Whose Waves These Are, by Amanda Dykes (Bethany House, 2019)
This is the most beautiful and heartwarming novel I’ve read in a long time. Satisfying. Peace-inducing and hope-whispering. Amanda Dykes writes with a gentle, lyrical quality that invites readers to linger in this tale and savour every page.
Annie Bliss and her great-uncle Bob (“GrandBob”) have shared a special bond since the summer she spent with him in coastal Maine as a child. Now his need calls her back to the struggling town of Ansel-by-the-Sea, away from the soul-drying big-city job where she’s been hiding.
The novel follows two timelines: Annie’s in the present and Bob’s in the past, weaving together to tell a story of great loss and greater hope. Of light in the darkness and faith in despair. Of breaking and mending.
The town and its inhabitants add a richness, evoking the best attributes of small fishing communities where the locals stand together, no matter what.
See some of the evocative description:
There’s a strength in his stance, as if his feet are putting roots down into the very granite. [page 25]
The past uncoils like a fiddlehead fern, a tender ache with it. [page 81]
This part of Maine was a place like no other spot in the universe, and being back was like finding an old patch of sunlight in a long-lost home, and settling in. [page 86]
I won’t share my favourite line, because it’s too near the end. You’ll need to find it yourself. It’ll mean more to you that way.
I admit the present-tense narrative jarred me at times, but even with that, Whose Waves These Are has claimed a special place in my heart. I’m grateful for the experience.
Amanda Dykes’ tag line is “spinning stories, gathering grace.” Whose Waves These Are is her first novel, but readers may know her from her novella, Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale, or from The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection. For more about the author and her work, visit amandadykes.com.