Leaving Rock Harbor
is a love story that takes place in a New England Mill town in the early twentieth century. Frankie, our narrator, is the fourteen year old daughter of a mill worker whose family moves to Rock Harbor in the wake of her father's attempted suicide, in an attempt to start over in one of the "Boom towns" of the textile industry in Massachusetts, 1914. As the story unfolds, a bittersweet love triangle evolves between Frankie and the man she eventually marries, Winslow Curtis, who is the son of a powerful state politician and mill owner, and his best friend, Joe, a Portuguese worker who becomes a union organizer. Frankie falls in in love with both of these charismatic young men. Frankie's personal history is told against the backdrop of the fall of the textile industry in New England, and is anchored in the issues of class and labor that define the time and place of this novel. Frankie's journey to adulthood parallels the evolution of the mill town itself, and the lost promise of a Boom Town that everyone thought would last forever.
"An irresistible read in part because its protagonist, Frankie Ross, seduces us on the first page and never surrenders our affection, but also because fictional Rock Harbor feels as real as she does.
-- Richard Russo, author of That Old Cape Magic and Empire Falls
Praise for Leaving Rock Harbor:
"Leaving Rock Harbor brings to life the world of an early twentieth century mill town with rich detail and simple grace. Chace writes movingly about what is both gained and lost in the name of progress, not only for her characters, but for us all."
-- Marisa Silver, author of Little Nothing and Mary Coin
"Chace has deftly and seamlessly interwoven a love story, an elegy for a vanished way of life, and an account of a crucial and neglected period in America's social history. Nobody who reads this moving, evocative and sure-handed novel will ever forget Frankie and her world."
-- David Gates, author of Jernigan
"Rebecca Chace's Leaving Rock Harbor is beautifully constructed, tender, and irresistibly readable. It signals the coming of age of a great talent."
-- Louis Begley, author of About Schmidt and Wartime Lies
"Rebecca Chace's eye is sharp, whether she's writing about New England cotton mills in the years surrounding the first World War, bathing in the Atlantic -- wearing a corset or wearing almost nothing -- or eating lobster and drinking champagne in a fading but grand seaside hotel. Frankie Ross, the narrator of Leaving Rock Harbor, doesn't manage her life sensibly, but she's lovable because she can love, and it was a great pleasure to read her story."
-- Alice Mattison, author of Nothing is Quite Forgotten in Brooklyn
Leaving Rock Harbor was also published by Bloomsbury books in German, with another beautiful cover