On two remote islands off the coast of Maine - Courne Haven and Fort Niles - generations of local lobstermen have fought each other over who has the right to fish the waters that divide them. Their unlikely saviour is eighteen-year-old Ruth Thomas, a smart, resilient, irredeemably romantic woman who avoids her destiny with a passion that serves ...
On two remote islands off the coast of Maine - Courne Haven and Fort Niles - generations of local lobstermen have fought each other over who has the right to fish the waters that divide them. Their unlikely saviour is eighteen-year-old Ruth Thomas, a smart, resilient, irredeemably romantic woman who avoids her destiny with a passion that serves only to draw it closer to her.'Finding an Austen heroine in a lobster boat - an irreverent and observant young woman, reeking of bait - is one of many delights delivered by Elizabeth Gilbert in Stern Men, her beautifully wrought and very funny novel' Mirabella 'Ruth loves her island with a heroine's passionate wisdom, but she falls in love with a boy from the enemy island, the enemy clan...There's Romeo and Juliet in the drama of the young lovers' - "Los Angeles Times". 'Elizabeth Gilbert has been described by Annie Proulx as a 'writer of incandescent talent'. She justifies this assessment in "Stern Men"...Gilbert's poise in constructing a plot and her feeling for her characters make it a worthy successor to Pilgrims which won a series of first-fiction awards' - "Glasgow Herald".
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Publishers Weekly, 2000-03-20 Set on two fictitious islands in northern Maine during the 1970s, this first novel by the author of a sparkling story collection, Pilgrims, begins slowly but warms up with smart, sassy humor. Isolated from the mainland by 20 miles of sea, but separated from each other only by a small channel, the islands of Fort Niles and Courne Haven should be natural allies, sharing the local lobster industry. Instead, the two communities are old enemies, torn apart by centuries of hostile, occasionally violent competition among their territorial lobstermen. Ruth Thomas, daughter of one of Fort Niles's most cutthroat lobstermen, has returned home after four years at a private girls' school, determined both to resist her rich grandfather's plans to send her to college and to find her place among the island's rough-spoken personalities. Both propositions prove more difficult than the headstrong romantic expects. As Gilbert charts Ruth's attempts to decide her future, she introduces a strong dose of lobster lore and a large cast of sly villains and oddball characters. Her prose is as light-hearted and amusing as ever, though some narrative twists lack the emotional resonance of her previous work and several characters seem hemmed in as caricatures. Ruth's meeting with her estranged mother is smoothed over in an anticlimactic fashion, blunting the power of the scene, and her offbeat coming-of-age story gets going only a third of the way through the book. Nonetheless, Gilbert's comic timing grows sharper in the second half, and her gift for lively, authentic dialogue and atmospheric settings continually lights up this entertaining, and surprisingly thought-provoking, romp. 5-city author tour. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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