Many of Coble’s books are set by the ocean and you can feel her connection to the sea in The Inn at Ocean’s Edge (affiliate link). While the settings are lovely her main focus is on her characters. The Inn at Ocean’s Edge is readable and the plot unravels at a good pace.
As with all suspense fiction there are questions.
Why is the main character, rich girl Claire Dellamare, having panic attacks? Why are there holes in her memory? Is Coast Guardsman Luke Rocca the man she has been waiting for?
Most of these answers came at the right time and made reasonably good sense. While I anticipated a few events in advance, the tension still held.
I did notice a couple of minor hiccups in the plot – not this-is-impossible hiccups – but small things that didn’t seem completely credible (the attitude of law enforcement for example which was hostile toward Claire for no good reason for example).
I appreciated the plot and the way Coble layered Christian faith into the story in a meaningful but balanced way. But what I liked best was the way the author handled the relationships between members of two not so perfect families.
If that was me, I found myself thinking, I would walk away from that family and not look back. Except that in the real world we don’t.
And Coble seems to get that – making my favorite part of the book a single passage near the end that rang so true to me that I chose to share it with my (grown up) son.
“You have to hear this,” I told him. “It’s about family.”
I tried to read it out loud and then teared up. “Here,” I said handing him my kindle. “Read it for yourself.”
We were at the kitchen table. I was cutting vegetables and I kept on cutting while he read. But I was watching him as I did. I saw that when he finished, he paused. It was just a couple seconds but I knew he was moved.
The grips of the wheelchair were still warm from his aunt’s hands. Family was all about passing the baton, working together, dealing with the ugliness that existed even in people he loved, weathering the hard knocks of life by linking hands and stepping out in faith.
What she said.