Excerpt from A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

A Pearl in the Storm

How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean

by Tori Murden McClure

A Pearl in the Storm
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2009, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2010, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Jo Perry

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Luckett Davidson had helped me with my nutritional plan. She was worried that, as a vegetarian, I’d have trouble getting enough protein. She added protein supplements to the vitamins she packed for each day. We consulted experts in sports nutrition, but the most helpful expertise came from Gérard d’Aboville. He told Luckett, "Just fill the boat with things she likes to eat. The trip will be three months. She can eat like a teenager, it will do no harm." With this, I took out the food list, crossed off the oatmeal PowerBars, and wrote in chocolate PowerBars.

For breakfast each day, I would eat some variety of granola. I didn’t plan to stop for lunch. Instead, I would graze on a variety of food bars throughout the day. In the middle of the afternoon, I would have some special snack. Crackers, nuts, candy—these snacks were not so much about nutrition as they were about breaking up the monotony of food bars. For liquid calories we packed powdered Gatorade, hot chocolate, and a variety of dried soups.

After dinner, I lashed down my oars and secured everything on deck. The wind blew from shore at about eighteen miles per hour, and the night sky looked as dark as a cavern. Soon a noisy thunderstorm overtook me. Rain beat down, and lightning darted from cloud to ocean. I climbed into my cabin, stretched out on the mat, and turned off the flashlight. As I lifted a knee it bumped against the ceiling, and a drop of cold water fell into my eye.

I lunged for the light. We’d constructed the roof from a 3/8- inch-thick sheet of mahogany plywood, reinforced with a layer of six-ounce fiberglass. Twelve brass bolts secured two solar panels to the roof. Rainwater dripped in through one of the bolt holes. That’s just great. My first day at sea and I have a leak already. Gérard had warned me about such things. "At sea in a boat, there is always something that needs repair. If you stop rowing every time you hear a squeak or some imperfection draws your attention, you will never reach France." Gérard had recommended I set aside Sunday mornings for such tasks. I’ll plug the leaky bolt on Sunday. With this issue settled in my mind, I rolled away from the annoying drip. I was twenty miles from shore. Once I entered the Gulf Stream, the current would be so powerful that it would be easier to row to France than it would be to row back to North Carolina. When Gérard rowed from the United States to France, he left from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, which is nine hundred miles closer to France. I picked North Carolina because it is closer to the Gulf Stream.

In the 1760s, while he was the postmaster general of North America, Benjamin Franklin noticed that American ships could make the journey from the colonies to England in an average of four weeks.

The average for English ships was six weeks. When Franklin investigated, he learned that Nantucket whaling captains had mapped a current of warm water that traveled north from Florida and the Carolinas before it turned northeast toward Europe. American sea captains knew enough to take advantage of this warm-water current going toward Europe and avoid it as they came home. I was counting on the Gulf Stream to push me two-thirds of the way across the Atlantic. Two British rowers, David Johnstone and John Hoare, had tried a similar route in 1966. Their boat reached Europe; the men did not. I had studied their scientific reasoning, and I believed it to be sound. Just because Johnstone and Hoare died doesn’t mean they were wrong. Right? To refine my research on the matter, I had taken a seminar on the Gulf Stream from Jenifer Clark, a distinguished scholar who maps ocean currents. Jenifer had convinced me that the benefits of rowing with the Gulf Stream would more than make up for the added distance. Gérard seemed less certain, but he didn’t debate the issue.

Excerpted from A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure. Copyright © 2009 by Tori Murden McClure. Excerpted by permission of Collins, a division of HarperCollins, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Here I Am
    Here I Am
    by Jonathan Safran Foer
    With almost all the accoutrements of upper middle-class suburban life, Julia and Jacob Bloch fit the...
  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain

An intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged inhabitants.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.