by Christina Moore
Corporate veteran Margaret Noonan flees her job and her comfortable marriage to pursue freedom and a bond to her past on the coast of Maine. As a cook aboard the schooner, Black Swan, she prepares meals for a sour crew and disappointed passengers.
"I didn't have a place to go. I didn't have a soul that needed me. The song of freedom can be a lament if you view freedom as a loss of connection. A tall mast is an easy place to have such thoughts."
Christina Moore spins a twenty-first century nautical yarn where her heroine descends from the warmth of the Black Swan's galley to discover its murky depths where secrets of smuggling and murder lie. But her survival depends on her determination to redefine freedom and return to her native home.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Nautical adventure with a bold and imperial impression on the reader. The quality is supurb. The illustration on the cover is beautiful. It was a enjoyment to read such well written characters with such interesting personalities
What I like about most about Christina Moore¿s Black Swan is that I found myself identifying with a woman¿the main character, Margaret Noonan¿with whom I have nothing in common. After all, Moore¿s central character is an adventurer, an east coaster, and a corporate climber. And though you would never get this west coast bookworm onto a schooner in the real world, Moore takes me there in her novel. While I read, I could almost feel the boat rocking in the water. Perhaps it was Moore¿s use of tempo notes to guide readers that helped me feel the rhythmic ocean tides, but more likely, it was her writing skill. Moore¿s imagery is stunning and her diction vibrates with intention. But Moore¿s meditations on the human condition are what ultimately invited me to feel a connection to her central character. Maggie is searching for a home, for a community, for a new life, and a new identity. These quests reveal heartfelt emotion, love, pleasure, and the little joys of daily life like fresh-baked bread and jovial conversation. Barbara Kingsolver says that the power of fiction is empathy, that when you read fiction, ¿you understand in a way that you don¿t learn from reading a newspaper what it¿s like to live a life that¿s completely different from yours.¿ Christina Moore¿s Black Swan did this for me, and that¿s what I look for in a good book.
I don¿t read many seafaring tales or adventure-type stuff. So often, those novels revolve around male characters and offer me nothing but an occasional damsel in distress to relate to. While Christina Moore¿s Black Swan is a far cry from chick lit, the central character is a woman. Surrounded by men in a man¿s world, Margaret Noonan, the new cook on the schooner Black Swan, isolates herself from a miserable crew, two young men who can barely communicate, a mean-spirited mate, and a junkie captain. The men she encounters in the coastal village where the Black Swan docks may be foils for the schooner¿s crew, for they are drawn to Maggie and become her community. All these characters are so well written, they pop right off the page, and each one is unique. But Black Swan is not a story of the divide between the sexes as much as it is a story of coming home. Margaret¿s search to find herself and her home unfolds in two timelines in alternating chapters we read of her first year aboard the Black Swan and her third year. This movement back and forth in time makes the novel a fast read and kept my interest piqued. Rich descriptions of the ship, the sea, and the food Margaret prepares in her galley make the novel a delicious and indulgent read.