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Estelle: Returning to Shore by Corinne Demas

Returning to Shore by Corinne DemasReturning to Shore by Corinne Demas ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: March 8, 2014
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Pages: 208
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: parents, summer, remarriages
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley! (Thanks!)

Summary: Clare is not exactly thrilled with her mother’s decision to marry for the third time. Thankfully (or not?) her mom is off to her fancy honeymoon and Clare is off to spend a summer in a seaside town with her father, a man she hasn’t seen since she was 3 years old. She’s not exactly what is in store for her summer, if her and her father will even get along. But without much choice, she’s about to find out.

There was something so quiet about Returning to Shore. Not many action packed scenes, instead the distant lap of the tide in the background as a father unsteadily attempted to bridge a gap with his estranged daughter, teaching her the routines of the sea turtles and hence, his research in the small town he grew up in.

Clare was already filled with emotions on her way to Cape Cod. Not only was she not entirely thrilled with her mom’s new pick for a husband but she was also mourning the loss of a yet another person in her life. Someone her mom chose to leave; someone Clare wished to be a “real” daughter to. Even though there was a lot of feeling to go around at the start of Returning to Shore, Corinne Demas gave us a character wading through her all this change and uncertainly in a thoughtful, calmly-paced manner.

Even when Clare was suddenly in a car with her father, Richard, and living in his home for the summer, the situation was  never highly dramatic. Instead the two danced around one another, slowly getting to know who the other had become. The bond between them was gradual and almost so silent, you had to really pay attention to see that it was happening. Clare was super insightful and also very careful but I also applauded her when she openly asked for honesty from Richard. She didn’t go into a summer with him thinking there would be a happily ever after, but she wasn’t against having a relationship with him either.

Returning to Shore explored acceptance, rediscovering connections, and love in this vividly painted portrait of a summer between two people who are essentially strangers, learning to be a father and a daughter. I’m not sure if this book would be everyone’s cup of tea but it felt like a surprise gem in my pile of books. So much observation and feeling packed into a short novel laced with purposeful scenes and lots to learn about the wonderful sea turtle (and how their behaviors can sometimes parallel our own).

There was one thing I was left to wonder (and hoped to be true): would Clare’s relationship with her mother change once she returned home?

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March 1, 2014 - 2:54 pm

Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages - I think I told you this, but Corinne Demas was a professor at my college and I took my first year seminar course with her. I’ll keep certain thoughts to share with you over DM or in person, but I think it’s interesting to this book because the class I took with her was called Daughters and it explored the relationships of daughters and mothers (I think it was mothers and not mothers and fathers, but the class was 11.5 years ago and I don’t really remember). I had requested this book on NetGalley and was declined, but then the publisher approved me for a few other titles on EW (including ones I was declined for on NG), but I didn’t request this one because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read a book by Demas. You make me want to read it, though.

February 27, 2014 - 3:11 pm

Alexa S. - I hadn’t heard of RETURNING TO SHORE before reading your review, but it sounds like a book I could love. It’s always interesting for me to read novels that explore the relationships between parents and children (particularly with fathers), so I do love that aspect! Plus, quieter would be different from in-your-face, which is a lot of what I’m reading these days. Thanks for getting this on my radar!

February 24, 2014 - 11:45 am

Lucy @ The Reading Date - You are so right to call this a surprise gem! I just finished this book a few days ago and liked it a lot. Loved watcher the father-daughter bond develop throughout the book, and the picturesque setting. Lovely book and lovely review.

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