Finished 10-20-13, rating 3.5/5, fiction, 346 pages, pub. 2013
This sweeping allegorical tale begins with the escape of a Gypsy princess and her young lover from her father’s camp in 1851, recalling the flight of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. The boy steals Prodigal, a sailing ship blessed with unnatural speed, and the lovers escape to sea, leaving the father to grieve for the loss and pine for the return of his child. More than 150 years later on Ocracoke Island we meet Aidan Sharpe, an aging lawyer, as he rises from the sand of a remote beach after a lost weekend. While struggling to rebuild his life in this lonely outpost of the Outer Banks, Aidan is caught up in a two-thousand-year-old mystery that unfolds with the sudden reappearance of Prodigal off the coast, adrift and unmanned. Its discovery will lead Aidan and those close to him into the deep, in a race between time and eternity.
This description was what made me want to read the book, but like some summaries, it is only accurate to a point. I was looking forward to digging into the mystery and was somewhat disappointed when it felt disjointed with too many characters and storylines. For all of the beauty of the writing the story felt heavy and even when we got to the midway point, when some of the mystery was introduced and the storylines started coming together, it still felt that way.
I started liking the story when the main characters came together in friendship because I was invested. Aidan, a big shot Raleigh lawyer, whose arrogance led to his downfall but who learned humility. Father Marcus , an outcast priest, was the protector of all outcasts that came his way. Ibrahim, wanted for murder in his own country thought the island could hide him, but it came with a cost. And Molly, found it easy to bend the rules but hard to open up to love, salvages what is lost. I loved the way these four and their loyalty to each other carried the story.
There were lots of other characters and each was fully fleshed out, each imperfect and needing redemption. There was so much depth to the story that I think reading it with a friend or book group would only enhance some of the themes. I am going to call this one spiritual realism, it’s more than magical and not quite religious, so that the best I can come up with. Oh, and if you like sailing then this is sure to excite you! The mystery of the 150+ year old boat is one that introduces biblical history and modern greed.
I want to thank the TLC Book Tour for getting this book in my hands. See what the other stops on the tour thought.
Michael’s Tour Stops
Monday, October 14th: she treads softly
Tuesday, October 15th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, October 21st: Time 2 Read
Tuesday, October 22nd: 5 Minutes For Books
Thursday, October 24th: Letters, Numbers and Books oh my!
Monday, October 28th: Amy’s Book-et List
Tuesday, October 29th: The Reader’s Hollow
Friday, November 1st: BoundbyWords
Wednesday, November 6th: Andrew Smith’s Blog
Thursday, November 7th: Literally Jen
Thursday, November 14th: Read. Write. Repeat.