The Ocean Between us (review and giveaway)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Title: The Ocean Between Us
Author: Susan Wiggs
Pages: 407
Publisher: Mira (Harlequin)
Release date: (reprint) April 27, 2010
(1st print) April 2004

I almost didn't read this one because I didn't think I'd finish it in time since I didn't get to start it until Friday night. I had also just finished another book in the similar genre and thought I might need a change. But I'm so so glad I decided to read it because I really really enjoyed it (and finished it in plenty of time)!

The Ocean Between Us takes place over the course of one year in the Bennett family as they experience yet another year as a Navy family. Grace Bennett has always stuck by her Navy husband, putting up with moving every 3 years and spending half of that time without her husband while he's away on the ship. The children (twins Emma and Brian, age 17, and Katie, age 15) have also learned to manage while having their father home only part time. They also learn quickly about the politics of being in the Navy, how to make new friends with every move, etc. There are various plot points that all work together to illustrate the military family lifestyle. Grace starts to have what can be referred to as a mid-life crisis and feels the need to sort of re-invent herself. This is only exacerbated when a secret about her husband's past bombards the family. Steve, the husband, doesn't realize what effect his expectations and absences have on his family; he wants his son, Brian, to join the Navy as well and isn't pleased that Brian would prefer art school. Then a crisis occurs on the ship that changes the lives of the Bennett family as well as that of their fellow Navy friends.

The book starts out in the current time with the big crisis. At this point it alludes to some problems that have been building. Then the story rewinds 9 months and shows all the events that led to where they were at the beginning of the book. One of the things I thought Susan Wiggs did excellently with this book was the pacing. The main point of the book was to illustrate the lives of Navy families. Wiggs was able to illustrate the daily nuances of this lifestyle over the course of a year (in 407 pgs) and also adds enough plot points to keep the reader interested. The characters were also well written and genuine. I constantly found myself just wanting to pick up the book and read more. The teen characters were great because they were real but they were good kids and really cared about each other and their family. I just adored reading about all the characters in this book.

I thought this book was a great peek into what life is like for these families. Some aspects seem fun and exciting, but others are frustrating and scary. I cried in different places while reading this -- sometimes out of sadness and sometimes out of happiness. I would definitely recommend this book as one for those who want some insight into what it's like being married to a someone in the Navy. I grew up with my father in the Air Force, and even though I can relate to some experiences being a military family, it was still completely different than this branch of the military (as I'm sure this is from the others). Definitely a good read.

The Ocean Between Us



One (1) Grand Prize winner from Take Me Away receives:

* $25 VISA gift card
* Copy of The Ocean Between Us

Two (2) additional winners will receive a copy of the book!

This giveaway will run for 2 weeks. It is for the U.S. only. All you have to do to enter is fill out the form below. Winners will be announced on May 11, 2010!

Learn more on the author's website:

FTC: I received this book for review from Big Honcho Media as part of this promotion, but the review was my honest opinion.


dArLyN said...

HI Jenny! Thanks for visiting my blog. I love the review of this book and very interested in participating this giveaway.Is it international?because i already submit the form.If not, i'm sorry.. =0

Jenny said...

Darlyn -- Oh, I'm sorry! It is only in the US and I forgot to put that. =(

Juju at Tales of said...

Great review. Lovely cover.
(not an entry)

Zibilee said...

Reading about a military family sounds so interesting! I have not yet read about this subject and it does fascinate me. Great review Jenny, I am so glad this book was so engrossing for you!

Jenny said...

Juju -- thanks! I like the cover too!

Zibilee -- yeah I don't think I've read any other books on this topic either!

bermudaonion said...

I forgot to mention how the book started in my review! This book really struck a chord with me, as you know.

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

Jenny, this sounds really good. I know several families who have grown up in many different areas of military services. I have never really read a book that deals with that.

CLM said...

I have been a fan of books about military families since my teenage obsession with Janet Lambert's books about the Parrish and Jordon families. Anyone else?

Linda said...

It sounds like a great read! All of Susan's books are wonderful!

Linda Cacaci

Modokker said...

My husband and i are both Desert Storm vets. We met when i was attached to his unit is Saudi Arabia in 1991. It's interesting to see a book with military attachments and being at to get a peak into those kinds of relationships. Great review!


Jackie Smith said...

Great the cover. Please enter me for this book!

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