The Vineyard: Michael Hurley
Three women decide to spend their summer on a place called The Vineyard. Friendships are strong and ties are tightly knotted until events that happen loosen them. One travels the long distance in order to carry out a plan that would end her life and reunite her with her daughter. A second has a secret that if revealed would shatter one woman’s future yet reveal a hidden truth. The last, the one with equally as much to lose remembers a night that will remain in her mind forever yet casts a hidden shadow for her future. Charlotte Harris, Turner Graham and Dory Delano: Three close friends but when all is said and done will they remain friends?
Charlotte arrives at The Vineyard for the specific purpose of ending her life. Despondent, depressed and unable to deal with the death of her young child, she takes her ashes in an Urn and is determined to drown herself. Knowing that Dory would eventually figure out what she did, she recounts to readers how she chose this specific spot, the reason the water off the New England coast was warming that year and would be perfect for her mission. But, before she can carry out her plan she meets someone called “The Fisherman,” an older man who sells shrimp out of his blue car, who would change her life forever. The author through Charlotte plots out for readers just how she will enter the sea and wait until the riptide takes her and the “ocean floor subsided beneath her feet into the abyss.” Charlotte was determined to end her life at all costs and would even dress for this occasion in a special way. But, what has her really upset is the fact the church would not allow her child to have a Catholic Funeral because she had not been baptized due to her premature death. The bishop refused to budge and Meredith denied a Christian Burial. Dory’s invitation gave Charlotte the protection or cover she needed to take action. Dory would call the police and her death stated as a drowning. As the author introduces Dory: Rich, beautiful and loyal. One simple encounter would change it all as Dory hoped her friend would have time to pick up some shrimp she wanted to make from a man called The Fisherman. But, it wasn’t the shrimp or the price that startled her it is what he says and how he knows what she planned that creates quite a stir in her. Telling her to meet with a priest named FatherVecchio was supposed to help ease her plight. But, that would not be the case. Chapter 2 is quite compelling as the author plots out for readers what Charlotte does as she enters the sea with her daughter’s urn, says prayers each step of the way and feels the current and the riptide take her away until something or someone grabs hold of her and things change. Waking up on a boat called the Victory and meeting the person that was caring for her would not only change her life but others too and not exactly for the good.
Dory learning of what Charlotte did enlists the help of the Sheriff and finds her way to the hospital. Trafalgar Wallace is the name of the man or Tripp as he is called that tended to Charlotte and appeared to care for Dory wanting more than just friendship. As she becomes more alert and aware of her surroundings she relates her experience, her encounter with the Fisherman and describes how she thinks he saved her. But, this is just the beginning of what many might think are miracles, strange occurrences or maybe something else!
Lucius Tyron DeDeAngelo III, nicknamed Smoke is a devious, cutthroat and ornery man whose reputation precedes him yet no one comes up against him. Angry because whoever this fisherman might be is ruining it for the others that are selling fish, namely shrimp, instead of helping the local fisherman he forecloses their businesses and profits.
Turner Graham is the third friend who arrives at The Vineyard. Turner has her own secrets to hide as the author relates that Turner’s divorce was based on the fact she cheated on her husband with her boss. But, things would come back and haunt her when at the Vineyard as the author relates how she used her divorce settlement to buy an “historic house in a quaint and uppity neighborhood of Morristown, New Jersey.” Three friends whose lives have intersected but now will come to a crossroads that will take each of them in different directions. But, when they ever intersect again?
Mysteries surround many of the events as Dory relates to Turner about the Fisherman and a whole town wants to know more about him but one man wants him out of the way but why? Within pages 72-73 we learn more about the encounter as Charlotte vividly describes the event. But, the fisherman would appear one more time as Dory’s life and fate would change as she was diagnosed with a terminal illness and a simple or shall we shall complex encounter of an unusual kind with the Fisherman, the touch of his hands on the area affected would eliminate her pain and the disease forever. Doctors that claimed she was well and yet this man claiming something different, Dory’s mother, a force to be reckoned within this small town, enlists without any arguments several doctors to retest the original findings. Startling, as it may seem the end result will surprise readers letting you know that a second miracle happened. But, what about a third?
