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Friday, September 16, 2016

Excerpt from Peregrine Island by Diane B. Saxton

Publisher: She Writes Press 
Release Date: August 2nd, 2016
Formats Available: Paperback, ebook
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Blurb from Amazon:

The Peregrine family’s lives are turned upside down one summer when so-called “art experts” appear on the doorstep of their Connecticut island home to appraise a favorite heirloom painting. When incriminating papers, as well as other paintings, are discovered behind the artwork in question, the appraisal turns into a full-fledged investigation. Antagonism mounts between grandmother, mother, and child, who begin to suspect one another, as well as the shady newcomers in their midst, of foul play.


As the summer progresses and the Peregrines discover facts about their past in the course of the investigation, they learn that people―including them―are not always who they appear to be. But when they uncover the painting’s deepest secret, it gives them the gift of love that they have unconsciously been seeking all along.


EXCERPT

People who live on the shores of an ocean or a sea know what to do when a squall comes in. Lovers of salt-whippy air and fermenting waves enjoy the kick they get from the sudden, short- lived storm.

But not Winter Peregrine, sole owner of a small island, and mother and grandmother of a family insulated by the waters of the Long Island Sound. Never has she waded out to a waiting skull, rowed till she collapsed, nor has she experienced the thrill of hooking a bluefish, a flounder, or a sea bass. Nothing she does allows the sport of the sea into her life. She prefers to observe it—and from her shut-tight windows, she has learned its secrets well. Nevertheless, in a squall, Winter would probably perish.

Unlike her daughter, Elsepath, who relishes risk. Hooking a fish is child’s play for Elsie, as she prefers to be called. She enjoys a fight for survival. Water-skiing upside down on her fingertips while ricocheting between rocks at low tide—this is another one of her passions. And squalls—one would assume Elsie thrives on them.

Her daughter, tiny Peda, however, would never hook a fish, never water-ski where crabs multiply and make their homes. To become one with her habitat and to safeguard sea life from sudden ravages—this, she sees as her mission. Particularly in a squall.

In our mind’s eye, we picture the family on the beach: the grandmother on wet sand, her forehead coated with the sweat of icy fear; way ahead of her, the daughter, looking back, knee- deep in a stony tidal pool. And behind them both, we imagine we hear humming, and the skip and splash of a little girl’s feet. The three of them together are like inharmonious survivors on a raft, fated to capsize if thrust together too long, we think. But then again . . . maybe not. For what you see, or think you see, on Peregrine Island is seldom what it seems.

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 Diane B. Saxton

As a journalist for Vanity Fair, the Huffington Post, Holiday Magazine, and Greenwich Review, Diane Saxton covered everything from torture victims to psychics, animal rights activists to the famous daughter of Hollywood royalty, exotic travel to movie producers. Carrie Fisher, Peter Benchley, Stephen Birmingham, and Ed Sherin were just a few of the personalities she captured using her keen eye and unabashed candor. She brings the same gift for storytelling with illuminating subtext to her first novel, PEREGRINE ISLAND, which explores the psychological mystery behind an heirloom painting and what it reveals about the contradictory relationships within a troubled family.

A new chapter opened up for Saxton after interviewing Amnesty International U.S., founder Hannah Grunwald. Alarmed that the stories of such incredible and influential lives, such as Grunwald’s, could be lost as the Greatest Generation passes, Saxton began capturing their histories. Eventually, she compiled a prodigious biographical collection of 1,000 pages, which became the inspiration for her next novel. This historical, multi-generational story spans half a century of familial conflict between self-fulfillment and altruism.

Saxton is deeply committed to supporting the arts, which in the past has included the Berkshire Theatre, the Mahaiwe Theatre, Barrington Stage, Close Encounters with Music, Community Access to the Arts, Shakespeare & Co., Tanglewood, The Mount (the home of Edith Wharton), and the Writing Program at Hunter College. Also, an advocate for animal rights and a strong supporter of animal welfare groups, she divides her time between New York City and the Berkshires, where she lives with her husband, dogs and horses.

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