Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Whisper Beach - Review & Giveaway

Review by Deb Czajkowski
Vanessa Moran’s life at age seventeen was difficult, one might even say it was a huge mess, so much so that she ran away.  Well, it was more complicated than that.   Her father was unkind and unloving on the good days; drunk senseless on the rest.  Given that her mother was dead, killed in an accident, Vanessa waitressed evenings and weekends to buy food for her and her father.  The one bright spot in her life was Joe, her best friend and long-time boyfriend ─ until the night they had a fight that began a domino effect of misunderstandings, ending with Vanessa’s father throwing her out of the house.  No, that wasn’t quite the end.  Vanessa was also pregnant and humiliated.  Feeling hopeless and helpless, one day she just disappeared, leaving the whole town of Whisper Beach whispering… Where did she go?  Is she dead or alive?

Dorie is the owner of the Blue Crab, the restaurant where Vanessa waitressed.  Dorie also runs a safe house of sorts for anyone who needs help, primarily teenagers.  It was to Dorie’s house ─ to Dorie ─ that Vanessa went whenever she was afraid of her father, afraid to go home.  But as much as Vanessa cared about Dorie, not even Dorie knew why Vanessa disappeared that day or where she went.

Now, twelve years later, it’s Dorie who calls Vanessa home, ostensibly for the funeral of (Vanessa’s cousin and childhood best friend) Gigi’s husband.  And it’s Dorie that gives her reasons to stay ─ at least long enough to explore the secrets that still hold her silently but strongly captive.

Is Dorie the only person who is happy to see Vanessa return home?  It seems so.  Gigi is consistently conflicted, one moment almost clingy and the next, distant.  Joe hasn’t married, but he’s also not convinced that Vanessa is his answer for love.  Friends and family alike can’t seem to decide how to feel about Vanessa’s return ─ or Vanessa herself!  It’s (almost) enough to make a person turn around and walk away, again.

Author Shelley Noble sets the beginning scene of Whisper Beach at the funeral, present day.  Vanessa is back home, confronted by family and friends while she confronts her past.  But that’s the story here, the present, Vanessa’s life today ─ and maybe her tomorrow.  Of course we need to know how Vanessa became the person she is today, and why she chose to go left at the proverbial fork instead of right.  The author artfully reveals relevant information throughout the book, gradually filling in the blanks from the past while opening doors that leave us with hope for the future.

I could leave this review at that, but I’m choosing to add an addendum. It’s purely a personal partiality but also a bit of a spoiler alert, so don’t read this paragraph if you don’t want to know more than is given above.  I confess that I love books with happy endings, with at least the primary one or two loose ends tied up neatly at the end of the book.  And I especially love epilogues.  I love books that end with a heartfelt promise and then, with the epilogue, jut you into the future of the blissful people, allowing you, the reader, to share in their future joy.  Sigh.  Whisper Beach has a realistic ending that really is quite satisfying.  I very much liked Shelley Noble’s novel and I love her characters.  So I’m not complaining.  I’m just saying, given that Whisper Beach is the realistic version instead of the happy endings version and given there’s also no epilogue, could we please have a sequel?  I want to know more about the characters’ futures and, yes, to tie up those ends.  Shelley Noble, if you’re reading this… Think about it, okay? And then put me on your reader list, please!  J

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About the Author:
SHELLEY NOBLE is the NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling Author of the women's fiction novel BEACH COLORS, a #1 Nook bestseller, STARGAZEY POINT three novellas, Holidays at Crescent Cove, Stargazey Nights, BREAKWATER BAY and WHISPER BEACH.

As SHELLEY FREYDONT she is the author of the CELEBRATION BAY FESTIVAL MYSTERIES (Berkley Prime Crime) as well and two other mystery series, and the upcoming Gilded Age Newport Mystery series. Her mysteries have been translated into ten languages.

A former professional dancer and choreographer, she most recently worked on the films, Mona Lisa Smile and The Game Plan. Shelley lives near the New Jersey shore where she loves to discover new beaches and indulge her passion for lighthouses and vintage carousels.

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