Maine's rugged, picturesque Monhegan Island is home to weathered lobster fishermen and curious tourists...a genial if sleepy group. But when Spark Monahan--rakish prodigal son--returns unannounced to the dilapidated family home, his arrival launches a summer the likes of which this quiet town has never seen.Read more...
Maine's rugged, picturesque Monhegan Island is home to weathered lobster fishermen and curious tourists...a genial if sleepy group. But when Spark Monahan--rakish prodigal son--returns unannounced to the dilapidated family home, his arrival launches a summer the likes of which this quiet town has never seen.
During Spark's absence, his young son Hally has been cared for by what remains of the Monahan family: Spark's gentle brother Hugh and their shrewd, fork-tongued father Pastor Ragnar. Pastor Ragnar has led them with an iron will and a unique religious ideology, while Hugh has been busy mending the scars of a tumultuous family history. Spark's reentry into the family is rocky; even as adolescent Hally warms to his father's flair for mischief, he struggles to define himself against this new paternal figure. Testing the limits with one dangerous prank after another, Hally suddenly stuns the entire island when he claims to have had a spiritual vision.
Though Spark remains permanently dubious about the alleged apparition, Pastor Ragnar pounces on the chance to revive his flagging church. Hally is shoved into the spotlight and, in the frenzy that follows, each man in the family fights for independence, understanding, and ultimately forgiveness against the tide of a phenomenon reaching far beyond the slippery slopes of their remote island home. Their unforgettable saga is narrated by the character best suited to sniff out the family's uneasy secrets: Spark's charismatic, fiercely loyal dog, Ned. Never at a loss for a quip on the stormy affairs of the Monahan family, Ned tells their larger-than-life story with humor and love from his uniquely privileged perspective.
An uproarious tale of an eccentric family of fathers and sons, The Miracle of Monhegan Island is another delightful summer blockbuster from Elizabeth Kelly.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-03-28
- Reviewer: Staff
Thirty-one-year-old Jessie “Spark” Monhegan returns to his dilapidated Maine home after leaving in a shroud of disgrace and secrecy. The house is still a residence to three other Monhegan males: Pastor Ragnor, Spark’s semideluded father; Hugh, his demoralized artist brother; and his Spark’s 13-year-old son, Hally, who is keen to discover the truth about his mother and Sparks’s apparent abandonment. Accompanying Spark on his journey is the dog-napped Ned—an intelligent, highly observant and intuitive three-year-old Shitzu—who also happens to be the charming and wise narrator. At once touching and humorous, Kelly’s (Apologize, Apologize!) story boasts a plethora of themes and an enticing plot, complete with suspenseful moments. The Monhegan men struggle to reconcile their past resentments, ongoing personality differences, and inner demons, amid small-town gossip. The transformation of fathers and sons is catalyzed by Hally’s vision of a woman in white—the encounter that Ragnor dubs the miracle on Monhegan Island and creates a fervent religious following. While Kelly’s multidimensional characters and descriptions—even the olfactory ones—are evocative and engaging, the winning element of this story is Ned’s voice, which provides an entertaining perspective on a dog’s life. (May)