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The Havener Sisters: A Delightful Adventure in Historic Maine

11/18/2015

Ardeana Hamlin recently released The Havener Sisters ($16.95, Islandport Press), which details the lives of triplets China, India and Persia who in their mid-50s find that they have to sell their late father’s boat and reinvent their lives. For China, this goes beyond just moving to a smaller house in Fort Point with her two sisters. It also involves learning what it means to live apart – if only for a time – from her identical sisters.

Growing up in the 1800s, the sisters traveled with their parents on their father’s ship, The Empress. But with both of their parents dead, and not being able to procure the licensing to sail “The Empress” themselves, the sisters are forced to make some hard changes in their life and redefine themselves accordingly.

China orders a camera, and decides to embark on a journey to inland Maine and see the sights and take pictures along the way. It’s the first time any of the three of them have lived apart, but she’s determined to see it through. On the way she meets many new people, not the least of which is young Clint Remick, an orphan without a soul in the world to look after him. He ends up attaching himself to China, who hires him to help carry her luggage. He becomes her erstwhile cabin boy for her journey. 

The Havener Sisters is the third book in a series that began with Pink Chimneys and includes Abbott's Reach. Fans of the series will recognize old friends and see some familiar places, but someone just picking up the book will never feel lost. If anything, they will feel compelled to learn more about these characters in the other books.

Hamlin’s prose is crisp and delicate, like pressed linens. She manages to convey a sense of the times without weighing the reader down – in fact, it’s the fine detail work that really gives this book the sense of a period piece. It’s as though she’s able to pull the reader in and show them snapshots of Maine-gone-by, doing so with a clear sense of love, respect and historical diligence. 

She imbues her characters with a sense of humanity and warmth while still impressing upon the reader a true sense of time and place. This book is a fantastic addition to Hamlin’s work, and if you haven’t had a chance to see historic Maine through this lens, there has never been a better time to start.

For more information about “The Havener Sisters,” visit www.islandportpress.com.

Originally printed in The Maine Edge on November 17, 2015.