In anticipation of spending a summer on an island off the coast of Maine, I apparently bookmarked a site that had a category “Fiction Set in Maine.” I just found the bookmark today while looking for something else. Who knew you could simply Bing the words “fiction set in (wherever)” and you’d get a comprehensive booklist.
Why would you look for such a list? Well in my case it was a romantic notion; something to motivate me to find the rental of my dreams and have the summer of my life, painting, exploring, and eating lobster – all the things one might imagine doing on an island in the north Atlantic. I found many of my reads written by women. Several were about women living alone; some looking for and finding love, while others were content to stay independent, or change careers. I remember several protagonists challenging their own frailties, and others just finding the strength within to live lives many men would shy from.
While on the island I met a cousin of Linda Greenlaw (fisher/lobsterwoman, sea captain, and hysterically funny author of The Lobster Chronicles. She also wrote The Hungry Ocean.) This cousin shares more than DNA with her affection for the ocean and adventure, running a Women-Only sailing academy on Bailey Island, and then returning to St. Augustine in the summer. I have a goal to get back to Maine again and take that week-long class. Her card is still in my wallet.
If there is a region, or a country, or an island, that so intrigues you to the point you desire to immerse yourself into its history, both real and fictional, try a similar search and then look for reviews on the ones that piqued your interest. Before you know it, you’ll feel like you’re in familiar surroundings with each new book you read. And then go there…
My recommendations:The Secret Life of Lobsters, Trevor Corson The Lobster Chronicles, Linda Greenlaw The Cider House Rules, John Irving Empire Falls, Richard Russo Lost and Found, Jacqueline Sheehan That Camden Summer, LaVyrle Spencer The Beans of Egypt, Maine, Carolyn Chute A Year By The Sea, Joan Anderson (Not quite Maine, but close enough)