In The Ocean Between Us Susan Wiggs deftly portrays the struggles and triumphs of an American family facing life's greatest challenges as they come to understand the timeless lessons of the heart.On the surface Grace Bennett has it all--three wonderful children, a devoted husband and a life of adventure and travel. But somewhere between her husband Steve's demanding career, raising a family, the constant uprooting and the Navy's routine, Grace has lost her sense of self. And when a nearly forgotten secret resurfaces, her discontent comes into sharp focus. Something needs to change. She needs to change.Then duty calls. Now, separated by an ocean of regrets and longing, Grace and Steve are forced to take a hard look at their faltering marriage. But when the unthinkable happens, Grace is left to face a Navy wife's worst nightmare--the cold truth that life's biggest chances can slip away while you're looking for guarantees.
A midlife marital crisis threatens the stability of a squeaky-clean navy family in Wiggs's latest, which overcomes a listless, saccharine start thanks to a rousing finale aboard an aircraft carrier. Steve and Grace Bennett look like the perfect military couple: Steve, a former pilot, has become an ambitious officer, and Grace successfully cares for their three bright, talented kids while he's deployed. But rips appear in the marriage fabric when Grace, seeking more in life, starts a relocation business, begins a fitness program and buys a small but lovely house near the Seattle base they temporarily call home. Wiggs's light, engaging style keeps the story moving in the first half, despite too many syrupy family scenes and a far-fetched subplot in which Josh, a fledgling pilot under Steve's command, is revealed to be his long-lost son from a brief, ill-advised teen marriage. This revelation widens the gap between Grace and Steve, who never told her about wife number one, and Wiggs balances their turmoil with a subplot involving their oldest daughter, Emma, and a hunky but predatory high school boy whose father is Steve's boss. But the tension isn't all emotional: Josh goes on a training exercise that nearly turns deadly, and Steve, trying to stop a deadly fire aboard his aircraft carrier, gets swept overboard into the icy Pacific. While Wiggs tends to nip suspense in the bud and linger on overripe romantic sentiments, her characters are sympathetic and her tale of frayed loves mended is sure to strike a responsive chord in a maturing audience. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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April 27, 2010
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