Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Whispers on the Dock by Evangeline Kelly

Whispers on the Dock, by Evangeline Kelly is the newest edition of the newly created fiction series, Postcards From Misty Harbor Inn. The subtitle, "Can Sam's newfound faith help her reach out to a rival?" barely hints at just one of the intriguing subplots of this entertaining and multifaceted novel. With this new series, centering around three sisters and a renovated Inn, the reader will find an entertaining, yet wholesome work of fiction in the Christian genre that is neither Amish nor  a  romance novel.  Evangeline Kelly is actually a pen name for a team of women that authored the new series: Patti Berg, Pam Andrews, Barbara Hanson and Camy Tang.  The writing is enjoyable and professional-  offensive slang writing and individual eccentricities or opinions do not interfere or detract from the writing as is often case in books in many contemporary fiction novels.

It is refreshing to read a book that breaks free from the stereotypical young, beautiful heroine whose life's mission is to snag a husband.  Social norms are challenged and reworked in that adventure and romance is not just for the young heroine. In fact, the eldest sister, Caroline, who is in her late 50s, is preparing for a wedding and house hunting. Just like a young 20 year old, she awaits a surprise honeymoon that her fiancé, George, is secretly planning.  And Sam, the younger 53 year old sister is still considered to be young and youthful.  Many of the strong female characters, themselves, are in their 50s and even older, nevertheless they are portrayed in a flattering feminine light.  Character, age and feminine beauty are not mutually exclusive as one might be led to believe in other novels.   I feel this is empowering for older readers who may better be able to relate to stories featuring more mature characters.  Based on the book market one might conclude that all readers are in their young twenties looking for their first love!  This book series, and its main characters, three middle aged sisters,  will have a wider appeal to include an often overlooked group of readers that is often alienated. Rather than the too often used naïve 19 year old young Amish girl looking to marry for the first time, or the young widowed 24 year old woman in the old West, pursuing a weathered cowboy on a horse, pondering remarriage, this book is not focused on marriage or romance or young beautiful heroines.  In fact the author portrays the three middle aged sisters with respect and dignity, capable of being fashionable, independent and adventurous whereas society all too often confines such demographic groups to the limited the role of a spinster. 

Whispers on the Dock focuses on the three sisters who started a business renovating an old piece of property and transforming it into an Inn in a popular vacation spot. The reader can get a behind the scenes look at the complexities of running and inn, such as booking reservations, landscaping and even plumbing repairs and maintenance.  Each of the sisters' talents and hobbies: gardening, baking, decorating and even history- contribute to the inn's uniqueness and success. As far as the serene setting-  the readers will find themselves caught up in the day to day workings of the Inn, and Nantucket.  Each sister has her own personal battles  and challenges to face while at the same time contributing to making the grand opening of the Inn a success.  The guests at the Inn are just as varied as life itself.  One of the guests is an eccentric and beautiful romance novelist in her 50s researching for her next novel, and another is an intriguing elderly woman in her late 80s who hold important clues to  the inn's mysterious history as well as its hidden passage ways and rooms, formerly known as Montague Manor.  The complex characters are well developed for an omnipotent view of each of the sisters' thoughts and emotions.  This story digs deeper into the local mystery of Hannah Montague's mysterious disappearance in the 1800s and the alleged ghostly hauntings.    The sisters are like giddy young school kids in their enthusiasm to solve the mysteries of the Inn.  In an unexpected ironic twist, the three sisters also learn a mystery about their own mother's involvement in the history of the old inn. The climatic ending is unexpected.

This book can be read independently of the first two books, but as a reader I find that reading the earlier books shed more light into some of the background behind the three sisters and the story behind the decision to start an Inn.  This book, as well as the series,  is an enjoyable escape from the reality  of today's economy of unemployment, home foreclosure, medical illness, healthcare and lost dreams.  For these three sisters, money and failing health are not issues as evident by Caroline's dilemma about spending $20,000 on a wedding. For many readers, opening an inn or bed and breakfast remains an unobtainable dream as many baby boomers and empty nesters find themselves forced to take on grueling jobs as cashiers to make ends meet or find themselves in the midst of facing serious health issues or home foreclosure.   As a blogger, I received this copy of the book through Litfuse publicity,  published by Guideposts publishers for the purpose of writing this review.

Litfuse Publicity: Whispers On the Dock

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