Don’t Put the Boats Away

Thank you to BookSparks and She Writes Press for gifting me a copy of Don’t Put the Boats Away by Ames Sheldon. 

In the aftermath of World War II, the members of the Sutton family are reeling from the death of their “golden boy,” Eddie. Over the next twenty-five years, they all struggle with loss, grief, and mourning.

Daughter Harriet and son Nat attempt to fill the void Eddie left behind: Harriet becomes a chemist despite an inhospitable culture for career women in the 1940s and ’50s, hoping to move into the family business in New Jersey, while Nat aims to be a jazz musician. 

Both fight with their autocratic father, George, over their professional ambitions as they come of age. Their mother, Eleanor, who has PTSD as a result of driving an ambulance during the Great War, wrestles with guilt over never telling Eddie about the horrors of war before he enlisted. 

As the members of the family attempt to rebuild their lives, they pay high prices, including divorce and alcoholism―but in the end, they all make peace with their losses, each in his or her way. 

I have always considered myself to be a sucker for a multi-generational family drama and that is what Don’t Put the Boats Away Is

I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style of the author, Ames Sheldon. Everything seemed to flow together well and kept me interested in the entirety of the book. I found the way that the book was put together to be interesting as well; instead of following the character through years of their life, at a time. It seemed that the author only focused on the important parts of their lives. It never had a monotonous feel to the storyline; it all seemed to work together well. 

On first glance of the synopsis, I thought that the book would depict the behind the scenes lives of all the men bees of the Sutton family but it mainly focuses on Harriet and Nat. Which is not necessarily wrong, but I did find myself wanting to know a bit more about the other family members. 

Don’t Put the Boats Away was a trip through history. Ames Sheldon managed to fit in all of the major historical occurrences into the 291 pages of the book and I thought she did a tremendous job at doing so. 

Thank you, again, to Book Sparks, She Writes Press and Ames Sheldon for gifting me a copy of this book. Don’t Put the Boats Away was released on August 27th and is available for purchase now!

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