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Margreete's Harbor

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  367 ratings  ·  166 reviews
A literary novel set on the coast of Maine during the 1960s, tracing the life of a family and its matriarch as they negotiate sharing a home.

Margreete’s Harbor begins with a fire: a fiercely-independent, thrice-widowed woman living on her own in a rambling house near the Maine coast forgets a hot pan on the stovetop, and nearly burns her place down.

When Margreete Bright ca
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published April 20th 2021 by St. Martin's Press
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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  367 ratings  ·  166 reviews

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Angela M
Mar 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those novels that I didn’t want to end. I fell in love with the characters and now I’ll be wondering where the rest of their lives will take take them and if they are happy. It’s a beautifully written story of a family spanning over a decade from the mid 1950’s to the late 1960’s, a family whose ties are at times fragile. Liddie and her husband Harry uproot their two young children Bernie and Eva and move back to the home in coastal Maine where Liddie grew up. Her mother, Margreet ...more
Diane S ☔
Mar 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A story about a very special family, a mother, father, son and two daughters. This family is special though because they did something different. When Liddies mother burns up her kitchen and it becomes apparent she could no longer be trusted to live alone, she doesn't put her in a home. No instead, she and her husband uproot their family and move from Michigan to Maine to live in the large house with Margreete. They accept her just as she is, declining memory and all. They surround her with love ...more
Mar 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Margreete’s Harbor follows a three generation family as they deal with the grandmother’s worsening dementia. After Margreete burns down her kitchen, her daughter Liddie moves her family back to Maine so they can move in with her mother. The book begins in 1955 and follows the family for 13 years. We hear, in alternating chapters, from each member. We spend most of the story in their heads. There’s not a lot of action, in fact even when something does happen, it’s all about how it’s perceived.
Elyse  Walters
I didn’t gel well with “Margreete’s Harbor”. Unfortunately Eleanor Morse’s writing was not a great match for me.
It started out promising, on the coast of Maine, beginning with a kitchen fire, followed by heartfelt kindness from locals offering to help ‘Margreete’ who had dementia.

It soon switches to Margreete’s family who were living in Michigan. (for eight years - but Liddie, Margreete’s daughter still missed her hometown of Maine).
Liddie was cello player. Her husband, Harry, a school teacher
Mar 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
Well, I’m sad this over.
I haven’t had much time to read the past week but I’ve spent a little time with this family each day and looked forward to picking up where I left off.
Margreete lives in Burnt Harbor, Maine. She is losing her memory and had an accident where she set her kitchen on fire.
Her daughter Liddie lives in Michigan and packs up her family ... husband, children and dog and they all move back to Maine to live with Margreete.
I just loved the family and how they all lived together and
May 21, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Paula by: NetGalley

I always take an interest in a book that is set in Maine. We vacation there a few times a year. Margreet’s Harbor takes place on the Coast of Maine which is truly one of the most gorgeous parts of New England.

Set in the 1960’s, a mother sets her kitchen on fire. Her daughter, currently living in Michigan, decides it’s best if her family moves back to live with her mom, Margreete. The novel spans over 10 years and delves into balancing life’s pursuits and family. It’s about aging and the loss of
Mar 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
This was an unexpected powerful story. Set in the 1950s and 60s, the story focuses on a family in a coastal town, Burnt Harbor, Maine. Liddie and her husband Henry return go live in Liddie's family home, where Liddie's mother, Margreete, is developing dementia. There, Liddie and Henry raise their three children, while all keeping an eye out for Margreete. The family goes through ups and downs, sometimes at odds with each other, but still functioning as a complicated organic unit. The writing is ...more
Katie B
Mar 30, 2021 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

This book had some good moments here and there but it took me almost until the end before I started appreciating the story as a whole. So maybe not the best reading experience because I wasn't fully engaged at times, but overall I'm glad I read it.

