WHAT COMES AFTER THE MOMENT THAT FOREVER CHANGES YOUR LIFE?
This is the question that haunts Julia Bechtel, Noah Prine, and Kim Colella, the only survivors of a terrible boating accident off the coast of Maine that claimed the lives of nine other people.
Julia, a forty-year-old wife and mother, has always taken the path of least resistance. Pigeonholed by her controlling family and increasingly distant husband as "loyal" and "obedient," she realizes in the aftermath of her brush with death that there is more to her -- and to the world around her -- than she ever imagined.
Feeling strangely connected to Noah, the divorced, brooding lobsterman who helped save her life, and to Kim, a twenty-one-year-old whose role in the accident and subsequent muteness are a mystery, Julia begins to explore the unique possibilities offered by the quiet island of Big Sawyer, Maine. Suddenly, things that once seemed critical lose significance, and things that seemed inconsequential take on a whole new importance. With each passing moment, each new discovery, Julia grows more sure that after coming face-to-face with death, she must have more from life.
Resolving to make things right for the future and drawing on an inner strength she never knew she possessed, Julia passionately awakens to a new world, fearlessly embracing uncertainties in a way she couldn't have imagined only a few weeks ago.
Set in a beautifully rendered island off the coast of Maine, where lobstermen leave with the tides each morning to haul and reset their traps, and neighbors gather each night to feast on the catch of the day, Barbara Delinsky's The Summer I Dared is a deeply moving story of the risky but rewarding search for self, a story of survival, and of the irrepressible ability of the human spirit to rebound from disaster and to create life anew.
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May 03, 2004
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Excerpt from The Summer I Dared by Barbara Delinsky
The Amelia Celeste was born a lobster boat. An elegant lady, she ran a proud thirty-eight feet of mahogany and oak, from the graceful upward sweep of her bow, down her foredeck to the wheelhouse, and, on a straight and simple plane, back to her stern. True to the axiom that Maine lobstermen treat their boats with the same care as their wives, the Amelia Celeste had been doted on by Matthew Crane in much the way he had pampered the flesh-and-blood Amelia Celeste, to whom he had been married for forty years and on whose grave every Friday he continued to lay a dozen long-stem roses, even twelve long years after her death.
Matthew had the means. His grandfather had made a fortune logging, not only the vast forests of northern Maine but the islands in its gulf that bore trees rather than granite. He had built the family home on one of those evergreen islands, aptly named Big Sawyer. Two generations later, Crane descendants were equally represented among the fishermen and the artists who comprised the core of the island's year-round residents.
Matthew was a fisherman, and for all his family money, remained a simple man at heart. His true delight, from the age of sixteen on, had been heading out at dawn to haul lobster traps from the fertile waters of Penobscot Bay. A purist, he continued to use wooden traps even when the rest of the local fleet had switched to ones made of wire mesh. Likewise, he would have died before trading in his wood-hulled boat for a newer fiberglass one, which would have been lighter and faster. Matthew didn't need speed. He lived by the belief that life was about the "doing," not the "done." As for gaining a few miles to the gallon with a lighter boat, he felt that in a business where no two days were alike, where the seas could change in a matter of minutes and abruptly unbalance two men hauling loaded traps up over the starboard rail, the stability of the Amelia Celeste was worth gold. And then there was the noise. Wood was a natural insulater. Cruising in the Amelia Celeste was quiet as no fiberglass craft could be, and quiet meant you could hear the gulls, the cormorants, the wind, and the waves. Those things brought him calm.