Summary

Despite the simplistic-sounding name, Pete and Alice in Maine offers a profound exploration of self-discovery that can only happen when everything normal gets turned upside down.

5-STAR REVIEW: PETE AND ALICE IN MAINE by Caitlin Shetterly

The Description

Publication Date: July 4, 2023

A powerful and beautifully written debut novel that intimately explores a fractured marriage and the struggles of modern parenthood, set against the backdrop of the chaotic spring of 2020.

Reeling from a painful betrayal in her marriage as the Covid pandemic takes hold in New York City, Alice packs up her family and flees to their vacation home in Maine. She hopes to find sanctuary—from the uncertainties of the exploding pandemic and her faltering marriage.

Putting distance between herself and the stresses and troubles of the city, Alice begins to feel safe and relieved. But the locals are far from friendly. Trapped and forced into quarantine by hostile neighbors, Alice sees the imprisoning structure of her life in his new predicament. Stripped down to the bare essentials of survival and tending to the needs of her two children, she can no longer ignore all the ways in which she feels limited and lost—lost in the big city, lost as a wife, lost as a mother, lost as a daughter and lost as a person.

As the world shifts around her and the balance in her marriage tilts, Alice and her husband, Pete, are left to consider if what keeps their family safe is the same thing as what keeps their family together.

The Review

The Covid pandemic forced families into close contact, cutting off outlets like work and school. One family escapes New York to ride out the wave of panic at their summer home in Maine.

Author Caitlin Shetterly introduces readers to a rather dysfunctional family in Pete and Alice in Maine. They, along with their daughters, Iris, 5, and Sophie, 11, plus Ingmar, the cat, find Maine in the cold months to be much different than their usual summer getaway.

The pandemic brings with it a new set of rules where isolation is the norm. Alice set aside her dreams of becoming a writer in favor of motherhood, a decision that is starting to chafe now that her girls are older. To complicate matters, she discovers that Pete is cheating.

As a result, life within the household is awkward. Alice reminisces about her relationships with Pete, her daughters, and her aging parents. From a reader’s perspective, this serves as an opportunity to see how the dynamics have changed.

The pandemic brought out the best and worst in people because of forced proximity, meaning that small annoyances soon turned into big problems. As Alice and Pete struggle to find their footing, they learn about what really matters most.

Despite the simplistic-sounding name, Pete and Alice in Maine offers a profound exploration of self-discovery that can only happen when everything normal gets turned upside down.Buy Links

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About The AuthorCaitlin Shetterly is the author of Modified and Made for You and Me, and the editor of the bestselling Fault Lines: Stories of Divorce. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, the New York Times MagazineOrion, ElleSelf, and on Oprah.com, as well as on This American Life and various other public radio shows. She is the editor-in-chief of Frenchly, a French arts and culture online news magazine. A Maine native, she graduated with honors from Brown University and now lives with her two sons and husband in her home state. Pete and Alice in Maine is her first novel.

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REVIEW AUTHOR

Amy Wilson
Amy Wilson
My name is Amy W., and I am a book addict. I will never forget the day I came home from junior high school to find my mom waiting for me with one of the Harlequin novels from my stash. As she was gearing up for the "you shouldn't be reading this" lecture, I told her the characters get married in the end. I'm just glad she didn't find the Bertrice Small book hidden in my closet. I have diverse reading tastes, evident by the wide array of genres on my Kindle. As I made the transition to an e-reader, I found myself worrying that something could happen to it. As a result, I am now the proud owner of four Kindles -- all different kinds, but plenty of back-ups! "Fifty Shades of Grey" gets high marks on my favorites list -- not for character development or dialogue (definitely not!), but because it blazed new ground for those of us who believe provocative fiction is more than just an explicit cover. Sylvia Day, Lexie Blake, and Kristin Hannah are some of my favorite authors. Speaking of diverse tastes, I also enjoy Dean Koontz, Iris Johansen, and J.A. Konrath. I’m always ready to discover new-to-me authors, especially when I toss in a palate cleanser that is much different than what I would normally read. Give me something with a well-defined storyline, add some suspense (or spice), and I am a happy reader. Give me a happily ever after, and I am downright giddy.

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Despite the simplistic-sounding name, Pete and Alice in Maine offers a profound exploration of self-discovery that can only happen when everything normal gets turned upside down.5-STAR REVIEW: PETE AND ALICE IN MAINE by Caitlin Shetterly