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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Family Ship

ISBN: 1542004691

Publisher: Lake Union

Publication Date: 02/23/21

Format: e-book

My Rating: 5 Stars From the Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestselling author of True Places comes a disarming and emotional novel about a family in distress and a daughter’s mission to keep it from going under. Chesapeake Bay, 1980. Eighteen-year-old Verity Vergennes is the captain of the USS Nepenthe, and her seven younger siblings are her crew. The ship—an oyster boat transformed into a make-believe destroyer—is the heart of the Vergennes family, a place both to play and to learn responsibility. But Verity’s had it with being tied to the ship and secretly applies to a distant college. If only her parents could bear to let her go.

Maeve and Arthur Vergennes already suffered one loss when, five years earlier, their eldest son, Jude, stormed out and never returned. Now Maeve is pregnant again and something’s amiss. Verity yearns to follow her dreams, but how can she jump ship now? The problem, and perhaps the answer, lies with Jude.

When disaster strikes and the family unravels, Verity must rally her sibling crew to keep the Nepenthe and all it symbolizes afloat. Sailing away from home, she discovers, is never easy—not if you ever hope to find your way back.



“This richly-drawn and insightful story demonstrates an exceptionally deep understanding of family relationships.”

—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Families, like ships at sea, sometimes founder on hidden rocks and begin to break apart. Which is exactly what happens to the Vergennes family in Sonja Yoerg’s luminous The Family Ship. Only a heart of stone would be immune to the charm of the Vergennes children, all nine of them. Yoerg offers this large, disparate crew to the reader with the wisdom and compassion of a consummate storyteller. And she tops off the tale with one of the most exciting finales I’ve read in years. I recommend this book with my whole heart.”

- William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author of This Tender Land

"With both wit and wonder, Sonja Yoerg navigates The Family Ship through choppy waters. This novel is completely immersive and highlights the enduring power of story in both our lives and in our families. Yoerg’s prose and imagination are the strong currents that bring this fabulous tale to life."

- Patti Callahan, New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis

“Sonja Yoerg’s THE FAMILY SHIP is a fearless, timeless story of a family in crisis. Join the Vergennes family on the shores of the Chesapeake and you’ll be rewarded with an emotionally charged page-turner of a story, but also with a cast of beautifully rendered characters who each will find a different way into your heart. Rising tides of grief, hope, and loyalty will sweep you away!”

- Kelly Harms, USA TODAY bestselling author of The Overdue Life of Amy Byler

“Building on the metaphor of a landlocked ship on which the children of a large and close-knit family have long engaged in a complex game of make-believe, The Family Ship explores the dynamics of love and betrayal, tragedy and healing. Yoerg has crafted a refreshingly unusual and beautifully written story about the ways grief can both break us apart and bring us together.”

- Kerry Anne King, bestselling author of Whisper Me This and Everything You Are

"In The Family Ship, Sonja Yoerg has lovingly rendered an imaginative family saga of strength, tragedy, and triumph. The Vergennes family of nine children and their parents is deftly woven, and expertly crafted to explore an array of palpable emotions and realistic personalities for a sweeping cast of characters--a credit to Yoerg's remarkable skill and talent as a writer. Like all good family stories, The Family Ship begins and ends with love."

- Amy Sue Nathan, bestselling author of The Last Bathing Beauty


About the Author

Sonja Yoerg

Photo by Tamara Hattersly Photograhy

Sonja Yoerg grew up in Stowe, Vermont, where she financed her college education by waitressing at the Trapp Family Lodge. She earned her Ph.D. in Biological Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, studied learning in blue jays, kangaroo rats and spotted hyenas, and published a critically acclaimed non-fiction book about animal intelligence, CLEVER AS A FOX (Bloomsbury USA, 2001).

Sonja has since published five novels, including TRUE PLACES, a Washington Post, Amazon Charts bestseller, and Amazon First Reads pick. Her latest novel, STORIES WE NEVER TOLD, was also selected for Amazon First Reads. She is a member of Tall Poppy Writers.

Sonja lives with her husband near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia where she tends an ever-expanding vegetable garden. Read More






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