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The HomePort Journals, A Provincetown Fantasia Paperback – 18 Mar 2015
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“Burch’s exquisite descriptions of Provincetown bring the Cape to life, and the more he reveals about the delightfully crotchety Dorrie and Lola and the effervescent, tragic Helena, the more captivating they become. . . An often vivid portrait of Provincetown life and May-December friendships. . .”
“A cockeyed, full-hearted Provincetown fantasia, The HomePort Journals combines history and romance with a dash of wit and a firm belief that in some magical places there is always a second chance—for love and for art.”
-Heidi Jon Schmidt, Author,
The House on Oyster Creek
"This is a literary work of exceptional merit. It is epic in nature, yet intensely intimate in execution, gorgeously rendered in exquisite detail, and told with heart-felt honesty. It bears a message of hope and love, compassion and tolerance, of simple joys and overcoming the roadblocks life sometimes thrusts in your path."
About the Author
A.C. Burch trained as a classical musician, coming late to a literary career. His icons run the gamut from Jane Austin to Bart Yates by circuitous way of Patrick Dennis, Agatha Christie, Walter Mosely, and especially Armistead Maupin, whose notion of the "logical family" has become a core component of A.C.'s writings. While many of his characters are LGBTQ, his passion is for those who are marginalized or misunderstood-whatever their orientation. Since 1987, A.C. has lived in Provincetown. Well known for his lack of domesticity, he frequently channels "Little Edie" Beale in moments of desperation-whether indoors or out. When not splitting wood for his vintage wood stove, A.C. splits his time between Provincetown and South Beach.
Madeline Sorel has illustrated on-going columns for the New York Times and The N.Y. Daily News as well as books for children and adults. Her work has also appeared in several national magazines. A graduate of the High School of Music & Art in NYC, Madeline received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. She holds a Masters of Arts Education degree from Brooklyn College and has taught Illustration at Kingsborough Community College since 2001 as well art courses at Queens College. Work by Madeline Sorel can be found at madelinesorel.com. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
The debut novel from A. C. Burch, The HomePort Journals, is a novel that eludes me in terms of genre:
There are elements of paranormality, there’s a dash of eroticism, there’s romance, there’s mystery, even a faint hint of thriller, there’s plenty of epic saga, excitement, woven together by exquisite descriptions of locations and characters that literally sprang to life before my inner eye.
I have to apologize if I didn’t know that Provincetown was a real place when I picked up the book, there is a drawn map at the beginning, and I wasn’t sure if it was aimed at making it easier to picture an imaginary place or just serve those among us geographically challenged. Turns out that Provincetown is the equivalent to Europe’s Sitges, a very real place on the Eastern Massachusetts seaboard. Sorry for my ignorance, and thank goodness for Google and maps! The reason why I googled the name of the town was because our main protagonist, Marcus, or Marc as he prefers to go by, drove all night from New York to Provincetown. Why, that you can read for yourself. It made me curious as to where the story plays out. I often do that, do get a better feel for a book.
When you start to read a new story, it usually takes you a while before you’re drawn into it, you need information about the place to get a decent picture. The HomePort Journals is no different, yet as we’re immediately thrown off the deep end and straight into action, with Marc chasing groceries on a rainy main street, the start stretch is shorter than usual. I was hooked, particularly when he returns to his hot chocolate and finds it gone, drunk by the lady he tried to help. It was such an odd thing to do, that I got curious to learn more about her.
I’m not the sort of reviewer who writes a synopsis or a summary. Why not? I want you to read the book! And with The HomePort Journals, I really want you to read the book. The characters, as quirky as they may be, are adorable and easy to fall for, the story is captivating, and it keeps going and going. Yet there are no real down times, which isn’t bad for a novel of almost 100,000 words. You’ll meet the most adorable of “little old ladies”, gender queer Helena Handbasket along with other flesh and bone characters you won’t necessarily find in Suburbia, but who fit Provincetown like a glove.
Were there things I didn’t like? Yes, I think that is something that we’ll all find in almost every book we read. This novel is no different. I’m not Mr. Burch’s editor, but had I been, I probably would’ve suggested that he dump the one sex scene in the book. I’m not a prude, and there is an argument for the scene to be described. However, I found the scene too graphic in contrast with the tone and feel of the rest of the book, which, as romantic as it is (both in a 19th century Emily Brontë sense and in a Valentine’s Day sort of way), doesn’t really need this sort of scene.
What “bothered” me more was the ending. I’m all for a happy ending, but a very close friend of mine, and one of my own editors, once warned me of ending books with a neatly tied bow. I certainly think that the protagonists deserve their happy ending, no doubt about it, and my own writing thrives on them. However, if “above and beyond” has any meaning, Mr. Burch certainly did go above and beyond in making sure to create a fairy tale ending. I would’ve preferred it to be toned down just a notch. It would not have diminished the overall impression of a great novel, quite the contrary.
I found great pleasure in reading “The HomePort Journals”, this family saga, paranormal detective romance novel, which will put the American Sitges, Provincetown, on the gay map for good. Despite my small misgivings, I give it a whooping 4.5 stars, which we all know rounds up to 5! I for one look forward to reading more from Mr. Burch.
If you’d like to see some images from Provincetown, MA, visit the author’s website. I think you should wait until AFTER you read the novel, because reality just never really beats our imagination, and at least my Provincetown is way better than the real deal…
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Mystery, beauty, charm, but, most of all , love among these “special types of persons” who live in this glorious town “with more water than land” are revealed as you read through the pages of this book. You will wish that you could go to one of Lola’s afternoon “tea” parties to join in the conversation, meet the delightful characters, and experience the beautiful surroundings of Provincetown. Marc was correct in his musing about “the special people who live in this place” and we thank A. C. Burch for introducing them, their stories, and the beauty of Provincetown to his readers.
It’s basically a very upbeat tale, with some very funny parts, plus a totally unexpected surprise near the end.
The author, who lives in P’town himself, gives us a realistic view of this magical town. I have my own happy memories of many of the places he mentions in his book.
While you won’t find the actual Homeport building, it would surely be nice if it were really there.
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