It's the late 1950s and Margreete wants to maintain her independence even though she is becoming more and more forgetful. Her daughter Liddie is concerned her mom can't properly take care of herself. So Liddie, her husband, Harry, and their c
Holly R W
"Margreete's Harbor" is a gently drawn, intimate picture of a family living in Maine in the 1950's - 1960's. The book opens with Margreete's setting her home on fire, due to her increasing confusion. Her daughter (Liddie) decides that she and her husband and children need to move in with Margreete to ensure her safety. What follows is their life together in a rural part of Maine near the ocean.

The author writes beautifully in a nuanced way. Readers will get to know each member of the family, inc
May 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-books
Margreete’s Harbor by Eleanor Morse tells the story of ten years in the life of a family. Margreete, an elderly woman with decreasing faculties, almost burns down her house by accident. She does not want to leave her home on the coast of Maine so it is up to her adult daughter Liddie to move her family from Michigan to Margreete’s home. Her husband Harry and children Eva and Bernie will have to adapt to an entire new life. From the fifties to the sixties, this family will face many problems. The ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This novel unfolds slowly and not a lot happens but I took my time and enjoyed it. In Maine, Margreete almost burns her house down so her adult daughter decides to move her family in to help. Liddie, a cellist, has to abandon her string ensemble, and her husband Henry has to find a new teaching job. They have several kids who grow up somewhat through the novel, which spans from 1955-1968, and touches on the political events of the time in small ways.

The book came out April 20th, and I had a copy
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully crafted family drama that takes us back to America in the 50s and 60s. The catalyst is the growing senile behavior or Liddie’s mother, Margreete. Her deterioration brings Liddie and her family back to Maine from Michigan. This move sets the stage for the family saga, as it demonstrates the family values and trials of that time.

The children, Bernie, Eva and Gretchen are emblematic of this period of growing change and unrest. The family is influenced by the values of father,
Apr 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story about a family being pulled in all sorts of directions while still trying to stay connected.

“Words came from her mouth that she knew weren’t right the minute she said them, but the words she searched for fell down holes. She could see her blunders on the faces lifted to hers. The way strangers called her honey as though she was seven years old. The way they spoke loud to her as though she was deaf. She wasn’t deaf, she was haywire.” Margreete

I am always d
vicki honeyman
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This novel is on par with every literary novel I've read over the past 40 years that has remained a part of me. Beautifully written with an obvious love and admiration for strong families, the story is a microscopic unzipping of a family at the end of the 1950's and the tumultuous 1960's on their entire family structure. The story takes place on the nature-battered coast of Maine, in the home of Margreete, the matriarchal grandmother who the story is built around, and each member of the family's ...more
Jul 20, 2020 added it
I simply adored this book and hope it will become a classic of our times. Though it takes place during the 1950's and 60's it has a message that cannot be ignored. The simple, yet elegant writing style and the astute observations and actions of each character combined engage the reader fully. Each character could be someone we know; they are ordinary, yet each extraordinary in their approaches to life and situation.
Margreete herself is a vehicle for both humor and realism. How the family relates
Deanne Patterson
May 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Deanne by:
After having read Margreete's Harbor I have had my heart broken and healed both.
I am a better person for having read it.
Full of realistic characters, you won't be able to put it down!

Pub Date 20 Apr 2021
I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you.
All opinions expressed are my own.
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the time period and the family that was placed in it. This era w
I think for me that this was a hard book for me to read. Why you ask?
I feel that dementia is a hard thing to address. While I might not have any experience in that area I can't imagine what it must be like for the families that do. My heart went out to Margareet and her family.
There were places in the book that I wanted to cry because it was so very sad. In many cases in this story I even snickered at some of the sc
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
This is more a case study of a family than a book with a lot of action and plot. It starts out with an elderly woman, Margreete who lives in Maine, accidently setting her kitchen on fire which results in her daughter deciding to uproot her own family in Michigan to come to live with her. There are multiple viewpoints and struggles to adapt, but Margreete becomes a minor character.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC of this book.
May 18, 2021 rated it liked it
Oh my this is sad and has such low energy. She writes the individual's thoughts very well. But, and this is a big BUT- these people are very good intent people but don't seem bright or savvy or joyful or much of anything but morose and thoughtful. And absolutely Godless. Sad mounted on sad.

