Mini-Book Review — Haven Point

6 Mar

I meet monthly with a group of book-loving friends who read across genres. This month we read Haven Point by Virginia Hume, a multi-generational novel set primarily in fictional Haven Point, Maine, a mostly homogeneous enclave that promises safe freedom for the children of the summer visitors. The novel has two voices — Maren, a woman who marries into the enclave and her granddaughter Skye, who has an uneasy relationship with the privileged coastal community. Annie, the very present daughter of Maren and mother of Skye, is given voice through their recollections. There are a number of issues covered — alcoholism, infidelity, mental health. There is an over-arching theme of identity and the feeling of being other inside a group. The main characters are flawed and sometimes their insights into what is occurring are inaccurate — making them not really unreliable narrators, per se, but relatable to the reader. The book spans the years of WWII to the early 2000s with great details of the eras in which the story takes place. The book is what I would characterize as a mostly clean read as it is a general market offering.

I really enjoyed Haven Point and am looking forward to discussing it with my friends.


Audience: adults.

(I purchased the Kindle edition from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

1944: Maren Larsen is a blonde beauty from a small Minnesota farming town, determined to do her part to help the war effort––and to see the world beyond her family’s cornfields. As a cadet nurse at Walter Reed Medical Center, she’s swept off her feet by Dr. Oliver Demarest, a handsome Boston Brahmin whose family spends summers in an insular community on the rocky coast of Maine.

1970: As the nation grapples with the ongoing conflict in Vietnam, Oliver and Maren are grappling with their fiercely independent seventeen-year-old daughter, Annie, who has fallen for a young man they don’t approve of. Before the summer is over a terrible tragedy will strike the Demarests––and in the aftermath, Annie vows never to return to Haven Point.

2008: Annie’s daughter, Skye, has arrived in Maine to help scatter her mother’s ashes. Maren knows that her granddaughter inherited Annie’s view of Haven Point: despite the wild beauty and quaint customs, the regattas and clambakes and sing-alongs, she finds the place––and the people––snobbish and petty. But Maren also knows that Annie never told Skye the whole truth about what happened during that fateful summer.

Over seven decades of a changing America, through wars and storms, betrayals and reconciliations, Haven Point explores what it means to belong to a place, and to a family, which holds as tightly to its traditions as it does its secrets.

Virginia Hume is a freelance writer and editor. Her early career was spent in politics and affairs. She lives outside Washington, D.C. with her husband, their daughters and an under-groomed bichon named Chester.