cover image Margaret from Maine

Margaret from Maine

Joseph Monninger. Penguin/Plume, $16 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-452-29868-2

Margaret Kennedy has been living on a down east farm for several years with her six-year-old son, Gordon. Her husband, Thomas, shot through the spine in Afghanistan, has been in a vegetative state for several years. Still, Margaret is content with her quiet life until Charlie King, a Foreign Service officer, arrives to escort her to a function in Washington, D.C. They have an instant connection and soon become lovers. Margaret puts off returning to Maine while taking a meandering road trip with Charlie and attempting to sort out her conflicting feelings. Her love for Charlie grows every day but she cannot ignore Thomas or the vow she made to him. Monninger astutely renders the tension in Margaret’s struggle between her heart and her belief in what’s right, but by the end, readers will puzzle over why she goes the direction she does and why her decision was so difficult. Margaret’s ultimate choice is a letdown; the conclusion seems contrived and diminishes the value of the story that Monninger crafted so well. Agent: Andrea Cirillo, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Jan.)