Turner Graham became embroiled in something that might end her friendship with Dory but save her from making a big mistake. One act that was not really her fault, one man who wanted it all but for the wrong reasons as we get to know Tripp, the sheriff and several other town members whose main goal was profits at any cost.
Dory goes for a doctor’s appointment and things spiral out of control. Tests read one way are reread with a different diagnosis. But, something happens when she meets the Fisherman and one more miracle just might occur. But, the events are misread, the situation gets out of hand and the Sheriff and Smoke are out to make sure that his man is put out of business or worse. How could the Fisherman detect Dory’s illness and how could touching her cure it?
“Three women now bound by the shared grief, elation and terror of the past twenty four hours…” As Constance Delano, Dory’s mother appears and did not agree with what they relayed about the Fisherman, Charlotte was planning to be counseled by the Priest in a manner definitely not befitting a young priest or any member of the clergy. As you get to know the Priest, the Sheriff and Smoke you learn more about their secrets, lies and betrayals and how this one town manages to cover things up and the innocent suffer and they guilty at times go free. How and Why?
Father Vecchio was Charlotte’s hope to get her daughter a proper burial or so she thought. Why was her daughter’s urn at the church and what was the Priest’s real agenda? Describing their encounter the reader becomes aware of something about this Priest that alerted Turner to his real mission. Hope, faith, blind trust and fear all are issues that come to light in this novel but who are the real heroes and just who are the villains?
Smoke seems to have a hand in what happens to the other fisherman and Turner has decided to use her newfound information about Charlotte and Dory’s miracles to create a blog that would set the town on fire. Writing about Dory and her diagnosis and what the fisherman does and then about Charlotte is just part of what she writes and hopes to gain in her blog. But, keeping it a secret would not be easy and the pretense and lies she tells to get noticed could change everything between her and her two closest friends.
As Charlotte and the Priest get closer, Dory and Turner argue over what really happened between her and the Fisherman. The Vineyard is not an ordinary place and Enoch is no ordinary fisherman. Chapter 13 is quite revealing as Turner turns the table on not only the priest but others as well. Just what happens and causing the priest to make sure that Meredith gets a proper burial you won’t believe. What Turner does goes far beyond friendship and justice?
Tripp Wallace had only one goal in mind and that was to marry Dory. But, at what cost to her? But, Smoke was determined to get Turner to describe what happened between Dory and the Fisherman at all costs. Turner spoke and a deal was made to try and get him in touch with Enoch but what was the real reason, would he abide by not hurting him and who would suffer at the end? When the media becomes aware of her blog, the fact that they want it turned into a book things drastically change between the three friends. Author Michael Hurley brings readers up close and personal into the lives of three women whose friendship will be tested tugged at and in the end one might fall.
Smoke is the main source of credit for the commercial fisherman on The Vineyard. The banks gave up on the industry and he remained with it claiming the island would have little without the fishing fleet. But, Smoke had other ideas and Turner soon became his victim in more ways than one. Secrets, lies and deceits come into play as he blackmails Turner into helping him finding the fisherman and bringing him to Smoke. A secret that could destroy not only Turner but also Bennett and Donald the publishing company that she claimed to be part of as an author plus the man who she was having the affair with. Things would not calm down and even though she agreed to his terms but why? Added in a video that would change it for everyone even Dory. A sheriff that is corrupt and a man that claims he cares about the fisherman even more corrupt. A town where no one seems to pay for their crimes except the innocent.
What happens when Dory agrees to marry Tripp? What happens will surprise, shock and astonish the reader as one good friend decides to take on an entire town before it’s too late. Just what does she reveal as the real reason behind Enoch, the money he receives and what he’s doing with it? Why would anyone want to harm him? An ending so startling, violent and surprising you will not see it coming and a chapter (25) so explosive it will set the town on fire in more ways than one only author Michael Hurley can create it.
The Vineyard: Whose secrets will be revealed? Whose lives will change forever and whose Where does Dory wind up? What happens to Turner and will Charlotte come to grips with her past and live in the present? The Vineyard: Who committed the real crimes? You decide after all the evidence is revealed.
Fran Lewis: reviewer
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