Margaret from Maine by Joseph Moninger
Published by Plume, an imprint of Penguin
Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Margaret Kennedy’s husband, Thomas, is a war veteran who was injured in Iraq and will never be the person he once was. In fact, he’s basically in a vegetative state and the doctors don’t believe he will ever get better. Margaret still finds joy in her life, though, working on the farm her father-in-law owns and taking care of her young son, Gordon. When the President signs a bill in support of wounded veterans, Margaret is invited to the capital for the gala that follows. Charlie King, a Foreign Service officer, volunteers to escort her to the event, and when Margaret accepts his offer she has no idea what she’s getting herself into. Before she knows it, she’s head over heels in love with Charlie and faced with an awful decision to make.
I tried really hard to like this book. Honestly, I put my best effort into it. Unfortunately, I found myself loathing the time I spent with it, and even though I did finish the thing, I can’t come even close to recommending it. I’ll try to explain why without being too harsh and relatively quickly. Here we go.
First of all, the entire premise is incredibly unrealistic. I get the love at first sight thing but this was insanely quick. Margaret and Charlie knew each other for all of ten minutes before they were completely in love and in my opinion that just doesn’t happen. I get that a lot of romance novels have that crazy fast-paced thing happening but this was WAY fast.
Also, the writing felt clunky and awkward, the dialogue was just weird, and I had a difficult time really getting into the feel of the book and connecting to any of the characters. The novel is set in the present day but the way it was written gave it a much older feel (1950’s is what I was thinking while reading it).
The book tries to say big, important things about war in general, about whether the current war or any war is worth the countless lives lost, and also about the care we give to our wounded veterans, but ultimately I felt like it simply tried to say those things and didn’t make the points clearly or forcefully enough to really say much at all. Also, the ending was sort of good. But besides that, there was so much I didn’t like about Margaret from Maine that I can’t recommend it. Unless you REALLY like romance and are willing to overlook everything else. In that case, by all means! Enjoy.
Overall, even though I tried to like this book, it’s so not my cup of tea.