Maiden Voyage by Daphne Birkmyer is the third book in the Comfrey, Wyoming series, an engrossing tale that follows the unique journeys of twins, Amadeus and Marcela, on a path of discovering themselves and their purpose. Amadeus and Marcela Crow are twins who grew up together but their paths are destined to be different. While Marcela completes her gender-affirming surgery in San Francisco, Amadeus leaves college and goes to Alaska to work in the risky fishing industry. These characters face unique situations and readers follow them as they struggle to define themselves in their unique worlds. Heidi Crow has done everything to prepare them for the surprises that life will eventually throw at them, but has she been successful in preparing them for the vicissitudes of life?
Daphne Birkmyer's novel is character-driven and while it is part of a series, it reads excellently as a standalone novel, with unforgettable characters, a stunningly imagined and deftly executed setting, and conflicts that are embedded in the existential realities of the characters. Birkmyer has the uncanny ability to weave realism and humanity into the story in a way that fills it with life and brings the characters alive. The writing is filled with details and supporting characters that are equally enjoyable. Readers who love tales with a strong sense of place will enjoy this entry into the series, deeply. I hoped to find some hiccups in the plot, but any apparent weakness in the plot is complemented by the author's extraordinary ability to create lovable characters. Maiden Voyage is a fully drawn, nuanced tale that will be cherished by readers who enjoy great writing and sophisticated characters.