Monday, October 5, 2015

"Chance Harbor"

Novelist, journalist and celebrity ghost writer Holly Robinson is the author of several books, including The Gerbil Farmer's Daughter: A Memoir and the novels The Wishing Hill, Beach Plum Island and Haven Lake. Her new novel is Chance Harbor. Robinson's articles and essays appear frequently in publications such as Cognoscenti, The Huffington Post, More, Parents, Redbook and dozens of other newspapers and magazines. She and her husband have five children and a stubborn Pekingese. They divide their time between Massachusetts and Prince Edward Island, and are crazy enough to be fixing up old houses one shingle at a time in both places.

Robinson applied the Page 69 Test to Chance Harbor and reported the following:
Readers skimming page 69 of my new novel, Chance Harbor, would be dropped smack in the middle of an emotional storm. The novel is told from three points of view: Catherine, who has a loving husband, a steady job, and a daughter she adopted when her sister disappeared; Eve, her mother, who is dealing with devastating memories of her own as she prepares to sell the family’s beach house on Prince Edward Island; and Willow, the teenager Catherine adopted when she was only ten, who is still mourning the disappearance of her mom—nobody knows whether she's dead or alive—and has questions about her father.

On page 69, Eve has just discovered that her daughter Catherine's husband, Russell, has not only been having an affair with one of the students at his tony prep school, but has gotten her pregnant. Her reaction is immediate and visceral:
Eve's sudden fury propelled her across the kitchen floor so fast that it felt like she'd flown across it, her feet not even touching the floor. She grabbed Russell's shirt collar and hauled him to his feet. He raised his arms in protest, then dropped them when he saw her expression.

“Get out,” she said, not shouting, but issuing the words in a way that made Russell flinch.
What I love about this scene is that it conveys a woman's profound love for her child, even though her child is an adult woman now, and makes it clear that no man is a match for a woman's need to protect her child. This scene also causes us to wonder what will happen to the characters beyond this page because they're all in such deep conflict. I hope that the tension here keeps readers turning pages to find out.
Learn more about the book and author at Holly Robinson's website and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: The Wishing Hill.

The Page 69 Test: Beach Plum Island.

Coffee with a Canine: Holly Robinson & Leo.

--Marshal Zeringue