Review Title: Love Builds at Edisto (review of Still Waters by Lindsey Brackett)
Reviewer: Janice S. Garey
***** 5 Stars
Lindsey Brackett knows the life rhythm and patterns of those who call the South Carolina sea islands home. This well developed story takes place on Edisto Island, and reading it is like finding a treasure box full of gems to enjoy both as a whole and to dig through looking for secret diamonds. The setting is essential to providing a laid back vacation feel while at the same time dealing with some tragic happenings.
The characters are easy to follow and feel like people the reader wants to know better. The main character is in the life stage of between graduation from high school and fall entry to college. For that reason I would categorize it as Young Adult (YA) which could be enjoyed by those in high school and adults. It would be a good read-aloud book but not for young children who might be frightened by hearing about death.
The characters and the scenarios they go through are believable. There are layers added to show them at their worst and best. Their motives are understandable, and the conflicts and tension are spot on for keeping the reader turning pages to see how it will all work out. The reader gets caught up in the story and begins to feel like just another one of the cousins in the story.
The main character, Cora Anne, has many highs and lows as people help her grapple with the past that she seems stuck in that prevents her moving forward. This book shows the benefit of a strong and supportive family when a person tries to break out of traumatic memories that haunt.
The theme of the book seems to be that love triumps over darkness. The strong sense of family, whether intact, or broken and hobbling along, is one picture of love within the book. Conflicted romantic love is another type of love portrayed as building up throughout the book. Honor and respect show true love waiting, however, a healthy amount of affection and heat in the form of kissing, hugging, and hand-holding moves that part of the story along. Toward the end, the main character discovers the love of God to be a major help in overcoming darkness. Lastly, love of home and place run extra deep from beginning to end.
This book contrasts happy times to somber events. Carefree personalities are contrasted to those who carry heavy burdens. The darkness involved in keeping secrets is contrasted with the lightness of revealing and understanding. The importance of leaving a legacy for a family is contrasted to the thought of running to greener grass in the big city. As stated before, this book holds much treasure. I look forward to reading more in this series. Still Waters is a fine debut novel from Lindsey Brackett and Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. I have given an honest review and was under no obligation to give a good review.