Cronin's appearance will run from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m."/>

Cronin's appearance will run from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m."/> Olympic sailor to appear at Sanibel Island Bookshop to promote ‘Oliver’s Surprise’ | News, Sports, Jobs - SANIBEL-CAPTIVA - Island Reporter, Islander and Current
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Olympic sailor to appear at Sanibel Island Bookshop to promote ‘Oliver’s Surprise’

By Staff | Jan 4, 2010

Carol Newman Cronin

Carol Newman Cronin, a U.S. Olympic athlete and author, will read and sign copies of the second edition of her young adult novel, “Oliver’s Surprise: A Boy, A Schooner and the Great Hurricane of 1938,” at Sanibel Island Bookshop on Monday, Jan. 18.

Cronin’s appearance will run from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Targeted for teachers, the new edition of “Oliver’s Surprise” contains the original story plus a newly-added history of coasting schooners, along with eight pen-and-ink illustrations by Laurie Ann Cronin, a glossary of nautical terms, and a brief history of the Great Hurricane of 1938 that devastated the eastern seaboard.

“Oliver’s Surprise” tells the tale of 12-year-old Oliver Nichols-Bee, who skips school on a sparkling September afternoon and hides out on the historical schooner, Surprise. There, he reminisces about the deceased grandfather he loved, who once owned a boatyard.

After a sudden fall, Oliver wakes up in the world of the past and meets his grandfather, who is also named Oliver; his grandmother, Nellie; the Surprise’s Cap’n Eli; and a boy named Finn. Oliver learns what life was like during the days prior to the Great Hurricane of 1938; he also comes to know his grandfather as a young man and discovers why the Surprise was the only boat to survive the storm.

Like the highly-praised first edition, “Oliver’s Surprise” is a wonderful trip back in time for both children and adults. Joyfully written and carefully researched, the book introduces readers of all ages to the circumstances behind the Great Hurricane of 1938, and provides a glimpse of nautical life in New England.

Although spirited and intelligent, Oliver is also a thoughtful and caring boy, who loves his grandparents and comes to know them in a way that deepens his connection to his family. His struggle to decide what to do before the dangerous hurricane devastates the coast delivers the same page-turning suspense and ultimate satisfaction that readers came to know in the first edition of “Oliver’s Surprise.”

“The novel originated as a Christmas story for my nephew,” said Cronin. “Once it was written, I couldn’t let it go, so I kept working on it and talked my sister-in-law into doing a few drawings. GemmaMedia picked it up a few months later. This second edition adds a history of coasting schooners and a teaching guide, making it a terrific tool for connecting students with history.”

Cronin has sailed and written fiction since she was a child. In 2004, she crowned a lifetime of competitive achievement by winning two races for the USA at the Olympics in Athens. A member of the elite U.S. Sailing Team from 2001 through 2007, she has won numerous national and international sailing championships.

Since retiring from Olympic sailing, Carol has focused on writing and graphic design from her home office in Jamestown, R.I. She and her husband spend as many hours as possible on the water, mostly aboard a Herreshoff Marlin that was built in 1938.

Sanibel Island Bookshop is located at 1571 Periwinkle Way in Sanibel. For more information on the author or “Oliver’s Surprise,” visit