REVIEW: Sailing Lessons by Hannah McKinnon

Sailing Lessons

Published: June 5th, 2018 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books



Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you back in.”

I really enjoyed this story. “Sailing Lessons” explores how a family copes after the father leaves but then drops back into their lives twenty-four years later.

Wren, Shannon, and Piper Bailey were used to their father coming and going when they were young. But one summer he leaves and doesn’t return. His leaving effects his three daughters in very different ways.

Wren was the middle child. She’s now a single mother of six-year-old, Lucy. Wren has been working hard to prepare for the grand opening of her shop, “The Fisherman’s Daughter”. A whimsical and unique eco-boutique that she hopes both tourists and the locals will love.

And then an envelope comes in the mail. A handwritten envelope with handwriting that she hasn’t seen in twenty years. It’s a letter from her father, Caleb.

He’s coming home.

As the oldest of the Bailey sisters, Shannon appears to have it all. She married her best friend and has wonderful children. Shannon was hit the hardest by her father’s abandonment. Lately, her anxiety has been keeping her up at night. But for now, she’s found her own way of coping. She tells herself and others that she’s doing fine, but the cracks are beginning to show.

Piper is the youngest, and her memories of her father and that time are different from Shannon and Wren’s memories. There are things that Piper wants to remember and things her sisters want to forget.

The Bailey sisters all have a different reaction to the letter, especially to the fact that their father is coming back to The Cape. Their stepfather, Hank isn’t thrilled about Caleb coming back …..but he wants what’s best for all of his girls.

Why is Caleb Bailey coming back now? What does it mean for the sisters and the rest of the family?

Caleb Bailey isn’t the only one who has made mistakes and kept secrets. It seems that everyone has things that they need to face up to. Will Caleb coming back heal some of the hurt caused by his leaving or will it all end up in disaster?

As I already mentioned, I really enjoyed this novel. I loved reading about this family’s journey. The story is well-paced and told from multiple perspectives that were easy to follow. The character development was excellent. I loved the grandmother, with her wicked sense of humor. Hank was another of my favorites for many reasons. He reminds me of my stepfather, who is always there for us. Hank is a great stepfather, and he loves the girls like they were his own.

I thought this was a well-written story about complicated relationships and family dynamics. The author’s descriptions were so vivid, I could easily picture summer on the Cape. I was completely absorbed in this engaging story and finished it in just two sittings.

A beautiful and moving story about love, family, hurt, anger, and forgiveness.

This was my first read from Hannah McKinnon, but I know it won’t be my last!

I’d like to thank Emily Bestler Books/Atria for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.



11 thoughts on “REVIEW: Sailing Lessons by Hannah McKinnon

  1. I love novels set by big bodies of water… and since character development is important to me, I’m glad to read that the characters all grew. Would you say the book had a satisfying ending as far as typing up loose ends and answering questions?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought the ending was really satisfying. I’m not a big fan of books that leave a lot of loose ends either so I understand. I thought it all came together quite well. Thanks for your comments and happy reading!


  2. Thanks for reviewing this. I’d never heard of it, but I know of someone whose father also left for decades and then came back. He was sick when he came back. The mother took him back in, but his daughter could not bring herself to bond with him because of the hurt she felt when he walked away from his family. One day he said he was going to the store and never came back. And then he came home when he was sick with cancer.

    I’m wondering how it turns out for this fictional family though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel for your friend. It’s very difficult to get past hurts and anger. And I think many people worry they’ll get hurt again. Although this book is fiction I felt the author did really well with the emotions of the characters.

      I hope you enjoy this book if you decide to read it. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review Dee. I have read a couple from Hannah MacKinnon, but did not realize this was another. I will have to see if I can get it. I really enjoy the family dramas and dynamics in her books.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s