Prepare to be captured by Elaine Ford’s final book

Elaine Ford’s final book is a keeper, partly because she leaves many of the endings to her readers. This Time Might Be Different is a very appropriate title, because I’ve never read such compelling stories. Some are funny and some are troubling, but each one will grab you and propel you forward.

A friend said she started reading the book on a Saturday and couldn’t stop, finishing it in one day. It took me two evenings – and ok, one morning I grabbed it too, delaying my workday because I just had to read more of these stories.

Subtitled “Stories of Maine” and published by Islandport Press in Yarmouth, I was especially pleased to learn that Elaine knew her book was going to be published before she died last August of brain cancer.

A lot of her stories are set in Washington and Hancock counties, places she loved after moving to our state in 1985 and living in Milbridge. Elaine taught at the University of Maine. She published five novels, and, late in life, she began writing plays.

From her vivid portrayals of her characters to her descriptions of their often difficult and troubled lives to her very realistic dialogue, Elaine puts you right into the heart of her stories.

Wes McNair describes Elaine’s writing well in his introduction to the book: “Grim as the circumstances of her characters may sometimes be, there is a kind of solace that gradually emerges as one reads her work – a sense that here is someone who understands and cares about their plight.”

Elaine, on her website, explained that she was drawn to characters who are “marginalized by class, ethnicity, physical appearance, or geographical location.”

And McNair captured my experience as I read these stories, noting that “Starting a story by Elaine Ford is like falling into a trance.” There are 15 stories in this book, and all I can promise is that you will be entranced.

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,, 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.