Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book Review: Heart of the Ocean by Heather B. Moore (Whitney Finalist 2013)

Title: Heart of the Ocean
Author: Heather B. Moore
Enjoyment Rating: ***
Source: Digital Copy
This book would be rated: PG

This year's speculative category included one fantasy novel, three dystopian novels, and one historical/romance/thriller/ghost story, which is Heather B. Moore's Heart of the Ocean. Eliza Robinson is taking a break from the 1840s New York social scene after spurning a marriage proposal, and has come to stay with her Aunt Maeve in Maybrook, a Puritan village in Massachusetts. One day, while out walking on the shore, she hears the voice of a woman, directing her. When she tells Maeve about it, she seems unsurprised, and tells her that a young unmarried woman bore a child while living in the house, and died shortly thereafter. The spirit of this woman continues to speak to and guide Eliza after a tragic incident solidifies her ties to Maybrook.

When I read the books for the Whitneys, I take part in a discussion group with the other women at Segullah who are also reading. While most of them felt that Heart of the Ocean wasn't the strongest book in the category this year, due in part to the genre mixing, the lack of a tight story, and the unsympathetic male protagonist, I enjoyed it more than many of the others. I think that's in part because I'm not a huge fan of the genre, and Heart of the Ocean felt less "speculative" than the others and more like a dark, gothic romance.

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