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"Spoonhandle" Donated to WHRL Book Group

Updated: Sep 30, 2022

Just up the coast from Bar Harbor on Narraguagus Bay, there is a small town called Milbridge. With a population of 1,375 people and abundant rocky shores, Milbridge has both rural and coastal charm. It’s also home to Women for Healthy Rural Living (WHRL), a non-profit dedicated to advancing and promoting the health and well-being of the woman, her family, and her community.

This September, Islandport Press is proud to support WHRL by donating fourteen copies of Spoonhandle by Ruth Moore to the non-profit’s 2022 book series initiative. Centered around the theme “Women in Maine: Finding Our Strength,” this program uses Maine-centric books to explore how women navigate extraordinary challenges.

Through this group, participants receive a book, bookmark, and discussion materials. They then meet three times throughout the month to examine the book. Using stories of women who have navigated difficulties in a variety of settings and eras, these facilitated discussions focus on how women meet personal and societal challenges. Previous titles include Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story by Erin French, A Midwife's Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, and When You Find My Body by D. Dauphinee. Spoonhandle has been selected as the book for September. The book group is free and open to all, although registration is required and space is limited. Read more about the project at

Spoonhandle, Ruth Moore’s second novel, was originally published in 1946 and spent fourteen weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. It was also adapted into the movie Deep Waters. Set in the Great Depression, the novel follows the lives of the Stilwell family and their neighbors, as they navigate the changes forced upon their little island by wealthier “summer people” looking to buy property. The novel is about Maine, brilliantly authentic, but the story told is universal, as old as time as it deals with the struggle between love and meanness of spirit, between human dignity and greed.

Born and raised in the Maine fishing village of Gotts Island, Ruth Moore (1903–1989) emerged as one of the most important Maine authors of the twentieth century, best known for her authentic portrayals of Maine people and her evocative descriptions of the state. In her time, she was favorably compared to Faulkner, Steinbeck, Caldwell, and O’Connor. The success of her first two novels, The Weir and Spoonhandle, gave her the financial security to build a house in Bass Harbor and spend the rest of her life writing novels in her home state. Ultimately, she wrote fourteen novels. Moore and her partner, Eleanor Mayo, traveled extensively, but never again lived outside of Maine. Moore died in Bar Harbor in 1989, leaving a nearly unmatched literary legacy.

We hope the reader’s of WHRL enjoy the book as much as we do!

Ruth Moore's Spoonhandle is currently low-stock but will fully back in stock by mid-October.

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