TLC Book Tour: The Vineyard

The Vineyard by Michael Hurley

Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 25, 2014 by Ragbagger Press
$16.95 (CAD)
Note: As a tour host selected by TLC virtual book tours, I received a complimentary copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are completely honest and completely my own.
The Vineyard is the story of three college friends coming together for the summer ten years after graduation. The lives of Dory, Charlotte, and Turner have not turned out the way that they’ve hoped. Dory Delano comes from old money and has a beautiful estate on Martha’s Vineyard. She invites her friends to summer with her—she thinks that’s just the cure that’s in order.  

When they arrive, they come in contact with a mysterious fisherman. Some even think he might  be dangerous. Whoever he is, his presence on the island sparks and fuels a myth. And changes the lives of these three women forever. 
It only took a few pages to draw me in. I was immediately empathetic to the plight of Charlotte. Her pain and depression over her daughter’s fate is very compelling. This trend continues with Dory and Turner, the other protagonists, as they are individually introduced. 
The writing in this novel is very good and the characters are very well drawn. Each of these three women is quite different. They have each grown in different ways and are reconnecting after ten years. This summer on the Vineyard means something different to each of them. They all bring their own baggage, both literal and metaphorical, and seek to unpack it with their friends. 
Charlotte is a grieving mother who lost her young daughter to cancer two years before. She wants nothing more than to be able to bury her unbaptized child on consecrated ground. Turner is an insecure blogger who thrives on salacious attention from men. Dory is a wealthy socialite who doesn’t know how to be anything else. 

On the night that Charlotte arrives, she plans to commit suicide so that she might join her daughter. When she gets to the summer house, she finds a shopping list from Dory, with instructions to seek out a mysterious fishermen who somehow manages to catch loads of delicious jumbo shrimp when the rest of the fishermen have been coming up empty handed all season. Charlotte does as instructed. Her strange encounter with this man unknowingly alters the course of these three women’s lives forever.
I love a good story about the power of female friendship. While this was a major theme, it wasn’t the sole direction of the novel. The storyline of the fisherman played a large role, and it wasn’t in a way that I expected. Generally I love a good surprise and plot twist. However, this surprise was more of genre. I thought I was getting into a contemporary fiction about friendship—it was, however, also a religious/philosophical/supernatural book embodied by the prophetic fisherman Enoch. This was certainly an interesting story, but not something I would have sought out had I known what I was getting myself into. That being said, I really enjoyed the writing and the characters, as well as the different intersecting stories of Charlotte, Turner, and Dory. 
Here’s the book trailer: 

About Michael Hurley

Michael Hurley and his wife Susan live near Charleston, South Carolina. Born and raised in Baltimore, Michael holds a degree in English from the University of Maryland and law from St. Louis University.
The Prodigal, Michael’s debut novel from Ragbagger Press, received the Somerset Prize for mainstream fiction and numerous accolades in the trade press, including Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, ForeWord Reviews, BookTrib, Chanticleer Reviews, and IndieReader. It is currently in development for a feature film by producer Diane Sillan Isaacs. Michael’s second novel, The Vineyard, is due to be released by Ragbagger Press in December 2014.
Michael’s first book, Letters from the Woods, is a collection of wilderness-themed essays published by Ragbagger Press in 2005. It was shortlisted for Book of the Year by ForeWord magazine. In 2009, Michael embarked on a two-year, 2,200 mile solo sailing voyage that ended with the loss of his 32-foot sloop, the Gypsy Moon, in the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti in 2012. That voyage and the experiences that inspired him to set sail became the subject of his memoir, Once Upon A Gypsy Moon, published in 2013 by Hachette Book Group.
When he is not writing, Michael enjoys reading and relaxing with Susan on the porch of their rambling, one-hundred-year-old house. His fondest pastimes are ocean sailing, playing piano and classical guitar, cooking, and keeping up with an energetic Irish terrier, Frodo Baggins.
Find out more about Michael at his website and connect with him on Facebook.
Michael’s Tour Stops
Monday, November 3rd: Back Porchervations
Tuesday, November 4th: missris
Wednesday, November 5th: The Book Wheel
Thursday, November 6th: The many thoughts of a reader
Friday, November 7th: Book Journey
Monday, November 10th: Kritters Ramblings
Wednesday, November 12th: Book Loving Hippo
Wednesday, November 12th: Jorie Loves a Story
Thursday, November 13th: Lisa’s Yarns
Friday, November 14th: Open Book Society
Tuesday, November 18th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, November 19th: Read a Latte
Friday, November 21st: Read-Love-Blog
Monday, November 24th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Monday, November 24th: Book, Books Everywhere!
Tuesday, November 25th: Priscilla and Her Books
Wednesday, November 26th: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, November 28th: Fuelled by Fiction

TBD: Another Clean Slate

Happy Reading!