On the Crystal Coast of North Carolina, in the small town of Emerald Isle... Juli Cooke, hard-working and getting nowhere fast, marries a dying man, Ben Bradshaw, for a financial settlement, not expecting he will set her on a journey of hope and love. The journey brings her to Luke Winters, a local art dealer, but Luke resents the woman who married his sick friend and warns her not to hurt Ben - and he's watching to make sure she doesn't - until Ben dies and the stakes change. Framed by the timelessness of the Atlantic Ocean and the brilliant blue of the beach sky, Juli struggles against her past, the opposition of Ben's and Luke's families, and even the living reminder of her marriage - to build a future with hope and perhaps to find the love of her life - if she can survive the danger from her past.
©2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 Turquoise Morning Press (P)2014 Grace Greene
Better writing would have made this story better. The dialog was bland as was the action. The characters were all so sweet they made my face hurt.
Her voices were all the same. Boring!
This storyline was a good idea, it just needed better writing to carry it off.
When searching for a word to describe Grace Greene’s writing, I decided "amateurish" was too harsh. She has clearly studied the craft and her writing has all the requisite elements of good fiction, but in the end the execution is "unsophisticated."
The writer relies on narrative to communicate qualities and thoughts of her characters rather than trusting them to reveal themselves through dialogue. The plot is poorly constructed so that the book ends up being too long by at least one third.
The pacing of the quasi-slapstick ending drags. In an effort to paint a picture of the scene, the author uses so many words to explain what each character is doing that it takes the narrator forever to finish reading the passage. The “action” never succeeds in moving forward to a climax because the author has left the reader bogged down in setting the scene.
Caroline Miller’s narration does not help make this book more interesting. She is not successful in differentiating the characters (especially male characters) and her narration is not effective at building tension during dramatic sections. I was reminded of my school days when the teacher would go around the room having each person read aloud. It is clear that Ms. Miller knows HOW to read aloud, but she does not know how to put life into the story.
The word “faith” is pivotal to the unfolding of this story, but the way that faith is reflected in the actions of the characters does not ring true. For example, if Ben’s church family had been as important to him as the author says, his funeral service would have been held in a sanctuary and not at a funeral home. The word faith is essentially used as a euphemism for God, as if the author or the publisher did not want to offend non-believing readers by being too in-their-face. None of the characters (with the exception of the minister) ever talks about a “relationship” with God.
The author is also very delicate about any overt mention of sex, or even kissing. One key plot point has Ben asking Juli if she wants to stay in his room on a night when a tropical storm is raging outside…and then the next morning he asks how she feels and she says it was convenient that they were already married. Literally months go by before the reader learns that Ben and Juli had done anything more demonstrative than snuggling.
Grace Greene could be an okay writer with several years more practice, but I won’t bother to read any more of her books.
Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! The plot was captivating! The character development was superb! I really enjoyed the underlying themes as well as the suspense at the end. I recommend this book for people of all ages...
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