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  • Writer's pictureKali Kuzma

Migrations By Charlotte McConaghy: A Book Review

A Favorite New Author

Last August as I wandered the shelves of the classic Barnes and Noble, I stumbled upon a novel called, Once There Were Wolves.

With the cool cover and enticing blurb I purchased the book but unlike other purchases wasn't busting at the seams to read it.

After several months sitting on my shelf, I finally dusted off the cover and sat down to read. Low and behold, it was the most marvelous book I'd ever read with a connection to nature I'd never felt before.

I quickly flipped to the author page where a fast read of the bio informed me this book was in fact Charlotte McConaghy's second stand-alone novel. Having an overwhelming feeling I'd just found a new favorite author I jumped in the car to find myself back at Barnes and Noble.

This time, instead of wandering the aisles, my gait had a purpose. Straight to the fiction aisle I scanned the spines waiting for Charlotte's name to pop out. But to my dismay and after several minutes of searching my hands were empty. Before giving up, I beelined for the information booth where I was told by a teenage gum chewer there was one soft cover book in the entire store. Seeing she wasn't going to offer additional help, I found myself back in the fiction aisle. It had to be there somewhere! But again, searching left me empty handed. Feeling defeated, I decided to head home thinking about how I was going to have to wait for Amazon to deliver the novel when out of the corner of my eye, Charlotte McConaghy's name stood bold against a bright blue cover. I had found it!

Peeling the book from its invalid placement I grinned with joy. There the cover read, Migrations and it was then I had to see if Charlotte could stand up to her last masterpiece.

Overview of Migrations

Franny Stone is a wanderer. Ever since she was little, Franny found herself pulled from one place to the next fascinated by its wonders. But in a world where the human race is eliminating the remaining animal species, Franny brings it upon herself to fulfill her husband's dream of witnessing the last Artic tern migration. Will her wandering tendencies help convince Ennis Malone, the captain of one of the last sea fishing vessels, to bring her along or will her past make her realize not everything is made to be wandered?

The Cons of Migrations

· Franny's Wandering Personality

I often find author's wanting to give their characters a worldly feel by making the characters go out and explore the world around them. This can be seen time and time again in fiction novels but supporting character's find this trait to be annoying or rude. We as people are nomads and even though we have evolved over the years to be able to settle down, going off to see sites or what the world has to offer shouldn't be seen as a negative or ridiculous trait.

I wish the author would have used this trait as a good representation that traveling and curiosity is the reason people learn and grow.

· Franny and the Captain's relationship

Throughout the entire book I was confused on the author's choice of how Franny and the Captain interacted. It was strained from the start but somehow, we as readers, were supposed to understand how they did in fact relate to each other when nowhere in the story was there a pivotal moment for a shift. In fact, if the captain was taken out of the story completely, I feel the plot could have continued on without him.

The Pros of Migrations

· A Catching Scene

In the first chapter, the writing starts off slow. I could tell I was going to have a hard time reading the book if it continued on any further, but then, right as the chapter was coming to a close the author reels you in with an intense scene you would hope one would never have to be apart of or see.

· Franny and Niall's Relationship

Even though their relationship is unconventional in a sense of there being a big gap in age and marrying after only 6 weeks, Franny and her husband Niall's relationship is sweet and breath of fresh air when it comes to couples. It shows the ups and downs but also what it means to truly care for someone.

· Bird Research

In this story. along with her other novel, the author does a great job researching animals beforehand. This makes the environment the characters are in more believable while also spreading correct information about animal conservation.

· Several Twists

I wasn't sure how the story was going to come together but there were two great twist endings that really made the story come together.

· Past and Present

The book jumps back and forth between present day Franny and past Franny. I found this to be a great transition into seeing how her character grew throughout the story arch. It did a great job teasing at the backstory which kept me interested.

Overall Review Summary

How did this story compare to the author's second novel, Once There Were Wolves?

Well, I wasn't as captured or drawn to this story as much as I had been while reading Once There Were Wolves. But! I still found this to be an entertaining book overall especially with animal conservation at its core.

Even though some of the character's relationships and interactions confused me and with the main character, Franny, having not as many unique qualities, the plot kept my attention.

The cover is basic and looks like someone with little experience slapped a stock image and some text together. Even still, the book was easy to follow and contained shorter chapters.

I would recommend this novel to other readers and give it a 4.2 out of 5 stars.

With both books being on the higher quality scale I will definitely say Charlotte McConaghy is a top author pick.

If you are interested great reads check out my children's picture book Princess Gabriella and the Never-Ending Kiss. You can purchase it on Amazon, in eBook, format for only $9.99! Or get a physical copy at for $32.99!

If you love a good book and are interested in finding your next read, I suggest taking a look at my review for Midnight Sun, Where the Crawdads Sing, and Once There Where Wolves.

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