Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Book Review: Sailing Lessons by Hannah McKinnon

Pages: 384
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date:  June 5, 2018
Publisher: Atria
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: The Summer House
The Lake Season and Mystic Summer
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Wrenn Bailey has lived all her life on Cape Cod with her mother Lindy, older sister Shannon, and younger sister Piper. Growing up, life was dictated by the seasons with sleepy gray winters where only the locals stayed on, followed by the sharp influx and colorful bustle of summer tourists who swept up the elbow of the Cape and infiltrated their small paradise.  But it wasn’t just the tourists who interrupted Wrenn’s formative years; her father—brilliant but troubled photographer Caleb—has long made a habit of drifting in and out of his girls’ lives. Until the one summer he left the Cape and did not return again.  Now, almost twenty years later, Caleb has come back one last time, suffering from pancreatic cancer and seeking absolution. Wrenn and her sisters each respond differently to their father’s return, determined to find closure. But that means returning to the past and revisiting old wounds—wounds that cause the tightknit Bailey women to confront their own wishes and wants, and admit to their own wrong-doings over the years. In a place that brings both great comfort and great pain, the Bailey sisters experience a summer on the Cape that promises not only hard endings, but perhaps, hopeful new beginnings."
The Bailey sisters, Wrenn, Shannon, and Piper, grew up on Cape Cod and although this sounds like an idyllic childhood, it wasn't always. For starters, the girls' father left them after an upsetting incident on the island and this has always haunted them.  It's now twenty years later and the three women have families of their own as well as issues of their own.  But one fateful summer, Caleb, their father, reenters their life without any warning.  The girls aren't sure why he wants to reconnect with them and each woman deals with this differently.  With Caleb's re-entrance into their life, each sister must face their own issues and come to terms with the past.  Sailing Lessons is a novel about family, forgiveness, and sisterhood all set in beautiful Cape Cod, which makes it an entertaining beach read for fans of family dramas.

McKinnon switches from each sister's point of view in Sailing Lessons, so we can get to know each woman better.  Shannon is the oldest and "most responsible" sister as she has always felt like someone that has to protect the younger girls.  She still has issues with her father and doesn't want to deal with him at all.  Then there's Wrenn, who is opening an eclectic store on Cape Cod, and is a single mother. She has issues of her own and her father re-entering her life only complicates matters further. Then there's the youngest Bailey sister, Piper, who is a perpetual student and has really put her life on hold. Her love life is pretty messy as well, but she is the sister who is most excited about reconnecting with their father. It could be because she is the only sister who doesn't remember exactly what happened that fateful day when there was an accident involving the sisters and their father.  Lindy, the girls' mother, is also an interesting character as she is the one that had to raise the girls on her own and pick herself up after Caleb's departure. How could you not root for Lindy?

To be honest, I was a bit let down in that Sailing Lessons was a little depressing at times, but I will say that in the end, it was an uplifting tale about the power of forgiveness.  I had adored McKinnon's The Summer House so much that Sailing Lessons let me down a bit, but nonetheless, it made for a charming beach read filled that is filled with hope. So, if you love novels that involve family issues, secrets, and lots of drama, give Sailing Lessons a try this summer.


  1. I like stories that feature sisters, and I did enjoy The Summer House, so I might have to check this one out!

    1. I didn't think it was a good as TSH, but definitely a solid beach read. I look forward to your thoughts. Thanks for visiting, Angela!

  2. I think I'll skip this one, but I do love multiple povs--especially sisters.


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