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08 October 2009

Book Review: Casting Off

Title: Casting Off
Author: Nicole Dickson
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: July 28, 2009
Paperback: 400 pages
ISBN: 9780451226990

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From the Publisher's Website:

Casting Off:

1. Ending a knitted work.
2. Releasing lines holding a boat to its mooring.
3. Letting go...

On a tiny island off the west coast of Ireland, the fishermen’s handmade sweaters tell a story. Each is unique—feelings stitched into rows, memories into patterns.

It is here that Rebecca Moray comes to research a book on Irish knitting. With her daughter, Rowan, accompanying her, she hopes to lose herself in the history of the island and forget her own painful past. Soon, the townsfolk’s warm embrace wraps Rebecca and Rowan in a world of friendship, laughter, and love.

And it is here that young Rowan befriends Sean Morahan, a cantankerous old fisherman, despite his attempts to scare her off. As Rebecca watches her daughter interact with Morahan, she recognizes in his eyes a look that speaks of a dark knowledge not unlike her own. And when current storms threaten to resurrect old ones, Morahan and Rebecca find themselves on a collision course—with Rowan caught between them—each buffeted by waves of regret and recrimination. Only by walking headfirst into the winds will they find the faith to forgive without forgetting…and reach the shore.

My Review:
Casting Off is a lyrical story told about Rebecca and her daughter Rowan, spending a summer on an island off Galway Bay in Ireland, to study the history of Irish Ganseys. Or so that is her excuse to continue running from something she does not know how to forget. Each chapter begins with a knitting term, as well as the meaning behind the stitch design. As knitter I was intrigued and longed to know more about the meaning behind the famous gansey sweaters. These brief knitting descriptions are not just for knitters, they offer sage advise for any reader. Beginning with the first sentence to the very last written word, I was drawn into this brilliant world of sights, sounds and vivid colours. Dickson paints a vivid portrait of Ireland and this small island community and one could not help feeling endeared to the locals of the island and I immediately I knew I would find the gruff Sean endearing. The novel flashing between a past Rebecca is trying to repress and the present life she is struggling to create for herself and her daughter. Meanwhile her daughter, Rowan, endears herself to Sean, a local who most avoid and children fear. It is through Rowan that Sean relearns to live, rather than grieving over a tragedy some 40 years past. As with Rebecca, we learn about Sean through a series of well-placed flashbacks and with Sean, colours. Throughout this novel I could not help but think about my friends and how much they would love this novel, as much as me. There is a poetic quality that draws one in and holds one's heart. This novel is not only about how a small Irish community helps each other, rather delves much deeper into the rich heritage, the bonds that tie us all together. It is my opinion that all readers would indeed find this novel a brilliant read and one I truly think everyone can draw something about living and letting go, trusting all will be fine.

I was given this copy to review by Penguin. My reviw of this book was in no way influenced by my receiving a copy.

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9 comments:

LiveLaughLoveCj said...

Another book to add to my wish list of books - thanks for a fantastic review and adding to my list of books that I just must have! LOLOL

By Christmas time at the rate you are going, my list is going to be long, I believe my list will be ALL books, well and some knitting stuff too ;)

Mary said...

Lovely review - I've added it to my TBR list. Thanks!

Andrea Proulx said...

Wow this book looks absolutely fantastic! I'm certainly going to add it to my library wish list. Thanks for the fabulous review.

Seeryus Mama said...

This is a book that I want to read! Thanks for the review!

ApachesPrincess said...

Oh I would love to purchase this book for my Mom's birthday! Her and I both knit and I know she would love it! Thanks for the review :)

Pricilla said...

It sounds very interesting. Thanks for the review.

Tea said...

Oh, I would love to read this one. Great review!

Bluestocking said...

This sounds very interesting.

Jennifer said...

This book sounds very interesting...and unlike anything I've read before - I will have to look into getting this! Thank you for the wonderful review.