“…Being a mother is like being a gardener of souls. You tend your children, make sure the light always touches them; you nourish them. You sow your seeds, and reap what you sow.”
Ava Whalen has visions about people she cannot know; a midwife Pamela living in early 1800’s, struggling to take care of her family and the people of the town during the British occupation if the Island, a desperate man walking back and forward on the beach with a lantern looking for his wife and Pamela’s beautiful sister Georgina. She always feels the scent of burning ashes and afraid of water. She hopes that hypnoses therapy would help her to discover the origins of those weird visions, but it only increases things she cannot explain, nor why they feel so familiar.
Once Ava moves on St. Simons Island off the coast of Georgia with her husband Matthew, she begins to untangle the knot of secrets of her own childhood and Matthew’s. His family house feels strangely familiar too and hides many secrets, including the sudden death of Matthew’s first wife Adrienne. Those mysterious circumstances left many questions and any Ava’s attempt to ask her husband for explanation leaves her even more confused.
Ava begins the journey of revealing the old family secrets of her husband’s family and her own memories. That brings her to some shocking discoveries of her own childhood and life-changing moments.
There are a couple things that I loved about this book; first, is Pamela’s story. The way the author transports the reader to that era and the plotline itself was amazing! The descriptions of the early 1800’s were very believable, I felt the struggles of that time, and the emotions the characters were going through as if I was actually there. Secondly, the mysterious and supernatural feel. It was barely there but it was enough to give the novel a slightly haunted atmosphere and made it special.
Although I mostly enjoyed the plot, a few moments left me quite confused. I could not understand how Pamela didn’t see her sister’s true self. After all, she’s done, Pamela and her husband still blindly trusted her, it doesn’t make sense to me. It was clear to me that Georgina can’t be trusted, and I don’t believe nobody saw that. Ugh, so annoying!
“Storms bring the detritus of other people’s lives into our own, a reminder that we are not alone, and of how truly insignificant we are. The indiscriminating waves had brutalized the shore, tossing pieces of splintered timber, an intact china teacup, and a gentleman’s watch—still with its cover and chain—onto my beloved beach, each coming to rest as if placed gently in the sand as a shopkeeper would display his wares. As I rubbed my thumb over the smooth lip of the china cup, I thought of how someone’s loss had become my gain, of how the tide would roll in and out again as if nothing had changed, and how sometimes the separation between endings and beginnings is so small that they seem to run together like the ocean’s waves.”