I occasionally choose books to read based on silly criteria – in direct opposition of my usual thorough examination of the author, a random three-page read test, and a look for recommendations at GoodReads.com. I just take a chance and start reading. Occasionally this leads to something I enjoy. And when, more often, the book is not for me, I just stop reading. That’s how I can to read Sea Change by Karen White.
I get a lot of press releases about books, most of which I ignore. There are only so many hours in the day and I usually cover technology not books. But I requested a copy of Sea Change because it is set on St. Simons Island Georgia, where I once took my kids for a summer vacation and the main character shares a name with my daughter. Terrible reasons for choosing how to spend several hours of my life. But in this case, it turned out well.
It was pleasant to see the story’s characters in a setting I recognized. But I kept reading because White pulled me rather quickly into the odd new marriage between Ava Whalen and the man she married impulsively after a very short romance.
I liked the main character but suspected – because, like her mother, I would never rush into a relationship the way she had – that she had made a terrible mistake. But I wasn’t sure. I liked the husband, too. And White set me up so I had to keep reading to find out how it turned out.
A good hook like that is a clever way to make a reader come back for more. But, if the rest of the book is handled poorly, it makes me angry to spend time tripping over bad writing to get to a limp solution.
But I enjoyed the journey. And the ending was not limp. I’m not usually drawn to this sort of romantic story, elements of the mythical/mystical aren’t usually my thing — unless they are wild and surreal and can be categorized as magical realism, and I’m not usually a beach-reading sort of book buyer. This is not magical realism. And it’s set on a beautiful beach. And there is a distinct strain of past-life mysticism. But it is a good read. So if you are still clinging to summer, throw this on your Kindle or Nook. It’s an interesting look at how past — really far in the past in this case — events influence what seem to be impulsive choices.