by Susan Wiggs

April 2004
ISBN: 0-7783-2035-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Mira Books

The lives of military families have always been good material for romance authors, but even more timely in the current political climate. Author Susan Wiggs, brings us a striking and evocative portrait of sacrifice and strength in The Ocean Between Us.

Following the lives of the Bennett family, this novel does not pull any punches. It shows quite clearly the commitment required, not only for the military personnel, but the families they leave at home. Steve and Grace Bennett, married 20 years, should be well-versed in all the aspects of military life. Steve is career Navy, and Grace has made a career of relocating her household, and assisting other service families in the same endeavor. Their three children have coped with their transitory lives in different ways, and each one has different goals for the future.

When Grace begins to question her role and future within the family structure, it shakes the foundation of the marriage and family. Steve’s command demands his absence, a call he cannot ignore. He is also dealing with unexpected reminders of his past, which weigh heavily on his mind. These problems will pale in the face of a new crisis that threatens to destroy everything the Bennetts hold dear.

I have not read any other contemporary novels by Ms. Wiggs, yet the compelling narrative drew me in immediately. I was absorbed in the story, visualizing it unfold like a well-directed film. Readers will laugh and weep as this stalwart family struggles to keep their lives together. Memorable secondary characters also add depth to the story and offer other glimpses into military life. It would be a perfect movie - attractive and vital characters and a gripping plot, set on a patriotic stage. Keep a box of tissues handy because this book will tug on your heartstrings.

Reviewed in March 2004 by Paula.

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