Summer’s Child by Luanne Rice was more than just a compelling read for me. It has inspired my first book-inspired adventure. As I wrote in my last post, Summer’s Child is set in Nova Scotia and my family and I was set to take a trip there. A full book tour post in Nova Scotia, I promised, would follow. Alas, a ferry that would not sail diverted our plans. We found out too late that the ferry wouldn’t be running and couldn’t make alternate travel arrangements. Travel bloggers, we are not. Or I’ll be the travel blogger that makes lots of mistakes that you can learn from. Yup! 1000%
I was disappointed at first but then I thought about using the book to inspire a little adventure even if the location wasn’t the same as the book’s setting. I posed my idea to my parents and then immediately took it back, telling them that I didn’t want to cause “forced family fun.” My father immediately put those fears aside and assured me that they both wanted to do this with me. So a book-inspired adventure was born.
But first…a little bit about the lovely book I read…
Book Review of Summer’s Child
Summer’s Child by Luanne Rice is a tale about strong women, mothers, daughters, friends…they all fiercely support and protect one another. At the start of the story, we learn about a mysterious disappearance of young Mara Jameson, an expectant mother that just vanished from her garden one day. Her grandmother and a detective are left with a case never solved, nine years later still wondering what happened. We also don’t know what to make of Mara’s husband.
The story then takes us to Nova Scotia where Lily Malone is living with her daughter, nine-year-old Rose. It seems like Lily is escaping the past but the same goes for another female character in the book, Marisa. Coincidentally, Marisa also has a nine-year-old daughter, Jessica, who becomes best friends with Rose. Both women seem to be running from something but they take comfort in the close-knit community of women they’ve bonded with, the “sisterhood.”
Don’t worry ladies because of course there’s also a very sweet and handsome man in this story by the name of Liam Neill. Liam is an oceanographer who has his own tragic past and mainly keeps to himself. However, there is something between him, Lily, and her daughter. What could it be? I was dying to know!
Thoughts on Summer’s Child
Summer’s Child had a slow build for me but once it worked its way into my heart, I fell in love with it. Luanne Rice sets the scene beautifully. Capturing all five senses, she paints her world with rising rock cliffs, gardens of roses, zinnias, and marigolds. We smelled the scent of pine and felt the “relentless” sea winds. We heard the sounds of ship traffic, bells, horns, and seagulls. In a light-hearted moment, we even tasted a “home-cooked” dinner consisting of a grilled cheese sandwich, pickles, and barbecue potato chips.
Summer’s Child, while beautiful, also is a gripping story that includes suspense and tension. We worry about Lily, Rose, Marisa, and Jessica. We take comfort in the fact that the sisterhood has their backs and of course there’s Liam. Oh Liam! What a guy!
I loved this book. Definitely recommend it. I’m currently reading the next book in the series, Summer of Roses, and enjoying that one too.
To learn more about Summer’s Child and more about Luanne Rice’s books, you can head to her website at Luannerice.net.
*Trigger warning* Abusive relationships
I feel like the turn of events with Nova Scotia, while it may have been a bummer for me and my family, I think it’s actually a positive thing for my blog. When you read a book, you may dream of going to the setting, but due to life circumstances, can’t jet off on a plane to the setting. The book itself takes us to the setting and can help us feel like we are going on an adventure right from the comfort of our own homes. The last thing I’d want to do with my blog is to make someone feel bad they can’t jet off to the book’s setting. So how about letting the book inspire you from wherever you are?
My family and I have a home base in the summertime in New Hampshire, which is just a couple hours from Maine. In Summer’s Child, Lily celebrates Rose’s birthday on a whale-watching cruise. One particular whale, Nanny, a beluga and beloved by Rose, figures prominently throughout the book. The way the Nanny storyline is woven throughout the book, as an animal lover, tugged at my heartstrings and had me reaching for the tissues.
I knew what we had to do…
CAP’n FISH’s Whale Watch
We went to Boothbay Harbor in Maine and took Cap’n Fish’s four-hour Puffin/Whale combo cruise. I was pumped! Cute penguin looking birds and whales! I felt as excited as little Rose when she went on her whale watching cruise. Would we see Nanny!? I hoped so!
Before we get on our ride, I want to let you all know that Boothbay Harbor is an adorable little area filled with cute shops and restaurants. Okay? You’re welcome.
I’ll share more about Boothbay Harbor and our whale watching cruise on my Instagram, especially in my stories and I’ll be sure to create a story highlight called “Maine.” When you head there, you’ll see I already have a couple of posts from Maine. Follow me @literary_dates.
