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‘Sea Of Regret’ by Carolyn J. Rose

‘SEA OF REGRET‘

A woman determined to hold onto her land.

Financial sharks out to make a killing.

A life-or-death struggle by the SEA OF REGRET.

A year after the violence and tragedy of AN UNCERTAIN REFUGE, Kate Dalton’s life is shattered again. Developers want Evie Hopkins’ former dairy farm on the Oregon Coast, want it bad enough to sabotage the Castaway Beach Wildlife Rehabilitation Center she runs there. Aligned with developers and hoping to cash in on his inheritance early, Evie’s son claims she’s losing her mind and intends to prove that in court.

The wildlife center is both home and place of healing for Kate, for Jackson Scovell who traded alcoholic oblivion for life with her, and for Way-Ray, a boy orphaned by murder. They fear for Evie and the sick and injured birds and animals she rescues and nurtures, but they vow to support her decision—whether it’s to sell or to fight.

As Evie agonizes over her choice, protests and politics divide the community. Threats and violence escalate. Then two hired killers trap Kate, Jackson, and Way-Ray at a remote cove. And time runs out.

CAROLYN J. ROSE

Photograph of author Carolyn J. RoseCarolyn J. Rose is the author of more than a dozen novels, including the ‘Subbing isn’t for Sissies’ series (No Substitute for Murder, No Substitute for Money and No Substitute for Maturity), and the ‘Catskill Mountains Mysteries’ (Hemlock Lake and Through a Yellow Wood).

She grew up in New York’s Catskill Mountains and graduated from the University of Arizona. She logged two years in Arkansas, with Volunteers in Service to America and spent twenty five years as a television news researcher, writer, producer and assignment editor, in Arkansas, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.

Carolyn founded the Vancouver Writers’ Mixers and is an active supporter of her local bookstore, Cover to Cover.

Her interests are reading, gardening and NOT cooking.

WORDS FROM THE BOOK:

Control, he said, wasn’t like electrical current. It didn’t have to alternate in equal degrees. Neither did it have to flow just one way. Control was like water that could be released or dammed or diverted. It could wash in and out like the tide. It could even evaporate.

“But people do change,” Kate said. “Yes. But mostly to survive, or when someone forces them to, or when it hurts too much not to, or because they have a chance at what they want most only if they give up what stands in the way.”

The sad fact is, you can’t reach people who don’t want to be reached and you can’t teach people who don’t want to be taught.

Kids love secrets. It’s a way to have control in a world full of adults.

It’s easier to laugh when you’re not the only one doing it.

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THE BOOK:

“If politics makes for strange bedfellows, the pursuit of money does the same.”

‘Sea Of Regret’ is the follow-up book to ‘An Uncertain Refuge’ and whilst reading the books in order of publication might assist somewhat with character recognition, I believe they can be treated as individual stand-alone stories, equally well.

Having enjoyed ‘An Uncertain Refuge’ so much, I had high expectations of ‘Sea Of Regret’ and I was certainly not to be disappointed. This is another tense, high octane thriller, where the action is fast paced and relentless. The storyline is strong and believable and the already damaged and complex principle characters are becoming well developed, with some interesting narrative and dialogue.

Carolyn has a keen eye for detail and an excellent descriptive writing style, which encompasses not only her characters and their individual storylines, but also the environment in which she places her protagonists and where all the action takes place. The sense of conflict, both emotional and physical between the characters, was managed beautifully, without being unnecessarily overdramatised. For me this all added up to a complete experience, where the stakes couldn’t get much higher.

I could only admire Kate’s resilience and gutsy determination to face her own demons and come to terms with the many new and difficult emotions and relationships, which as a hitherto rather insular loner, she has never allowed into her life before. When she is finally willing and able to embrace the knowledge that there are people in the world who genuinely love and care for her, she becomes fierce in her instincts to protect them and nurture the relationships.

The slow burning romance between Kate and Jackson isn’t going to rock the world, however the bond and understanding between them is becoming ever more intense and deeply rooted, with Jackson beginning to find solace and peace in his life with Kate at his side, after the trauma of his military years and his fast developing addiction to drink, as his only way of coping with life. Having Kate,Way-Ray and Evie to focus upon, has given him a renewed sense of purpose and direction. He is now almost ready and prepared to face up to the physical challenges which life has dealt him and to tackle them head on, for the sake of his ‘family’

Way-Ray, having had his short life turned upside down, is, with the seemingly unending resilience of the young, far more accepting of the situation into which he has been thrust. His faith and trust in both Kate and Jackson is growing daily and whilst it is clear that he will always remember his natural mother with unconditional love and acceptance, he is settling into his new routine remarkably well, with just the occasional glimpse of his inner turmoil and suffering surfacing. As a father figure has always been missing from his life, the strengthening bond and trust between himself and Jackson is touching, although Jackson is astute enough to ensure that Kate never has reason to feel excluded from their banter and exchanges.

Following the series of dramatic events, which has so traumatised and rocked this fledgling family unit and flung them together with such surprising consequences, and until some semblence of normality and stability can be maintained and their damaged lives mended, the three of them have decided to live in retreat and solitude with Evie, at her animal rescue and shelter centre.

