Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Review of An Ocean Between Us
An Ocean Between Us
I remember seeing photographs and videos of Navy ships coming home to berth and watching the glowing faces of the men and women reuniting after so long apart, seeing the love and longing on the faces and the tearful joining together after a long deployment. Susan Wiggs takes that homecoming even deeper, deep into the psyche and emotions of the participants of that particular play, into the family and lives that it revolves around. Into the darkest places, the empty holes that are left when the ship sails. She shows us first hand what life beholds for a Navy wife, what she has to cope with when her husband is so far away and gone for months at a time. What happens when there’s a ‘mishap” at sea. This is the story of one Navy family but it goes deeper then that too because it reaches out to the people they touch and who touch them. This is the story of the Bennetts a career Navy family living like gypsies every few years packing all of their belongings and moving on and moving up.
Grace and Steve Bennett to everyone’s eyes have the perfect marriage, Steve a Commanding Officer and Grace the career Navy wife, along with their three perfect children have moved to Washington State for Steve’s latest orders and settle in. Or do they? Small hairline cracks are starting to show in this perfect picture, there’s secrets hiding ready to make the crack even wider. The question is, is repair possible or is it time to move on.
Susan Wiggs is a most amazing storyteller, not only does she give accurate details about her characters and places they are, but she digs deep inside them and reveals to her reading audience what’s underneath the surface, what makes them tick. The plot to this story has been all too real to us, a service family in crisis. We could easily see it on CNN today or tomorrow or yesterday. Then she gives us a novel full of the most incredible characters ever to grace the pages of a book, characters who’s lives fill us with hope, with joy and love, then there are those who fill us with dread and anger. She dedicates her knowledge of humanity to introduce us to and educate us about those characters. Her hero Steve and heroine Grace are exquisitely described and her readers will turn page after page to eagerly learn the outcome of their tale. Her supporting characters are equally detailed and give meaning and depth to the novel. This is not a romance novel, but it is full of love stories, and they are poignant and heartbreaking and heartwarming, they give us joy and sadness and hope.
It’s easy to see why Ms. Wiggs has such a loyal following. She has a way with words and of telling a tale that is truly magic. I beg you to run and not walk to your nearest bookseller for one of the most heartfelt novel of the year. A must read for the summer and a definite best seller in the making. I am honored to be a fan and if you read this novel, no doubt you will be too,