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"It was a huge and powerful ship with a tall, handsome pilothouse and big smoking stacks, no place for a girl, though I loved it, I cannot tell you how much I loved it." In her eighty-fifth year, Fern Halvorson tells the story of a childhood journey across Lake Michigan and the secret she has kept since that ill-fated voyage.
As his wife lies dying in the brutally cold winter of 1936, Henrik Halvorsen takes his daughter Fern away with him. He captains a great coal-fired vessel, the Manitou, transporting railroad cars across the icy lake. The five-year-old girl revels in the freedom of the ferry, making friends with a stowaway cat and a gentle young deckhand. The sighting of a ghost ship, though, presages danger for all aboard.
About the Author
Lee Zacharias is the author of four previous books, including The Only Sounds We Make and Lessons, a Book of the Month Club selection. Her work has appeared in the Best American Essays series. Born in Chicago and raised in Hammond, Indiana, she is professor emerita of English at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.
"One of the most intensely written and beautifully conceived novels to come my way in many a season. It is also among the most gripping, and it maintains its hold until the final period—and even beyond. I will be thinking about these characters for a long, long time. Seldom have I read a story with so much life on every page. Zacharias is a master."
—Steve Yarbrough, author of The Unmade World
"Lee Zacharias is one of those profoundly rare writers, a natural. Her voice is one you can trust, and her characters are real, moving, and come from the experience of someone who knows what trouble human beings get themselves into."
—Craig Nova, author of The Good Son