About a fifty-year old guy at the end of his third marriage and twenty five-year job who talks his three long time best friends (all much more successful than he) into backing his dream of restoring an old hotel on the Jersey Shore (a locale of his childhood summers). The place turns out to have a kind of magic about it (that brings people to the root of what is really important to them and makes them happy) and is filled with some pretty crazy characters who have all been deeded rooms for life by the previous owner.
The first forty pages are pretty weak as the protagonist whines a lot, but gets good after his failed suicide and he begins to make his way to the hotel. He resolves a lot of issues and mysteries of his life there, a typical âfind one's self' kind of tale. His interactions with the wacky residents, what he learns from each of them, and their unique special-ness is what makes the book. I'd give it three of five stars.
The title âMooncusser' arises from a specific haunting myth surrounding the hotel and the immediate area. Mooncussers were land pirates in the 1700's. They set fires on the shore in strategic locations to drive ships onto the rocks. They would then pillage the bodies and wreckage that washed ashore.
From the jacket flap:
Come to Ireland by the Sea. Taste the salty sea air. Take a slow evening stroll along the inn's wide verandah. Gaze at the endless expanse ofâ¦ what was that? A ghost? No. Get a grip â everybody knows the Mooncusser is just an old legend â isn't it? It was probably just one of the Ireland's wacky residents, out trying to scare away the paying guests.
C William Shackleton, (C, with no period) has talked his three best friends into backing his dream of turning this decrepit hotel on the New Jersey shore into a Club Med / Canyon Ranch / Playboy Club. The trouble is, several prime rooms have been deeded for life to a cast of misfits and zanies who have a bone or two to pick with Ireland's new owner. And, most unsettling of all, the old inn seems haunted by a force that causes people to speak with stunning honesty, as if there's lingering magic in the walls that makes everyone who visits more true to what he or she is, for better or for worse.
Ireland by the Sea is âMcWilly'sâ last chance to make something of himself â his company has downsized him, and his third marriage has crumbled, causing him to lose his son, just as long ago he lost his daughter â but the ghosts from his past waiting for him there are all too real, and they have other plans for him. It turns out that McWilly is in for a whole lot more salvation than one man should have to endure â that is, unless he deserves it.