves in with her unflappable grandmother.
Even as she expresses her outrage, Florine is swept along with the turbulent decade that was the 1960s. She discovers rock n’ roll, experiments with drinking and sex and, with the support of her friends, tries to formulate plans for life beyond high school. Isolated by her grief, the strong–willed and fiercely independent Florine continually tries to learn the truth about her mother. Nothing can stop her from believing, hoping, and praying that Carlie is still out there, even as her limited memories slip away.
Told through Florine’s point of view in her wry, wisecracking dialect, Morgan Callan Rogers’s debut novel is anchored by a lovable protagonist. Lyrical descriptions of the Maine landscape, where every tide and every snowfall touches its villagers, lends a dramatic backdrop to her characters’ authentic struggles. Engaging and quietly powerful, Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea is a beautiful, heartbreaking story about learning to live with loss.’
What can I say about this book? It made me cry three times! My poor husband came out of the bathroom to get into bed one night and there I sat in bed with my book all red eyed and puffy and he said what’s the matter are you sick? And I said no it’s Florine’s &#% (can’t tell you it would spoil the book:) and then I cried more and he thought I was nuts!
Every character in this book is well written. You immediately become invested in their lives. Its authentic, its Maine. I loved it. I didn’t want it to end. I don’t want to take the book back to the library. I can’t wait for another book by this author!
Monica Wood, author of Any Bitter Thing said ‘I loved spending time with Florine and I’m still thinking about her. She will break your heart and make you glad she did.’ And I can’t say it any better than that!
I loved the writing style and her way with words…
‘As the longest winter of my life dragged its ass across the calendar, I welcomed every minute of returning light, and I welcomed Bud’s visits to the car.’
‘Want a ride?’ he asked.
I ran around to the passenger side and jumped in. The whole inside was red and warm, like being inside someone’s mouth. I stroked the leather seat and looked around. I grinned at Bud.
‘When did you get it?’ I asked.
‘Just picked her up now. Runs like the tide’s chasing her into shore.’
‘We rode some more, for a long time. Sadness circled my side of the backseat, but I didn’t cry. I just watched the scenery fly by, thinking more about Daddy’s quiet, lonely search than I did about Carlie.’
‘Too tired to squeeze out any more emotion, I stumbled toward the ragged edge of sleep. Then I thought of something.
I got up and went to the window that looked across the road to Daddy’s house. I remembered the night I had stood out at the end of the driveway by the big white rock, feeling alone and unwanted. I recalled the way Grand had come for me, saying, “Oh for heaven’s sake, that’s not true. Now, I was sound asleep and I heard you crying and I woke right up. Guess that’s love, don’t you think?” Moonlight kissed the white rock with a pearly glow, then the clouds took back the moon, and it turned dark.’
Read it! If you don’t already love Maine, you will.