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.
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Goodreads Rating: 4.72 Stars
Suggested Drink Parings:
Japanese Green Tea
New England Coffee - your flavor choice
Why I Chose This Book
This was May’s pick for Bethany House Publishing Blogger Group. I finally got around to reading this one and thought I would give it a go.
First Initial Thoughts
The book starts off the year before WWII ends (1944) with Robert devastated/heart broken that his love and crush for many years married his brother and best friend. He wants to go off to war to relieve the pain. He then decides to write a poem about his heartache. There he decides to spread his words throughout town.
In the modern day story Annie is the granddaughter of Bob. She grew up in Ansel By The Sea and has fond memories of her days growing up there. However, she now lives in Chicago as an Anthropologist. I loved that the character was an Anthropologist such as I adore that field. She then is summoned to her childhood home when her grandfather has an accident and is in the hospital. There she finds something in her Grandfather’s shed that will open the doors to her family history…
Ansel By The Sea is a town that just reminds me of a Thomas Kinkade painting of those charming ocean seaside towns. It just sounds like such a peaceful seaside town to visit or retire in. But let be honest- to live in!
This is Amanda’s debut book and I was quite surprised because I could tell she has been writing for years and has such a talent at writing. She has a very unique writing style that I think sets her apart from other Christian authors. What I found interesting is that she wrote in somewhat of a poetic style. And I have to be honest, that is why I gave it four stars. It was hard to follow at times as I felt some parts of the story didn’t flow together easily.
One thing that I found quite prevalent was that there was a lot of pain that various characters went through. However, I think in that pain they grew the most. I often find that in our hardest and most difficult times we learn the most. We learn about hope and forgiveness. Hope that better days are ahead.
I really enjoyed both stories from the different time periods. I was always looking forward to when I would get back to their story to find out what would happen next. I really enjoyed reading Annie and Jeremiah’s love grow. I found it to be sweet and inspiring.
I think Annie also grew up a lot in this story. I think she kind of lost her way in Chicago and wasn’t truly herself. In Ansel By The Sea I found that she really shined. Through the story she found out about her families history and that - every story has a wave. They go up and down - poetic and very realistic too.
Would I Recommend?
Yes! Fans of WWII and duel time periods will enjoy reading this story. Those that are not into her writing style may want to second think about it, however.
You can purchase the book —-> HERE
Please Note: I was sent a copy of this book to review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.