Thanks for stopping by my blog on this spring Monday! I’m sharing a review of a recent read today: Shaped by the Waves by Christina Suzann Nelson.
Growing up along the Oregon coast, Cassie George has always been fascinated by the ocean. She’s used her studies in marine biology as a convenient excuse for staying away from her small hometown and avoiding the shame over her unplanned pregnancy. But when she receives a call that her aunt has suffered a stroke and has been hiding a Parkinson’s diagnosis, she knows she must return.
Cassie finds a mostly warm welcome from the quirky community–including her high school nemesis, Nora Milford. But Cassie is confused by the mysterious package that greets her as well, containing typed pages telling a story of an anonymous woman who seems to have ties to Cassie’s own life. As she begins to read more and investigate its implications, she’ll discover who she thought she was and who she wants to become are both about to change.
Shaped by the Waves by Christina Suzann Nelson is a poignant contemporary fiction novel with strong threads of community, identity, a tiny bit of romance, and considerations on how the past can define or influence the present. This is my very first book by Christina!
The format of this novel is interesting and nearly has an epistolary element. A letter packet Cassie receives plays a significant role in disrupting Cassie’s “normal” and informing the reader, at the same time, of a mysterious history. This letter tells a story interspersed with Cassie’s POV and the occasional perspective of a secondary character, Nora, which keeps the story pacing forward and developing a bit of a puzzle for the reader to connect.
I absolutely felt the emotions through the skilled portrayal of Cassie as she journeys through unforeseen challenges, impending grief, and questions of her own past. She struggles, too, with some self-doubt and questions of worth in her personal relationships, especially when it comes to her role as a parent. I never thought her insecurities were overly emphasized — she seems a very natural character — and I love the way her growth and the strengthening of her identity eventually do come to pass. Her journey serves as a clear example of how humanity is destined to make mistakes but our missteps can be redeemed by a loving God.
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy. This is my honest review.