[title size=”1″]Once Upon A Gypsy Moon[/title][button color=”” size=”large” link=”https://read.amazon.co.uk/kp/embed?asin=B00FOW9QR2&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_sqE3xbT9HSZC2″ target=””]READ A CHAPTER[/button]
“A striking memoir of personal discovery” —Kirkus Reviews
“A compelling and rather wonderful nautical yarn.” —Martin Dugard (Killing Lincoln, etc.)
“[A] deeply moving book, especially for anyone grappling with the challenges that life throws at everyone.” —Bookviews
Beginning in 2009, Michael took periods of time off from his law practice in Raleigh to embark on a hopscotch, 2,200 mile, solo-sailing voyage that ended abruptly, more than two years later, in the middle of the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti. That voyage and the experiences that inspired him to set sail became the subject of his memoir, Once Upon A Gypsy Moon, published in 2013 by Hachette Book Group.
The story begins as Michael deports Annapolis, Maryland. He first makes port in Beaufort, North Carolina after a 350-mile solo passage that includes a midnight run through the “Graveyard of the Atlantic”—an area off the Outer Banks of North Carolina storied for thousands of shipwrecks but which he finds to be eerily calm, “like a murderer’s smile.”
As the story follows Michael to various ports of call farther south, he uses keen observations as touch points to reconcile events from his own past. Through these poignant, personal stories, he draws larger lessons for the reader on such diverse topics as faith and disbelief, life and death, love, marriage and affairs, parenting, and the challenges faced by adult children of alcoholics.
The voyage brightens in a surprising and unexpected way when Michael meets his future bride, Susan, after rough weather and mechanical failures force him to come ashore in Charleston for repairs. Eight months later the two are married, and the voyage continues. This course-correction provides the author a vehicle for describing his past failures in love and the foundation on which he has resolved to build again. Writing the final chapters of the book one year after his re-marriage, Michael explains his remarkable experience of redemption by telling a humorous, metaphorical tale of the sailing couple’s quest, off the coast of Hispaniola, for the “perfect mahi-mahi.”
The book reaches a dramatic ending in the Windward Passage between Haiti and Cuba. Caught by unexpected high winds and seas and irreparable damage to his boat, Michael is faced with a life-altering choice that brings this memoir to its exciting and unexpected conclusion.
Once Upon A Gypsy Moon tells a wonderful love story and a salty, wave-swept tale in the time-honored tradition. Its message of hope will resonate with anyone who has had to pick up the pieces after personal failure and loss.
(Hachette / Center Street, 2013)