This absorbing family saga follows the life of its central character, Joanna Bennett, from girlhood to adulthood. The novel is altogether satisfying on two levels. First, the setting is extraordinarily vivid and crucial to the action. Joanne lives on a small island off the coast of Maine, the daughter of a lobsterman and sister to 5 brothers struggling to earn a living in that same increasingly difficult way. The ocean in all its moods, the ever-present wind, the wheeling seagulls--these and other natural elements permeate the story. "High Tide at Noon" satisfies on a second level by making the reader care about the characters and what happens to them. Joanna's life as a young girl seems idyllic on the surface, but two men (one of whom she marries) bring plenty of trouble her way in due course. We also get to know the rest of her family, following them, as well, through the ups and downs of their lives--always with the sea and the disappearing lobster catches as background.