Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate

Rating:  4.5 stars

After experiencing a divorce and enduring the loss of the future that she once envisioned for herself, Andrea Henderson moves into her parents' lake house in the riverfront neighborhood of Larkspur Cove.  While trying to rebuild her life and her faith,  Andrea battles self-doubt as she begins a new job, and she questions her adequacy as a mother to a young teenage son.

Through a series of events, Andrea meets Mart McClendon, a game warden at Moses Lake.  He is also building a new life on Moses Lake, but the past continues to haunt him.

Despite their painful pasts, the present pulls them together as they work to uncover the mystery of a young girl who has been taken in by an older man who lives as a hermit in a secluded area.   As they are drawn together by circumstances and a united cause, will Moses Lake revive their hopes and rekindle their faith?

Like the novels in Lisa Wingate's Daily Texas series,  Larkspur Cove is a story that is driven by well-developed characters in a setting that exudes a small-town charm, with just the right dose of quirky humor.  This debut novel is not as light-hearted as the books in her previous series (Talk of the Town, Word Gets Around, Never say Never), but it is an emotionally compelling read that kept me turning the pages.  Each chapter alternates between Andrea's and Mart's perspectives, which provide insights into their thoughts and motivations.  As a reader, I shared their pain, doubts, and joys as they experienced them.  I was drawn to both Andrea's and Mart's stories, but also those of her son, the mysterious child, and the town recluse.

Wingate masterfully creates vivid pictures of life on Moses Lake, that is remarkably real with struggles, sorrow, and triumphs,  but equally inviting because of the sense of community.  The Waterbird Bait and Grocery is the hangout for the locals, and I looked forward to the engaging conversations provided by the local fishermen. They provide just the right flavor to lighten the mood, and they are reminiscent of the presence of  "characters" in real-life that can brighten our day.  The quotes that begin each chapter, which are written on the "wall of wisdom" by residents and visitors, offer insight into the novel, but they are also valuable in our own lives.  Larkspur Cove is both an emotional and satisfying read.

I am looking forward to visiting Moses Lake again in Lisa Wingate's next book in the series, Blue Moon Bay.  It is scheduled to be released in February 2012.

I  received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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