About the Book:
Author: Colleen Coble
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2012
Series: “Hope Beach Novels” (book 1 of 3)
Genre: Christian Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 4 ½ out of 5
My Thoughts: Libby Holladay has been alone since she was a child. Her father left her and her free-spirited mother wasn’t much of a role model. Now that her mother has passed away, Libby has no family but she runs a successful business restoring historic buildings and her business partner, Nicole is her best friend. Following a trip to Hope Beach to scout out some potential work sites, Nicole is kidnapped! Not only does this send Libby on a frantic search to find her but she also saw it happen on a security camera. In trying to save the footage, she mistakenly erases the evidence which then puts her under suspicion by the local law enforcement… will she be able to prove her innocence? And what happens when she unearths secrets about her family that she never knew?
This is the story that unfolds in this gem of a novel, and Colleen is a fabulous story-teller. With exception to one novel, I have a fondness for each of her books or those that I have read – most of all, her “Lonestar” series. This novel, her most recent is no different though it packs a more poignant kind of punch. Though I was a bit skeptical after reading her last book, save for some minor flawed turn of phrases (words or conversation that doesn’t “fit”) she again proved that she has her prose down to a science, one that creates likable characters and fabulous chemistry between them. ‘Tidewater’ specifically boasts “classy” characters who value honesty and love, and most of all seek God’s voice in trouble and the complexities of life. The book never seems to waver from the comfort Libby takes in trusting God and its setting plus that background in architecture will delight readers who enjoy preserving or visiting historical places or things.
Anyone looking for a romance novel may want to look elsewhere since the focus is on finding Nicole and though there is some romantic notions and hand-holding, the story has little time to expand on it. The hero, Alec Bourne (how appropriate!) is a Coast Guard Captain and is quite unforgettable. He is a true gentleman whose one desire becomes protecting Libby. He is all the more noble to readers because of his missions to rescue people – it sort of ups the likability of him and paints him as an all-American guy easy to root for. By the end of the book, the reader anticipates that now Libby’s internal struggles and heartbreaks have begun to heal, she and Alec are going to follow their hearts and see where the relationship will go. Some may not like the “uncertainty” in that but it’s a more touching way to conclude the story than leaving it at an epilogue so many months later saying “I do’s” or cementing a relationship with a proposal. ‘Tidewater’ has a special story to share, one of forgiveness that leads to love. It’s one that minor flaws cannot hide.
In Summary: This novel tells a story of unconditional forgiveness with some hints of mystery and romance to keep up a cloak of intrigue. Engaging characters compel the reader to want to keep turning pages and leave us anxious for the second novel, Rose Cottage.
The Story: Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the Outer Banks could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer’s talent and love of history. She’s delighted to learn of the family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she’s met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams.
But Libby soon realizes that the only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island. The father who willed her the inn has died before she could meet him, and her newfound brother and sister are convinced she’s there to steal their birthright. Worst of all, her best friend and business partner has been kidnapped before her eyes, and Libby’s under suspicion for the crime.
Libby’s dream come true is becoming a nightmare. Her only option is to find her friend and prove her innocence, or lose everything on the shores of Hope Island.