Whose Waves are These is a dual timeline novel, telling two related stories of the Bliss family.
In 1944, Robert Bliss watches as his twin brother marries, then is called up to serve in World War II. In 2001, Annie Bliss is called back to Ansel-on-the-Sea, Maine, but she doesn’t know why. All she knows is that her father and her great-uncle have been estranged for years, so it must be important.
Robert’s story progresses from 1944 to the present.
In the process, we see what happened to his brother in the war, what happened after the war, and brings us (slowly) to Robert’s present—2001. Annie’s story is about her journey back to Ansel-on-the-Sea and her attempt to discover the source of the amnity between Robert and her father.
Annie’s section of the story was written in first person, and Robert’s was written in third person—an unusual and often difficult combination for authors to write successfully. Both stories are written in present tense. I usually find present tense works best in a story that’s set in the present, so thought present tense was an unusual and perhaps a brave choice by the author.
It’s a testament to her writing skill that the combination works.
Yes, the writing was excellent. Well, if you don’t mind first person, and if you don’t mind present tense. I was a little uncertain at first, but was soon drawn in by the power of Robert’s story … and by the mystery of Jeremiah Fletcher.
Whose Waves These Are is a difficult novel to describe.
It has a strong voice, strong writing, strong characters, and a dual-level plot that offers lots of questions and answers them all. Yes, there were a couple of scenes towards the end which I’m not sure worked as well, but overall it’s an excellent first novel. Recommended.
Thanks to Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.