WE’RE GOING HOME: A TRUE STORY OF LIFE AND DEATH by Cynthia Thayer; Islandport Press, 2023; 235 pages, $18.95; ISBN 978-1-572-14374-8.


Grief is a powerful emotion that can take many forms, all of them painful, especially when one suffers the loss of a beloved and cherished spouse. British author C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) understood this when his wife died: “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” And now
Gouldsboro author Cynthia Thayer knows exactly what Lewis meant.

Thayer is a novelist, organic farmer and widow, and her book “We’re Going Home” is a loving tribute to her husband Bill Thayer (1937-2019) and their 40-year marriage, a partnership of love, trust, courage and devotion, along with a lot of laughs and a few tears.

She is a skilled writer, lyrical and evocative, but this honest, tender memoir must have been difficult to write. Her husband Bill died in 2019 of a severe head injury in a road accident. He held on for several weeks in the hospital, weeks for her of fear, uncertainty, and the panic of possibly losing him.

She tells this story as a journey of love, using alternating chapters to describe their lives before the injury and after. With candor and humor she tells of their courtship, marriage, move to Maine in 1976, creating the organic farm Darthia Farm, their blended family and community involvement. She also describes the shock of finding Bill injured, the hospital, doctors, and not knowing if he’ll survive. And then the horrible day when the doctor tells her it’s time to make a decision, and she knows “we need to let him go.”

With the kind support of family and friends, Thayer makes it through the funeral and burial at the farm, and her struggle with figuring out how to be a widow. Her ordeal proves that Lewis was right. There are lessons here for all of us.



Fantasy stories have long been popular with children, young readers and adults, too. Just think of the enduring favorites “Snow White,” “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty.” Today’s fantasy tales written for middle-grade readers have taken on an

PRINCESS OF THE WILD SEA by Megan Frazer Blakemore; Bloomsbury Publishing, 2023; 320 pages, $16.99; ISBN 978-1-5476-0956-7.

edgier, darker tone, but can still excite the imagination, for as humorist and fantasy writer Terry Pratchett says: “Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind.”

“Princess of the Wild Sea” is award-winning Kennebunk author Megan Frazer Blakemore’s seventh novel for young readers. This is a complex blend of magic, curses, evil versus good, deadly danger, warfare, love of family, royal duties, time travel, and the rise of a hero to save a princess and her kingdom.

Princess Harbor Rose just celebrated her 12th birthday with her mother, five aunts and villagers exiled on a small island in the sea (just off the Maine coast as it turns out).  In one year she and her family can return to her father, King of the Lands of Lapistyr. Her aunts all have magical powers, but one puts a curse on the girl — that war is coming and will destroy everyone unless a hero appears.

Harbor Rose pricks her finger on a piece of unicorn jewelry, sheds a single drop of blood and falls into a deep sleep. When she awakens, a small boy appears from The Somewhere Else, but he couldn’t possibly be the hero, could he? Meanwhile, war arrives in the form of The Frost, frozen enemies from the Kingdom That Was, and defeat seems certain.

More time travel, deep sleep, miraculous escapes, unexpected magic spells, trickery, and a surprising hero does appear, but it will take courage, trust, vision and determination to save the Kingdom of Lapistyr and all its people.

Bill Bushnell lives and writes in Harpswell.

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