In Returning to Shore, a girl reconnects with the father she barely knows on a picturesque beach setting.
Clare’s mom marries for the third time, leaving her behind while she honeymoons in France. Clare’s mom arranges for Clare to spend some time getting to know her estranged father who now lives nearby on Cape Cod. Clare has lots of questions about the dad she hasn’t seen since she was three. Richard is quiet, but his passion for turtle conservation bonds the two over the summer.
I like quiet, slice of life books like this and thought Returning to Shore was lovely. And the Cape Cod summer setting is an especially welcome distraction from winter.
Clare has some complicated daddy issues. Previously, she only knew her biological dad from holiday cards and birthday phone calls. She was quite close with her stepfather but now that her mom remarried she’s uncertain about maintaining that relationship. She’s nicknamed her newest stepfather Tertio, though she keeps that fact to herself.
Clare’s dad, Richard, is a bit of a mystery for Clare to unravel. Slowly, she learns his reasons for keeping his distance, and it’s heartwarming to see their relationship strengthen over the course of the book.
Along with the father-daughter relationship, environmental issues are featured in Returning to Shore. Richard is very involved in conserving the Northern diamondback terrapin, and tracks and tags them and helps to protect their nests. Clare comes along on kayak rides and beach walks to learn the ropes and bond with her dad. The breakthrough between Clare and Richard is subtle but satisfying.
Clare meets some other teens on the island and let’s just say they lack Richard’s respect for their island surroundings. Richard has a reputation as the nutty old guy on the island for his environmental views, and that’s something else for Clare to digest.
Corinne Demas has a keen eye and develops the father-daughter relationship beautifully. The character voice is strong in this sweet and quiet novel.
I received a review copy of Returning to Shore from the author via Netgalley/Carolrhoda Lab. There were no bribes of a Cape Cod vacation home, or pet turtles exchanged. Add a copy to your shelf on March 1: Amazon * B&N * IndieBound * Goodreads