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HOLDING FAST: A Memoir of Sailing, Love, and Loss

"Holding Fast is a memoir of an unconventional life spent sailing. Readers who aspire to similarly upend their circumstances in favor of a more nomadic lifestyle will welcome Cole's honest reflections.... Cole's story is deeply personal, detailed, and frequently inspiring. Both Cole and her husband, John, emerge as fully formed individuals on the page. The strength of their relationship is a particularly endearing element of the story."
—Publishers Weekly


"A moving account of a sailing marriage, with all the highs and lows of pitching seas...Though she denies that she is adventurous, her willingness to say yes and share John's dream is the essence of adventure...She's a good and perceptive writer. This is a hard-earned, worthwhile human document."
—Yachting Monthly


"A wife follows her husband to sea and finds herself along the way...A perfect, realistic counterpart to Amity Gaige's Sea Wife (2020), Cole's moving memoir is emotionally astute, and her use of excerpts from the Laughing Goat's log provides welcome insights into John's perspective. Vivid characterizations...The author's voice is so assured..."
—Kirkus Review


"A family's sailing journeys and their thrilling Caribbean adventure... In a journey that began as a search for adventure, along the way they found love.... Despite their differences, Cole is willing to abandon the perspectives she grew up with and follow John on an extraordinary and scary journey. I loved this book. It is captivating and well-written throughout... a powerful memoir that captures a family's loving journey and their daring sailing adventures."
—Readers' Favorite


"Thoroughly absorbing…Vivid story of survival and adaptation that operates on many different levels, promising to attract not just readers of true-life adventure, but those who want stories of endurance and moving forward…Enlightening, moving."          

—Midwest Book Review    


"An astonishing adventure. A complex, life-changing marriage. And the great gift of Susan Cole's soul, open to the reader."

Sandra Scofield, author of The Last Draft, National Book Award Finalist


"Most cruising yarns are written by men, for men, and only mention the reluctant spouse reluctantly. Not Holding Fast. It is a lyrical tale of a young woman (and mother) learning the ropes—of her floating home, her marriage, and life itself." 

Cap'n Fatty Goodlander of Cruising World magazine


"Susan Cole's honest and poignant memoir is an adventure story and love letter wrapped in one. Holding fast can require letting go, and for Cole, following her husband's dream to sail away leads her to discover unknown strengths within herself, and everything she needs to make it home. A heartwarming read."  

Jennifer Rosner, author of The Yellow Bird Sings


"At once a captivating life story made up of a rich history, and a beautiful reflection on loves lost. Tender, moving and highly readable."

—Torre DeRoche, author of Love with a Chance of Drowning


"This book is one part "Hero's Journey" and two parts love story; an alchemy of high adventure and keen insights that will take your breath away and expand your capacity to love. Empowering, entertaining, and most of all inspiring. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I know you will, too."

—Brian Luke Seaward, author of Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water

"Riveting true story about the author's life on a sailboat with her young family. Sensitive, brave, inspiring, funny, and beautifully written --- you won't be able to put it down! Reveals how the author comes to find herself through love, loss, raising a child at sea, and her fears and joys."

—Helena Dea Bala, author of Craigslist Confidential 




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