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A Pearl in the Storm is about failure and recovery. It is about storms that twist our lives and shatter our dreams. It is about the pearls: the guides, the guardians, and the mentors who lift us up after we fall. The cover of the book tells us that this is the true story of the first woman to row a boat alone across an ocean. If you looking for a simple adventure story about a simple athlete, this book is not for you. There is nothing simple about Tori Murden McClure. In the introduction, McClure asks her Uncle whether she should write her story as “a comedy, a history, a tragedy, or a romance.” Her Uncle answers, “A romance.” This answer leaves the author at a loss; at the start of the story, she has no experience with romance.

The book begins as a blend of comedy and history. The author is brutally honest in her ability to laugh at herself, and she invites the reader to laugh along. The elements of history and literature that structure the narrative expose a scholarly mind that yearns to understand what it means to live a just and meaningful life. It is not long before tragedy enters the narrative. There is pain. There is sadness and lonely self-denial. These aspects help us to understand why an otherwise sensible woman would choose to row alone across an ocean. In the end the fortress of intellect that the author had depended upon crumbles and she discovers her heart. The book is an intricate blend of comedy, history, tragedy, and romance. This is the memoir of an explorer in the truest sense. She sets off in search of intellectual riches, and instead she finds love.