The Ocean House: Book summary and reviews of The Ocean House by Mary-Beth Hughes

The Ocean House

by Mary-Beth Hughes

The Ocean House by Mary-Beth Hughes X
The Ocean House by Mary-Beth Hughes
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Book Summary

Faith, a mother of two young children, Cece and Connor, is in need of summer childcare. As a member of a staid old beach club in her town and a self-made business consultant, she is appalled when her brother-in-law sends her an unruly, ill-mannered teenager named Lee-Ann who appears more like a wayward child than competent help.

What begins as a promising start to a redemptive relationship between the two ends in a tragedy that lands Faith in a treatment facility, leveled by trauma.

Years later, Faith and her mother, Irene, visit Cece in college. A fresh-faced student with a shaved head and new boyfriend, Cece has become a force of her own. Meanwhile, her grandmother, Irene, is in the early stages of dementia. She slips in and out of clarity, telling lucid tales of her own troubled youth. Faith dismisses her mother's stories as bids for attention. The three generations of women hover between wishful innocence and a more knowing resilience against the cruelty that hidden secrets of the past propel into the present.

Including stories from an array of characters orbiting Faith's family, The Ocean House weaves an exquisite world of complicated family tales on the Jersey Shore. In ever-tender and elegant prose, Mary-Beth Hughes masterfully explores the emotional consequences of loss and the saving graces of love.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Rich with detail and unexpected phrasing, Hughes' prose illuminates her dark emotional terrain. Grief-stricken yet beautiful portraits of fractured lives." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[A]rresting...Hughes is a careful reader of her characters, and she captures their small, easy-to-miss moments of humanity through life's vicissitudes. These stories pack a punch." - Publishers Weekly

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Author Information

Mary-Beth Hughes

Mary-Beth Hughes is the author of the bestselling novel Wavemaker II, a New York Times Notable Book, and the acclaimed collection Double Happiness, which earned a Pushcart Prize. Her latest book, The Loved Ones, was a New York Times Editors' Choice. Her stories have been published in The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Georgia Review, and A Public Space. She lives in Brooklyn and Rhinebeck, New York.

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