Ten years after college, three very different women reunite for a summer on Martha’s Vineyard. As they come to grips with various challenges in their lives, an encounter with a reclusive fisherman threatens to change everything they believe about their world—and each other.
It was a question that would never have occurred to her mother or to any of her mother’s friends. Of course she would marry Tripp Wallace, they would say—or wouldn’t say, rather, because the subject would never come up. But if they were asked, they would be pained to explain what was self-evident. He met all the necessary criteria. He was from a well-respected family. He had gone to the right schools, as had his father and grandfather and great-grandfather before him. He had the right friends who had gone to the same schools and traveled in the same small circles. He was accomplished at the right sports—sailing in summer and skiing in winter—and he knew how to say and do the right things at the right moment in a way that bore testament, along with his good looks, to an obvious breeding. He was tall and well-formed and not overly bright or bookish or moody or sensitive. He would love Dory with fraternal affection and a benign indifference that would immunize him from the terrible angst that afflicts the lovelorn. There would be affairs, perhaps, but he could be relied upon to keep them discreet and meaningless, and there would be no brooding or melancholy or naval gazing in the wake of their discovery. New love would falter and stumble as it invariably does, but the business of marriage would march on. There would be no mid-life forays into the wild unknown, because he was not a curious man. His life had followed a well-worn path thus far, and he would stick to that path without the danger of navigational error that comes from needless reflection. He would lead a good life, not a well-examined life, and thereby make it possible for Dory to do the same. He and Dory would produce tall, lithe, gorgeous, tow-headed children and grandchildren who, on their way to fulfilling their central role as heirs to the family’s fortune and curators of its legacy, would by their laughter and playfulness banish the awful silence that would otherwise creep into their marriage, like a pestilence.
Michael Hurley and his wife Susan live near Charleston, South Carolina. Born and raised in Baltimore, Michael holds a degree in English from the University of Maryland and law from St. Louis University.
The Prodigal, Michael’s debut novel from Ragbagger Press, received the Somerset Prize for mainstream fiction and numerous accolades in the trade press, including Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, ForeWord Reviews, BookTrib, Chanticleer Reviews, and IndieReader. It is currently in development for a feature film by producer Diane Sillan Isaacs. Michael’s second novel, The Vineyard, is due to be released by Ragbagger Press in December 2014.
Michael’s first book, Letters from the Woods, is a collection of wilderness-themed essays published by Ragbagger Press in 2005. It was shortlisted for Book of the Year by ForeWord magazine. In 2009, Michael embarked on a two-year, 2,200 mile solo sailing voyage that ended with the loss of his 32-foot sloop, the Gypsy Moon, in the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti in 2012. That voyage and the experiences that inspired him to set sail became the subject of his memoir, Once Upon A Gypsy Moon, published in 2013 by Hachette Book Group.
When he is not writing, Michael enjoys reading and relaxing with Susan on the porch of their rambling, one-hundred-year-old house. His fondest pastimes are ocean sailing, playing piano and classical guitar, cooking, and keeping up with an energetic Irish terrier, Frodo Baggins.
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