Book Review: Whose Waves These Are

Book Review: Whose Waves These Are

About the Book:

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?

My Thoughts:

Every now and again I read a book that is exceptional in every way. Whose Waves These Are is one of those books. Let me share with a you a quote from the prologue, because, honestly, the publisher’s synopsis above didn’t capture my interest half as much as these short lines did.

“Every wave in that big old blue sea is a story.”

Bob told me this a long time ago, his voice brined with wind and water.

I laughed and focused on the cresting peaks from his old dock. They disappeared faster than a ten-year-old could count.

“Too many waves,” I said. “It can’t be.”

His smile pushed wrinkles around blue eyes as he squeezed my hand tight.

“So many waves, Annie. You remember that.”

It would be decades before I’d learn the truth of that. So many stories. In this pocket of a harbor where broken lives, like waves on the shore, are gathered up and held close. I never imagined then that it would be my breaking place, too.

Nor how beautiful the breaking could be.

Prologue – Whose Waves These Are – Amanda Dykes

This book caught me off guard in the best kind of way. The writing was captivating. Every page seemed to come alive before my very eyes. There are a number of powerful stories out there, but powerfully written stories are harder to come by. Whose Waves These Are exceeded all my expectations.

The depth of the characters impressed me. The author clearly knows people and she wrote real characters with real souls. I loved the attentiveness that was present on every level of the tale. I’m not normally a fan of stories that shift between the past and the present, but the way that this novel flowed it was like uncovering secret surprises along the way, the very act of discovery bridging the gaps in time.

The plot was imaginative and compelling. The links between WWII and modern day, the impact of lives across generations, the mystery of the rocks and the renewal of broken relationships were all engaging themes.

Yet, perhaps, my favorite thing about the book was that it was truly a Kingdom story. It didn’t just mention God or dabble in truth, but it breathed it. A vision for what God was up to permeated every word of the story, as beautiful and natural as a sunrise, weaving a message of hope that left me with a lump in throat and a light in my heart in a way that few novels do.

I’ll leave you with some of my favorite words of wisdom, spoken in the midst of war, from one of the characters. “Don’t get stuck in the dark…. There’s a whole lotta light…Go there instead.”

Whose Waves These Are is well worth reading and has risen to the top of my Best Books of 2019 list. I would highly recommend it to you.

There is also a (currently free) kindle prequel, Up From the Sea, that takes you back in time in Ansel-by-Sea. It is also well worth reading, but it is short and more of a snack, compared to the meal of Whose Waves These Are.

I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.