It's the exact period I remember well in another place. Being about 2 years older than Bernie here. Where is all the alcohol and partying adults? Honestly without tv or tech- or much of anything but radio- pe
ARC received courtesy of First Reads Giveaways

I loved this novel. It is such a heartbreakingly true picture of what a family is that I couldn't read much of it at a time as I savored each word. Eleanor Morse is a genius with words in this novel. Her descriptions of life in the 60's with all of that decade's tumult and divisions between people just made me think that we haven't changed all that much...sadly...

Margreete is an elderly woman suffering from dementia and living alone alo
Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was hooked from the opening chapter if this book- after her mother nearly burns her house down, Liddie is faced with a non-choice- She has to pack up her family and move back home to care for her mother. Her mother Margreeth had always been fiercely independent and though no longer of sound mind, resents her, her husband and her children’s presence in her life. Several years ago, as my own
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)

I'm abandoning this one at 60%.
If you want to read a great novel by this author, I recommend White Dog Fell From the Sky.
Lori Tatar
Nov 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an absolutely gorgeous story. It is so very real, so very anybody’s family, from the youngest daughter who is almost an afterthought to the grandmother with Alzheimer’s, these people are so relatable. Their lives are our lives.

The book explores sexuality, trust and sacrifice, war and ideologies. It examines family and loyalty in a deeply personal manner that is unique yet for each of us. With candor and the deepest insight, Eleanor Morse shows us how we live and that we are not alone.

Apr 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing

First off, I was a little bit annoyed when this beautifully written story about a wholesome family showed up on my dashboard so close to the archive date because I had to drop everything and read it immediately. I don't even remember requesting it--that's how long ago it took to arrive. I did really enjoy it anyway, so I am grateful to have read it. Basically this was one of those feel good stories about a wholesome family. That is not to say that the story didn
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Margreete’s Harbor is a tender story of Margreete’s daughter and family trying to balance their lives with their children, while Margreete is slowly losing her grasp on reality.
Eleanor Morse drew me into the story and kept me enthralled and pulling for this family to the end of the book.
This would make a great Lifetime Movie!
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
The setting is in Maine. The timeline is the 1960's at an unsettled period in history.
Margreete Bright's enitre family move into their mother's big, old home to assist her as her dementia progresses..
Margreete has come way to close to burning her home down, as well as often getting lost too many times.
Her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren are all moving in. It certainly will be a challenge!

Margreete is aware that she is not able to recall things easily and often is up all night searching
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is another book I didn't want to end! Several of the characters had such complex inner lives that everyday life was sometimes a challenge for them; I can fully identify with that. Margreete reminded me of my mother - both knew her mind was losing bits and pieces every day yet they were determined and stubborn and insisted on living their life on their terms until death arrived. Margreete was probably my favorite character (and the family dog), then Liddie and Bernie. It was remarkable how t ...more
Annette Geiss
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Margreete’s Harbor is a beautifully written novel of a family and its dynamics, turmoil, unconditional love and understanding and misunderstanding! Sound complicated? It is. Anyone with a family and extended family knows the equilibrium within its confines can be complex. This book touches on so many emotions and as the family grows, so do many problems but also many resolutions and solutions. Children come of age. Adults transition. But what remains constant, is the bond the family shares. I re ...more
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This novel is a beautifully written window into the lives of a young family in 1960s Maine. As the family struggles though issues such as infidelity, death, and sexual orientation, we are given a front row seat.
The author takes us into the minds of multiple characters, allowing us to witness life from multiple points of view, and experiencing what often end up being secrets hidden from the rest of the family.
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I did not expect to love this book, but I absolutely do.
I felt so connected with the characters and so invested in them.
Margareete herself is an amazing character. So hilarious and lovable and so, so sad. Then add in an entire family and a couple pets... each person had their own faults and I found myself loving them through it all.
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Eleanor Morse is the author of Margreete's Harbor, the most recent of four novels. White Dog Fell from the Sky was a Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week; An Unexpected Forest won the 2008 Independent Book Publisher's Award for best regional fiction and the 2008 Maine Literary Award. She is on the faculty of Spalding University's School of Creative and Professional Writing and lives on a small islan ...more

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