Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Book Review: Haven Point by Virginia Hume

Pages: 384
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: June 8, 2021
Publisher: St. Martin's
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars



Goodreads says, "A sweeping debut novel about the generations of a family that spends summers in a seaside enclave on Maine's rocky coastline, for fans of Elin Hilderbrand, Beatriz Williams, and Sarah Blake. 1944: Maren Larsen is a blonde beauty from a small Minnesota farming town, determined to do her part to help the war effort––and to see the world beyond her family’s cornfields. As a cadet nurse at Walter Reed Medical Center, she’s swept off her feet by Dr. Oliver Demarest, a handsome Boston Brahmin whose family spends summers in an insular community on the rocky coast of Maine. 1970: As the nation grapples with the ongoing conflict in Vietnam, Oliver and Maren are grappling with their fiercely independent seventeen-year-old daughter, Annie, who has fallen for a young man they don’t approve of. Before the summer is over a terrible tragedy will strike the Demarests––and in the aftermath, Annie vows never to return to Haven Point. 2008: Annie’s daughter, Skye, has arrived in Maine to help scatter her mother’s ashes. Maren knows that her granddaughter inherited Annie’s view of Haven Point: despite the wild beauty and quaint customs, the regattas and clambakes and sing-alongs, she finds the place––and the people––snobbish and petty. But Maren also knows that Annie never told Skye the whole truth about what happened during that fateful summer. Over seven decades of a changing America, through wars and storms, betrayals and reconciliations, Virginia Hume's Haven Point explores what it means to belong to a place, and to a family, which holds as tightly to its traditions as it does its secrets."

Maren Larsen is a nurse at the Walter Reed Hospital in 1944 and while there, she meets Dr. Oliver Demarest.  Maren grew up in a small town in Minnesota whereas Oliver grew up brushing elbows with the well-to-do in Boston. They are polar opposites, but something about Maren catches Oliver's eye.  After a few dates, they end up smitten and Oliver proposes.  Maren has to meet Oliver's family and enter their world starting with summers at Haven Point.  Maren feels like a fish out of water in this upscale coastal community that holds more secrets than seashells. Fast forward to the 1970s at Haven Point and the world is changing. Maren and Oliver's daughter, Annie, is spending the summer at Haven Point, but has her eyes on a young man that her parents don't approve of.  This summer will change everything for the Demarests.  Fast forward even further to 2008 and Annie's daughter, Skye, is visiting Haven Point to visit her grandmother, Maren, and also scatter her mother's ashes as requested.  While there, Maren know she needs to fill in the blanks to Skye surrounding Annie and that fateful summer of 1970.  Haven Point by Virginia Hume is a compelling multi-generational saga set at a gorgeous coastal community; it's perfect for fans of Beatriz Williams. 

I really liked Maren from the beginning of Haven Point. She comes from such a different background than Oliver, but I appreciated that as well as her gumption.  Hume develops Maren and Oliver's love story very well and provides readers with a lot of family drama as the years go by.  Maren has a lot of responsibility at Haven Point not to mention keeping a look out for Oliver's mother who has an issue with alcohol.  The whole Haven Point community looks out for one another and eventually Maren finds her place there.

Annie's story was also well developed in Haven Point.  She is coming of age during a very difficult time and is rebelling against her parents. She wants to date a guy who they don't approve of and this ends up being a major problem as the summer progresses.  Something happens that summer that changes the Demarests forever, so much so that Annie doesn't return to Haven Point ever again.  As the years go by and she becomes a mother, she tells her daughter, Skye, that Haven Point is elitist, close-minded, and basically poisons the well.

Then you have Skye, Annie's daughter, who already has preconceived notions about Haven Point. However, those walls come crashing down the more time she spends with her grandmother and in the community.  Plus, Maren, her grandmother, tells her the true story as to what happened that fateful summer and Skye is able to understand her mother better.

Haven Point, the beautiful coastal home, becomes a character in and of itself in Haven Point.  It becomes a refuge for the Demarest family and holds many secrets as the years continue. The Demarests go there to escape life in the 1940s, all the way up to 2008. The upscale community isn't all just cocktail parties and tennis matches, they generally look out for one another.  Haven Point the perfect setting for a historical beach read.

My only issue with Haven Point was the pacing. Towards the middle of the novel, I started to get restless and it felt stagnant.  The last half of the novel was much more engaging as we start to piece together what tragedy befell the Demarest family that summer.  Other than my issues with the pacing, I felt it was a solid historical beach read and reminded me of something Beatriz Williams would write. So, if you love a good multi-generational family saga that includes a coastal setting, add Haven Point to your beach read list for the summer.

Is this book on your TBR list? Are you a fan of historical beach reads? Let me know in the comments below.




  1. I love a multi-generational story, and the references to Beatriz Williams are very compelling!

    1. Yes! I think fans of Williams will enjoy this one! Thanks for visiting, Angela.


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