Amanda Dykes is a new author to me. I had seen many posts about her book on Twitter. After reading the description, I was intrigued and made sure to get a copy.
Whose Waves These Are
by Amanda Dykes
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date April 30, 2019
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Maine Contemporary, World War II Era - 1939 - 1946
Main Character Ages: 18-24, 25-30
Written for: Adults
In the wake of WWII, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper: a rallying cry for hope, purpose . . . and rocks. Send me a rock for the person you lost, and I will build something life-giving. When the poem spreads farther than he ever intended, Robert Bliss's humble words change the tide of a nation. Boxes of rocks inundate the tiny, coastal Maine town, and he sets his calloused hands to work, but the building halts when tragedy strikes.
Decades later, Annie Bliss is summoned back to Ansel-by-the-Sea when she learns her Great-Uncle Robert, the man who became her refuge during the hardest summer of her youth, is now the one in need of help. What she didn't anticipate was finding a wall of heavy boxes hiding in his home. Long-ago memories of stone ruins on a nearby island trigger her curiosity, igniting a fire in her anthropologist soul to uncover answers.
She joins forces with the handsome and mysterious harbor postman, and all her hopes of mending the decades-old chasm in her family seem to point back to the ruins. But with Robert failing fast, her search for answers battles against time, a foe as relentless as the ever-crashing waves upon the sea.
I would like to thank Bethany House Publishers, Netgalley for giving me this copy of the book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Where to start?
There was a wonderfully rich assortment of characters peopling this story. So many stories to tell of lives touched by war. Bob, a man of courage who had longed to go fight in place of his twin yet denied that right by the government and by Roy. Annie, Bob’s grandniece who was afraid to live her life fully after making a costly mistake. Jeremiah, the EMT/postman, with his mysterious past. And the countless others touched by these lives. Despite a large number of people inhabiting this story, I didn’t find it difficult to keep track them, most likely because I was made to care deeply for them, even those with only brief appearances.
Switching between the turn of this century and the end of World War II (and beyond), the story slowly unfolded to reveal the intricacies and interconnectedness of countless lives. The ripples that spread throughout the country. Bob’s courage and rescue of his brother when they were young allowed Roy to live and in turn show equal courage and rescue another who played a significant role in other lives. As the stones were connected in a mosaic structure that honored the lives of the soldiers, the people in this book were connected in a mosaic of life and love.
So many moments brought tears to my eyes. Touching seems such a small word to describe the impact it had on me. The influence of a life well lived was made abundantly clear. While grief was a predominant theme, hope shone brightly as well.
I was impressed at how the story covered such a long period of time, yet it did not feel shallow and didn’t drag. The pace was just right and the way Bob’s secret was slowly revealed kept my interest until the end. I was surprised in a number of places and enjoyed the many types of love that were displayed.
The storyline itself and the lovely descriptions deserve a full five stars. although, despite my very emotional connection with the story, the first-person present tense narration distracted me throughout. Perhaps it would have improved things had the author chosen to use this perspective for just one character or just one time period.
I do recommend this book for those who enjoy historical fiction. I am looking forward to reading more books by Amanda Dykes.