On the Boat
Before embarking on the boat, I asked a worker where would the best spot be for viewing? He told me the top deck, so that’s where we went.
We lucked out with the weather. 70 degrees and sunny! My father warned us that we would need a jacket or something warm to wear on the boat. I thought long jeans and my sweatshirt would suffice. While we sat on the top deck, waiting to start, with the sun beating down on us, my mom and I both felt hot! We thought we were overdressed. Soon enough we learned that Papa knows best!
Our tour guide showed us pictures of all the birds we would get to see and shared little tidbits about them. Like how seabirds called terns can be angry little jerks (not his exact words). When the scientists are out doing their research (like on an island in the picture below)they have to wear flowers on top of their hats. The angry terns always aim towards the highest point, so as they make their attack, instead of attacking the scientists’ heads, they ruffle the flowers. Yikes!
The helpful tour guide filled our heads with knowledge about sea life and with enthusiasm, pointed out all the birds and sea creatures that passed us. The location of the animal was determined by mapping out each part of the boat as a position on a clock. For instance, the front of the boat was the 12 O’Clock position, back of the boat, 6 O’Clock, left side, 9 O’Clock, and so on and so forth. We saw all sorts of seabirds (including puffins), saw some sunfish…but did we see any whales? Before going on the cruise, they warn that they can’t guarantee whales. If you don’t see a whale, they offer a free tour the next day if that fits with your schedule. That’s what they told my father on the phone. The website says you can get standby tickets for another cruise. Boothbayboattrips.com.
Cross your fingers for some whales!!
Dog! 9 O’Clock!!!
But what about the whales? Let’s look some more…
Okay, I will stop jerking you all around because WE DID GET TO SEE WHALES!!!!!!!
We saw some cute old Minke whales!
Just look at this guy!
Minke whales are small whales and according to our guide, they don’t have a spout and when they come above the water, we won’t get to see their flipper like in “Free Willy.” They won’t jump out of the water like Willy but they were still fun to see.
I found the whale watching cruise pretty exciting and even relaxing. The tour guide yells out where he has spotted the whale, we run to that area and see the whale above the water for a few moments before he dives back under. Then, the whole boat gets quiet and waits in anticipation for her to come back above water. Kinda cool!
Before we got to the whales’ feeding ground (the place they’d most likely be spotted), my father had a good idea for us to go to the lower deck to get a closer view. I’m so glad we did! On the upper deck, it’s easier to get to all sides of the boat, but we were able to spot all the whales from the lower deck at the front of the ship. The captain also steers the front of the ship towards where the whales were spotted. I loved when that big boat tried to make fast, sharp turns! Fun fun!
I’ll have videos from our whale watching adventure! You’ll get to see the whales and other sea creatures in action. More shall be revealed on Instagram @literary_dates.
Side note: I bought this necklace in Portland, Maine from a guy selling them on the street. I couldn’t believe my luck because a character in Summer’s Child actually made jewelry out of pine cones. It’s a very sweet storyline in the book. I love my necklace! Get your own here: www.thirdeyepinecones.com. They are less expensive on the street but they are beautiful pieces and are “sustainably wild gathered.” More info on their website about the process.
Also, don’t let this picture fool you…I just wanted you all to see my cute yellow shirt. Otherwise, I had my sweatshirt on zipped ALL the way up!
And how about that fab hat!? Get yours at www.tastyitinerary.com/shop.
Things to Remember (on a Cap’n Fish’s whale watching cruise)
- Warm clothes – I was wishing that I had long sleeves on under my sweatshirt. A windbreaker would have been smart. Live & learn!
- Binoculars! My father and I shared a pair. It would have been better to have my own and I would have practiced using them before going. It takes practice and good aim to spot a tiny flying bird with binoculars.
- Sit on the upper deck, in the beginning, to hear the tour guide best and to get his instructions along with his knowledge on sea life.
- I suggest moving to the lower deck at the front of the ship to get the best view of the whales
- On the lower deck, you can take breaks from the cold wind by sitting in the interior of the boat.
- Don’t expect to see Free Willy flipping around and doing tricks for you. That’s Sea World.
- Dogs allowed!!🐶🐶🐶
That’s all from my book-inspired adventure. Thanks for coming along! Have you ever been on a book-inspired adventure? Or have you tried out an activity because of a book? Because of Lily’s needlework shop in Summer’s Child, I might look for a needlework class…we shall see!
Reminder…don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for more from our whale-watching cruise and Maine.
Thanks again for reading!