A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean (Hardcover)
April 2009 Indie Next List
“Tori Murden McClure's account or rowing solo across the Atlantic Ocean is a compelling adventure story expertly interwoven with a wrenching and brutally honest account of the emotional ups and downs of her life. A Pearl in the Storm is a memoir that doesn't just recount a life -- it truly reveals the person who lived it.”
— Carol Besse, Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, KY
"In the end," writes Tori McClure, "I know I rowed across the Atlantic to find my heart, but in the beginning, I wasn't aware that it was missing."
During June 1998, Tori McClure set out to row across the Atlantic Ocean by herself in a twenty-three-foot plywood boat with no motor or sail. Within days she lost all communication with shore, but nevertheless she decided to keep going. Not only did she lose the sound of a friendly voice, she lost updates on the location of the Gulf Stream and on the weather. Unfortunately for Tori, 1998 is still on record as the worst hurricane season in the North Atlantic. In deep solitude and perilous conditions, she was nonetheless determined to prove what one person with a mission can do. When she was finally brought to her knees by a series of violent storms that nearly killed her, she had to signal for help and go home in what felt like complete disgrace.
Back in Kentucky, however, Tori's life began to change in unexpected ways. She fell in love. At the age of thirty-five, she embarked on a serious relationship for the first time, making her feel even more vulnerable than sitting alone in a tiny boat in the middle of the Atlantic. She went to work for Muhammad Ali, who told her that she did not want to be known as the woman who "almost" rowed across the Atlantic Ocean. And she knew that he was right.
In this thrilling story of high adventure and romantic quest, Tori McClure discovers through her favorite way--the hard way--that the most important thing in life is not to prove you are superhuman but to fully to embrace your own humanity. With a wry sense of humor and a strong voice, she gives us a true memoir of an explorer who maps her world with rare emotional honesty.
“Tori Murden McClure is one of the most remarkable women I have ever met; her journey across the ocean is equal only to her journey of the heart. This is a story of courage, adventure, and personal discovery that will appeal to women--and men of all ages.”
“Unlike Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, Tori Murden McClure’s true story of a woman and the sea and a boat named American Pearl is one of victory. If you want to be inspired, read this book. You won’t stop till you’ve finished.”
-Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife
“For those six billion or so of us on planet Earth today who will never row across an ocean, this extraordinary narrative by one fellow human who did so transports us to places beautiful, haunting, daunting, terrifying, and uplifting.”
-Roy Hoffman, author of the novels Almost Family and Chicken Dreaming Corn
“In this fine book, Tori McClure generously gives us at the same time a wonderfully told adventure story and a moving account of a storm-wracked journey through self-discovery into healing. . . .”
-Charles Gaines, author of The Next Valley Over
“The reader of this book encounters a rare spirit whose courage is an inspiration.”
-Jill Ker Conway, author of The Road from Coorain