It’s the ’60s in San Francisco. Peace, love, and rock ’n’ roll reign. Counterculture has arrived and the times, they are a-changing, but while the beat goes on, a sixteen-year-old girl thinks only of endless summers beyond the dark waters of the Golden Gate Bridge. After spending a decade helping her father build their forty-foot sailboat, Heritage, she will leave behind everything she has known for the promise he’s made to her and her sisters and mother: that on this trip of a lifetime, he will be a better man and father. Heading out to sea on the night of their departure, she fears how ill-equipped they are for the enormity of what lies ahead. After all, her father has failed his celestial navigation course, her sisters can’t swim, and no one knows how to sail. Is it just departure jitters, or does she see something others don’t?
Set against a backdrop of the tropics, teenage torment, and a coterie of colorful and unforgettable characters, Unmoored tells a parallel story of a young woman’s budding independence and personal growth. Aboard Heritage, fueled by humor and her indomitable spirit, she learns to trust her intuition and to understand the power of self-reliance as her family hopscotches from port to port along the rugged coastlines from San Francisco to Central America and beyond. As Heritage battles storms, fire, and near disasters, the girl’s family slowly fractures, and she must decide on a course of action that may alter her dreams forever.
Unmoored is a story of adventure, revelation, and ultimately redemption. The outcome is never guaranteed, and sometimes not even the journey is a sure thing, but the discovery of resilience, strength, and most of all forgiveness is an inspiration for those who have dared to dream and thought they failed.
For more than thirty years, J. R. Roessl traveled the world, working as a model and commercial actor, before settling in the Hudson Valley to raise her family. She is a graduate of New York University, where she studied creative writing; Unmoored is her debut memoir. She currently resides with her husband and daughter in Pittsburgh. You can connect with J. R. Roessl through Facebook (@jrroessl), Instagram (@jr.roessl), and her website, www.jrroessl.com. To contact J. R. for book club events or speaking engagements, you can reach her through her website.
JR Roessl’s fascinating book about the years her family traveled the sea on a homemade boat is much more than the memoir of a sailing adventure; it’s an explosively rendered family drama, a deeply honest coming of age story, but perhaps, more than anything, it’s the wonderful debut of a writer with an urgent voice, ironic sense of humor, and a beautiful ear for dialogue. If I could say one thing to the author of Unmoored, it would simply be, 'More, please. More.'
The fantasy of sailing a beautiful homebuilt schooner around the world obsesses the author’s father in this gritty memoir told by a brave sixteen-year-old as she, her mother, and her sisters crew Heritage, a vessel that becomes a crucible of overcoming.
The fantasy of sailing a beautiful homebuilt schooner around the world obsesses a troubled father in this gritty memoir recounting how a brave sixteen-year-old, her mother, and her sisters crewed Heritage, a vessel that would become a crucible of overcoming.
"J.R. Roessl unflinchingly turns the traditional family sailing saga on its head. Months of hardship at sea don’t coalesce into emotional bonds. Instead, as a sixteen year old, the author faces down the truth that she must dig deep within herself to untether from a splintered family dream veering disastrously off course." —Cynthia Barrett, author of Three Sheets to the Wind: The Nautical Origins of Everyday Expressions