Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea
Growing up in 1960s Maine, Florine idolizes her beautiful mother, Carlie, who seems to embody the free spirit of the era. When Carlie disappears while on a trip up the coast with a friend, Florine’s life is forever changed. She has always been a strong young woman, but her teenage years are made even more difficult by the absence of her mother. Florine’s father, a stoic lobsterman who never gives up his search for his wife, provides support and love, but it is her grandmother who takes over the role of helping Florine develop into an independent woman.
Rogers’s debut explores the intricate relationships between mothers and daughters. Set during the cultural tumult of the 1960s and early 1970s, this is less a suspense novel about a missing woman and more a coming-of-age story. Strong female characters form the center of the novel, from Florine’s pragmatic grandmother to her bowling-crazy best friend to Florine herself. Even when she’s at her most difficult, you can’t help but be charmed by Florine, whose grit and determination are impressive. Rogers also touches on the class conflict between the year-round residents and the vacationers who frequent coastal communities. Filled with beautifully drawn characters and a plot that kept me reading compulsively, Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea is a fine work of women’s fiction.