Thursday, January 10, 2019

Review of A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

Scene from Port Clyde Area
Scene from Port Clyde Area

For my book  club, we just read A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline.  I knew it was historical fiction and that it took place in Maine, but it wasn't until I started reading that I realized I had been to all of the small towns that were mentioned in the book.  I find it delightful to be able to picture the area that the story take place.  The photo above is one that I took on my visit.

The Book

I had read books by Christina Baker Kline before and really enjoy her writing style.  She wrote The Orphan Train and Sweetwater both books I would highly recommend.  So, I started A Piece of the World with high expectations and I was not disappointed.  Christina Baker Kline has a way of bringing you into her book and making you feel empathy with her characters.

Although this book is a work of fiction, the major characters are all real people and the author did a lot of  research into the characters and the area to give a realistic view.  The book is based on a painting by artist Andrew Wyeth  Christina's World , and in particular about the life of Christina.
The author alternates between describing Christina's early life in the early 1900's to describing her life when Andrew Wyeth is painting her in the mid 1900's.  Christina leads a simple and hard life on a farm in a remote area of Maine.  She grows up with her parents and three brothers on the family farm overlooking the bay.  Although it sounds like a beautiful setting the work is hard without any of the conveniences of modern day.  They have no electricity or indoor plumbing and Christina has a debilitating disease that makes it hard for her to move around.  Despite this she manages to do her chores and eventually take care of the household.

In her late teens and early twenties Christina meets some summer people who visit the coast each summer and we hear of her friends and love interest from Boston.

Later in life the painter Andrew Wyeth summers in the area and uses the upstairs rooms in Christina's home to paint.  Christina becomes friends with Andrew and his wife Becky and he is the one person that seems to understand things from Christina's point of view.

I found this to be a very intriguing book that really makes you consider life's choices.  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. 

Amazon Links to the Book and the Painting


Rockland and Port Clyde Area Today

I have written about the Rockland and Port Clyde area in two different posts.  This post is primarily about lighthouses in the area and was written on my lighthouse blog.
Mid-Coast Maine Lighthouses

I've also written a post on Review This about the area Review of Port Clyde Maine

Today Andrew Wyeth's son is a prominent local artist.  There is a gallery just above the General Store that displays his works along with some of his fathers.
Port Clyde Area photo by mbgphoto
Photos of the Area
Here are some photos I took of the area around Port Clyde.  I found it to be very picturesque.
Port Clyde lighthouse photo by mbgphoto

Port Clyde Area photo by mbgphoto

Port Clyde boats photo by mbgphoto

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. What fun to read a book with settings of places you've been. I felt that way about Sue Grafton's setting from her very first book in her ABC series. Although she used a fictitious name for the town (Santa Teresa), it was definitely Santa Barbara immediately familiar to anyone who has ever lived in California or visited the area. So I can understand how interesting it was for you to 'visit through words in the story' places in Maine you have been to. I visited Maine many, many years ago and am somewhat familiar with the Maine coast. I am also a great admirer of Andrew Wyeth, thus would enjoy reading this book from that fact alone. I enjoyed your book review and photos of your Maine visit.

  2. Thanks Mary Beth for this lovely review. I'm always on the look out for some books that tell a really good story and this sounds like it will fit the bill perfectly. Your pictures are just amazing, beautiful and make me want to jump right into them. Peaceful and serene I love it.

  3. It sounds like a great book Mary Beth! I also enjoy reading books about places where I have been. It really is much easier to visualize the scenes in my mind. I couldn't help but think that we often miss what others are challenged by simply because we don't pay enough attention to them. By using the upstairs room, Wyeth not only had the opportunity to observe Christina, but the concern for others required to note someone else and their problems.

  4. I appears to be a book I'd enjoy. Thanks for sharing your recommendation. I value recommendations from people I know. I understand about the experience of reading books set in places you've been or in your local area. I like books by our own local authors because I can visualize the scenes.

  5. Your photos are always beautiful. This book sounds intriguing. The characters and the fact that there's a historical aspect to it is very appealing. Honestly I think I could get lost in this book.

  6. Mary Beth! As soon as I write this comment, I am going to add this book to my Kindle. First of all, how fun that you read a book and realize that you have visited all of those places. Awesome! The book sounds like something I want to read immediately because 1) I know I enjoy the author. Orphan Train was an amazing book. 2) I visit Brandywine museum, Chadds Ford, and surrounding area and love Wyeth (although I'm no art expert) and 3) your review makes this historical fiction sound interesting. Thank you for the review. I would not have known about this book otherwise.


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