Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Review: The Winter Sea by Di Morrissey

Escaping an unhappy marriage and an unsatisfactory job, Cassie Holloway moves to the little Australian coastal town of Whitby Point. There she meets the Aquino family, whose fishing business was founded by their ancestor, Giuseppe, an Italian immigrant, some ninety years before. Life for Cassie on the south west coast is sweet as she sets up a successful restaurant and falls in love with Giuseppe's great grandson Michael. But when the family patriarch dies, a devastating family secret is revealed which threatens to destroy her dreams. Cassie's future happiness now rests with her quest for the truth.

Paperback, 432 pages
Expected publication: December 30th 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: Fiction/Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

This book tells two stories, one from the past and one in the present, that share a long buried connection. I really enjoy this type of story and trying to figure out what the connection or mystery may be.

The story begins in the past with Giuseppe (Joe) as he grows up in a poor little Italian fishing village. As he grows, he dreams of something more and decides to go to America to make money to send home to his family. A series of events occur that has him missing his passage to America and he ends up heading to Australia instead. It is his hope to break into the fishing industry and find work to support himself and his family back home.

Next we learn about Cassie (in the present) as she starts over after leaving her husband and job. She retreats to Whitby Point as she tries to figure out what she wants out of life. It is while here that a budding relationship begins with the great grandson of Giuseppe and she is introduced to the Aquino family. Just as things are starting to take shape in her life, she receives shocking news that threatens to unravel the happiness that she has just started to enjoy.

Morrissey pens the countryside and the fishing industry in a very thorough and descriptive light. She obviously knows a lot about these two things or has really done her research. I could easily picture the landscape and I was pulling in fish along with the Aquino family.

I adored Giuseppe's story. In fact, I was a little annoyed when it changed to Cassie's story because I wanted to know more about his life. If I were rating the book on his story alone it would be a solid 4 stars. I had a few issues with Cassie and the present day story. It started out really slow and it was long winded. I feel like half the pages could have been cut out to make it more effective. The dialogue was often choppy and awkward. If I were rating the book on her story alone it would only get 3 stars. It did improve towards the end but it took a long time to get there.

In the end I enjoyed the story and I am glad that I had the opportunity to read it.

About the Author

Di Morrissey (born 18 March 1948 in Wingham, New South Wales) is one of Australia's most popular female novelists. She grew up in the remote surrounds of Pittwater, north of Sydney, Australia.

Growing up she counted famous Australian actor Chips Rafferty as a close mentor and friend who helped provide for her and her mother after the death of her father as a child, sending them overseas to California to live with family.

In her later years, Di went on to become a journalist on London's Fleet Street, and worked for CBS in Honolulu, where she lived with her husband who was in the foreign service, and even had a small role in the series Hawaii Five-0, a guest role in season three, episode seven, 1970 starring as 'Alicia Anderson'.

After moving back to Australia, Di published her first book 'Heart of the Dreaming' which instantly became a bestseller. Since then Di has published another 17 bestsellers

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