Sea Wife by Amity Gaige is a sailing story, but more than that, it’s the story of a marriage and the collision with mid-life. Michael and Juliet are in the thick of it–careers, suburban living, parenting two young kids, and a fledgling marriage. Michael informs Juliet that he wants to leave his job, buy a sailboat in Panama, and point the bow toward the open sea as a family.
While sailing is the backdrop and the boat, Juliet, provides a rich setting. This is a story about two people who are struggling to find their way as individuals and as a couple. And, if you want to reveal the cracks in a relationship, stick the people on a forty-four foot boat, about which neither one knows very much. You don’t have to look too far for conflict to drive a story forward.
It’s impressive that Ms. Gaige was not a sailor prior to writing this book. Her command of the lingo had me assuming she’d been a sailor for awhile. And, she definitely tapped into the archetypes of the sailing couple–he wants an adventure, she is a reluctant participant. Personally, I find that trope a bit tired, but that’s because I encounter people all the time who assume I’m Tim’s reluctant participant. Snore.
But, back to the book. Ms. Gaige captures the beauty of a passage–usually through Michael’s eyes, and the frustration and fear of a passage–usually through Juliet’s eyes. Although, the pendulum swings both ways, and Juliet, due to circumstances beyond her control does become a sailor in her own right.
This would be a good read for people in the higher latitudes once they put their boats on the hard for the winter. This book came recommended by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy fame and got a good review in the New York Times. And now by me. It’s worth a read!