I’ve been eyeing this debut and took the plunge. I am so glad I did! WWII novels are a little modern for my taste since I prefer older historical periods in my fiction. However, the writing is lyrical and the spiritual themes moving, making this novel a must-read for any fan of the historical genre.
Annie Bliss tries to make sense of her past and that of her granduncle Bob’s. His collection of rocks sets her on a journey to uncover hidden stories, particularly those of “The Greatest Generation.” Family secrets and broken relationships are brought to the light as Annie learns the identity of the mysterious poet of Ansel-by-the-Sea.
The dual timelines are done to perfection, leaving the reader always wanting more. A gentle romance rounds out the harsher realities of WWII, yet the novel never drags the reader down. The light is always present in the darkness. Humor and sorrow are balanced with tragedy and triumph.
My verdict? A wonderful read for book clubs. Five out of five stars. Bring a box of Kleenex. You’ll need it.
Back Cover Blurb:
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.