Chance Harbor

By Holly Robinson

ISBN13: 9780451471505

Author website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt


From the acclaimed author of Beach Plum Island and The Wishing Hill… “No one does it better than Holly Robinson.”—Susan Straight, National Book Award Finalist and Author of Between Heaven and Here

Catherine and Zoe are sisters, but even their mother, Eve, admits her daughters are nothing alike. Catherine is calm and responsible. Zoe is passionate and rebellious. Nobody is surprised when Zoe gets pregnant, drops out of college, and spirals into drug addiction.

One night Catherine gets a call from Zoe’s terrified daughter, Willow, saying her mother has abandoned her in a bus station and disappeared. Eve blames herself, while Catherine, unable to have children, is delighted to raise Willow as her own.

Now, five years later, Eve is grieving her husband’s death and making reluctant plans to sell the family’s beloved summer home on Prince Edward Island. But a series of unexpected revelations will upend the family and rock three generations of women.



Author Holly Robinson has written in Chance Harbor a deeply moving and intense look at the lives of 3 generations of women in a family that have been changed by circumstances. Eve, the mother, facing life after the death of her husband, possible sale of their home on Prince Edward Island – Chance Harbor and dealing with the memories of what was her marriage. On the outside her relationship with Andrew had seemed fine, but it was not as happy as her children believed it to be. Then there is daughter Catherine, always steady and grounded and doing what is right. She is blindsided by the betrayal of her solid husband Russell. Their divorce is hard on her and her niece that they adopted. Willow is the final cog in this story. She is the niece of Catherine and granddaughter of Eve. Born to the wild child daughter Zoe, she was left at a bus station alone when Zoe ran off with instructions to call Catherine. Catherine was her saving grace along with Russell. They took her into their lives and adopted her. Then everything changed.

Chance Harbor encompasses so many emotions, so many dynamics of family life, it just pulls you in and does not let go. The two sisters, Catherine and Zoe are so very different and during the book we can see that some things may be due to nature and some to nurture. Zoe was a wild, independent, crazy daughter. In and out of trouble, drug use, running away, bad grades, the whole gambit of bad behavior. Her mother Eve tried to help with love and acceptance. Catherine was hard working, driven, and good in school, planned her life and career and wanted to make everyone happy. Her father spent his time with her and was proud of her and her life. Who did right, who did wrong? As the story unfolds, the reader learns more about the background for those feelings and actions of the parents. Everyone has thought Zoe was dead after she abandoned Willow at the bus station, but is she?

Holly Robinson’s writing style is infectious and driven. This book draws the reader in. It is told by all three women/teen. And each woman has their own voice. Back stories are exposed as the character is drawn into their past and their actions. The characters are so interesting and well developed. Their lives are laid out in all their glory and pain. At times this is a very sad and upsetting tale, while other times the happiness is immense. Descriptive prose and authentic characters kept me entertained and I truly enjoyed reading this book. A tale about family histories, relations and the secrets that were kept. The author writes equally intense in the voice of mother, daughter and granddaughter. Each character faces drastic change and how they deal with that pulled me in even more.

Chance Harbor is well written, complex, and riveting. The setting is beautifully described and the reader can get a real feel of the characters and their lives. This is a wonderful story of three different generations of a dysfunctional family and the way 3 very different women handle the difficulties that they are facing. I am not sure how I would handle the things that they have been dealt. I think this will appeal to readers that are interested in literature dealing with women and the ways they cope with emotional pain, physical pain and trauma. Some of the issues that are dealt with her are very painful and tragic. Holly Robinson’s handling of them is perfect, not sugar coated nor too horrible. It causes some serious thought provoking. I really enjoyed this book.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*