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At The Breakers: A Novel

by Mary Ann Taylor-Hall

Availablecloth$24.95 978-0-8131-2542-8
Kentucky Voices
352 pages  Pubdate: 03/06/2009  6 x 9  0

Literary fiction has presented readers with centuries of memorable women in trouble. Here, the author of the widely praised and beloved Come and Go, Molly Snow, Kentucky novelist Mary Ann Taylor-Hall, offers Jo Sinclair, a long-term single parent of four children. Fleeing an abusive relationship, she winds up in Sea Cove, New Jersey, in front of The Breakers, a salty old hotel in the process of renovation. In this unlikely setting, Jo finds a way to renovate herself, to reclaim the promising life that was derailed by pregnancy when she was fourteen. She impulsively convinces the owner to give her a job painting the rooms and settles in with her youngest child, thirteen-year-old Nick. A grand cast of characters wanders through this little world, among them Iris Zephyr, the hotel’s ninety-two-year-old permanent boarder; Charlie, a noble mixed breed dog; Wendy, Jo’s tough eighteen-year-old daughter, who has suffered most from her mother’s past mistakes; Marco, the nearby gas station owner, who bids fair to become her mother’s next mistake. Soon Victor Mangold, Jo’s former teacher, a well-known and exuberant poet, arrives on the premises to stir everything up, including Jo’s yearning for a life of art and committed love. At The Breakers is a deeply felt and beautifully written novel about forgiveness and reconciliation. Its heroine, put through the fire, comes out with a chance for happiness, if she can muster the faith, courage, and optimism to take that chance.

Mary Ann Taylor-Hall is a recipient of the Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writers" award. and the author of How She Knows What She Knows About Yo-yos (Sarabande), which received Foreword Magazine's Book of the Year Award, and Come and Go, Molly Snow (Norton). She is the recipient of a PEN/Syndicated Fiction Award and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kentucky Arts Council.

“At The Breakers is beautifully written, a deep exploration of the complex demands and joys and risks of all kinds of love.”--Kim Edwards, author of The Memory Keeper's Daughter

"A mother’s blood guilt runs the heart of this powerful novel. When it is at last resolved, a pale flower of happiness blooms, the best any of us can expect late in a rich, complicated life."--Sallie Bingham, author of Red Car: Stories

“There are many good reasons to read At the Breakers: the perfectly drawn setting (having grown up on the South Jersey Shore, I recognized it immediately), the careful handling of complex relationships between an imperfect mother and her grown daughters, and the vivid cast that populates the hotel; but what delights me most is the character of Victor Mangold, a kind poet with great joie de vivre, with whom I couldn't help falling in love.”—Ellen Bass, author of The Human Line and Mules of Love

"Mary Ann Taylor-Hall is a deeply gifted writer whose stories will change your life--don't miss anything she writes. Her carefully crafted characters in At The Breakers will extend and enrich your sense of family and connection/disconnection forever." --Naomi Shihab Nye, author of Going Going

"There’s wisdom in Taylor-Hall’s insistence that plunging into the depths of trust and as essential as it is risky. At the Breakers is as eloquent as it is joyous and intelligent." --L. Elisabeth Beattie, Louisville Courier-Journal

“The author of Come and GO, Molly Snow returns with a courageous, well-rendered novel about forgiveness and reconciliation. Its heroine, put through the fire, comes out with a chance for happiness—if she can muster the faith, courage, and optimism to take that chance.” --Joseph-Beth Booksellers Newsletter

“Taylor-Hall’s voice rings true and the characters are fully developed and intriguing. I didn’t want to end my visit to the world Taylor-Hall created. For me that’s a successful novel. A perfect read for the summer.” --Elizabeth Bright, Armchair Interviews

“This is a tale of reconciliation, forgiveness, hope and love written by one of Kentucky’s most intriguing writers.” --Larry Cox, Tucson Citizen

“Taylor-Hall creates a cast of characters . . . who are undeniably wonderful, casting a party that the reader does not want to miss, despite the pain and loneliness that accompany them. And the reason is that along with that pain comes companionship, kindness, empathy and the opportunity for love in its varying forms . . . . [Taylor-Hall’s] prose is as rhythmic and entrancing as the movements of the waves.” --Linda Hinchcliffe,Chevy Chaser

"At the Breakers presents a complex, often mystifying look at someone hoping to overcome past mistakes. Author Taylor-Hall . . . skillfully rides the contour of human emotions to provide a story of a character we really want to succeed." --Steve Flairty, Kentucky Monthly