Can a guy from North Carolina love a Canadian girl and live in Maine?

Joe Haskins, Jr., is a native of North Carolina, but he sure did capture Maine in his novel, A Love From Away. There is a good reason for that: Haskins married a teacher from New Brunswick, Canada, and they moved to Maine in 2007.

So you won’t be surprised when the novel features, Gabriel, a guy from the south who, while teaching a semester at the University of Maine, meets a Canadian girl in Bangor and falls in love with her. But the guy doesn’t fall in love with Maine, and he leaves our state and the girl to return to North Carolina.

One reason for that is that Gabriel is haunted by the tragic death of his mother. And he can’t seem to put that behind him, even though he was only 15 when it happened. Both Gabrial and the young lady are devastated by his decision to leave her and Maine.

I don’t want to tell you more, but here’s something from the back cover: “Just as happiness seems within reach, Gabriel’s past places their future in doubt. Will Gabriel overcome his demons to build a life in a place his southern roots never thought they’d sprout? Will the past shackle Gabriel to a hopeless end, or will love triumph to tether to hearts from away?”

I enjoyed the details of Maine in this novel, including some of our favorite Bangor restaurants. But what really surprised me – given that this is Joe’s first novel – is how compelling and well-written the story is. I could not put the book down. So set aside some time for this one. And I guarantee that you will like it as much as I did.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.