When I was on vacation in Alaska, I received a sweet email from my former editor at HarperCollins. Back in 2011, Wendy Lee had offered me my first (and the second one too) contract with Avon, and we stayed in touch after she left. In the email, she wanted to check on my mailing address as she planned to send her newest book. I was thrilled. During the time we worked together I knew we thought a lot alike and liked the same things about books. She was so easy to work with, and I was certain anything she wrote, I would enjoy.
Her newest book is ACROSS A GREEN OCEAN and coming out February 2015. I’m not sure if the cover on her ARC (advance reading copy) will be on the final one (that’s why it’s not shown here), but it’s beautiful, soothing even. Looks like a painting of pastels, blending of greens and blues. But it’s a photo of a young man fishing off a pier with mountains in the back ground and the sun reflected in the water, all hazy and soft. As soon as I reached home, I started reading it. The book was exactly what I needed to read.
For the last few months, I’ve been dissatisfied with the books I normally read. There were a couple I enjoyed, but I felt I was in a rut. I’m a big romance reader and rarely stray from them except when friends insist I read a book they believe to be great. Let’s say they weren’t to my taste.
A friend wanted our book club to read LOVELY BONES because everyone was reading it. So okay. I’ve flexible. I read it. Nothing wrong with the writing, but I HATED the story. Talk about not satisfying, I was horrified by what people loved to read (over 10 million copies sold). A child dies and a serial killer doesn’t get caught. Sorry. I want happily ever after. It might be my romance book mentality, but thank you, I like being that way. I love it when bad guys go to prison and good guys live happily ever after. Real life may not be that way, but I live real life; I prefer not reading the uglier side of it.
Then another friend actually bought me a book she loved and begged me to read it. She claimed it had romance in it. Okay. I read the book (can’t remember the title) by Lee Child. Hmm, there were aspects of it I liked, the mystery and piecing it together. But the sparse writing was jarring. I could see men enjoying it, though I didn’t care for the way he treated the women in the book. (No. There wasn’t romance in it. There was sex but not romance. My friend tricked me. <g>) The women were furniture, something to show a softer ― yet not enough ― side of John Reacher. By the way, I did enjoy the movie. It wasn’t the same book I read.
Back to Wendy’s newest book. A couple years ago, she’d told me a little about what her book was about and I was intrigued by the story.
Believe it or not, I’m a big lover of reading about family dynamics. Lots of romance novels delve into how family react to each other. Even my books touch on it, especially the last novel, CIRCLE OF DECEPTION.
Wendy’s ACROSS A GREEN OCEAN is about the Tang family and how they each cope with the death of their father/husband and more. The story is written in third person, present tense. Funny thing is I read a couple chapters before I even noticed it. The style is easy to read and pulls you in quickly.
I think each character had something I could relate to: the mother worrying about her children, and if she could’ve done things differently so the siblings could be closer; the daughter who had done all the right things, but now realizes they weren’t making her happy; and the son. Ah, the son. He’s running away from himself even before his dad passed away.
So much of it fascinated me. The way they reacted to and thought about neighbors, friends, family and co-workers. How the parents wanted to live the American dream, yet didn’t feel comfortable with it. And when the son makes the big decision to go to China to meet his father’s old friend, I read faster to find out what he would learn about his father, and how he handled being in a country where he looked like he belonged but didn’t. All of it pushing me to rush to the end to see what happened next.
I’m not Asian, nor have I visited a country that spoke a language other than my own, yet I know how it feels to be out of my element in a crowd and lose a loved one.
See, my father died the Saturday before I received the book. He’d been having health problems, but his death was sudden. In fact, I was still in Alaska at the time. So as I read, the book allowed me to compare my reactions to my dad’s death as the characters dealt with theirs. Death will do that. Make you look inside and hunt for answers to questions you never knew you had.
As you can tell, I’m not a reviewer. I’m an author and reader. But this book has so much to offer and I wanted to let others know. I highly recommend it to anyone. Just remember it is not a romance. I will point out the ending was perfect for the book. I was satisfied and that’s saying a lot.
You can find Wendy at her Website.