All is not well however, as a proud, fiercely independent and stubborn Evie, who has given her all, both physically and mentally, to caring for the wounded and abandoned animals in her care, has not only financial problems in keeping the centre afloat, but has also been receiving threats from an unknown source, seeking to turn her off her land, in order to redevelop the site. The threats, it transpires, come from closer to home than Evie suspects, although her son Paul is a very small cog in a very large, powerful and totally unscrupulous organisation and fast comes to realise that he is in way over his head and is totally out of his depth.

The tension and threats build and build, like a pressure cooker just waiting to explode and the showdown, when it finally arrives, is almost the literal end-game for all of them. Trapped and seemingly at the mercy of their unknown enemy, they are all forced to face their own mortality very quickly and decisions made in a split second of time, may have far reaching consequences.

Carolyn sustains the tension and suspense with total authority, right until the very last second, when action from an unexpected source helps to save the situation and redefine everyones lives for the future.

My only observations might be: – Just how much murder and intrigue can Kate, as one person, attract in such a short space of time?  ….  And why was Paul allowed off the hook quite so easily, after all the bloodshed and sorrow he had caused?  Carolyn did begin to ‘sow the seeds’ of a reconciliation between Paul and Evie, which so clearly was much needed by the both of them and would, for Evie at least, provide her with the renewed vigour and energy to enjoy being a much loved part of the extended family she had become a part of overnight, whilst a new understanding and relationship with her own son and his family could be nurtured and hopefully brought to fruition.

However neither of these small details were in any way an issue and certainly didn’t detract from the excellent writing and storytelling skills of this consummate and perceptive author.

As ‘Sea Of Regret’ was a review request, a complimentary Kindle download was sent to me by its author, Carolyn J. Rose.

This in no way influenced any comments I may have expressed about the book, in any blog article I have posted. Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article.

I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a 4 out of 5.

Read my review of ‘An Uncertain Refuge’ here …

COMING SOON…

Carolyn and husband Mike (her sometimes partner in crime writing), have written a totally candid and often laugh out loud funny, guest post, about the challenges and benefits of collaborative writing  …. So be sure to stop by and share your thoughts and comments. Scheduled to be published here, at Fiction Books, very soon!

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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8 comments
  • Thank you for taking the time to read Sea of Regret and to write such an in-depth review. It’s a joy to have readers share thoughts beyond “I liked it” or “I didn’t like it.” Knowing why and how readers connect – or don’t connect – gives me a deeper understanding of the craft of writing.

    • Hi Carolyn,

      You are most welcome and thank you for writing such enjoyable stories and introducing characters which are so easy to connect with.

      It takes me an age to actually write a review that I am happy to publish, you should see the amount of revisions on the edit page!

      Sometimes I will read a review through (or even a regular post or comment) and wonder why I waffle on so much, when other bloggers seem to gather their thoughts in just a few words!

      I just like to think that I have something more to say than “I enjoyed it..”, “I didn’t like it..”, or “Thanks for commenting..” I genuinely enjoy interacting and engaging with people and love any spin-off conversations which might occur. I also just talk a lot generally!! LOL

      Have a great weekend.

  • I enjoyed your thorough review and feel I would probably enjoy this book as well. I’m not very familiar with the location in which it’s set and would find that interesting.

    As for your comment about the amount of murder and intrigue the main character faced….I’m never bothered by this in a “cozy” mystery (as they are most often totally unbelievable, yet fun to read), yet it can be a little disconcerting in what I categorize as a mystery/thriller.

    • Hi Kelly,

      It is always good to learn about new locations and a good author, whilst obviously limited in the amount of location information they include, lest they start to sound like a travel guide, should be able, in a few choice words, to convey the essence of a location and its characters.

      I don’t read too many ‘cozy’ mysteries, although they do lighten the reading schedule every once in a while. However, I really do enjoy a few good murders and the cut and thrust of a well written, suspenseful thriller.

      I used to be able to enjoy films with a liberal smattering of horror and murder, however these days, whilst I still crave the storyline and narrative of the genre, I find myself unable to engage with the blood and gore, in the way I once did when I was younger!

      Thanks for stopping by, I always appreciate your interesting comments and I hope that you have a great weekend.

  • With financial loan sharks featuring in the news so much lately this sounds like a topical read.
    Loving ‘Kids love secrets. It’s a way to have control in a world full of adults.’ This sounds like a book I’d enjoy. Thanks for a great review, enjoy your week-end.

    • Hi Tracy,

      There were some great sentences in this book, which make for some very thoughtful introspection. My own personal favourite, was…

      “It’s easier to laugh when you’re not the only one doing it.”

      I wonder if authors consciously try to include thought provoking lines and passages in their writing, or if they occur naturally in the regular thought processes of writing?

      The rise of the loan sharks and land agents is definitely causing extreme angst and misery for many right now and it isn’t difficult to imagine the many thousands of individuals who are finding themselves in the same financial difficulties as Evie, whether it be on a business or pesonal level. I guess that ‘fracking’ has to be the most controversial area of ‘land grabbing’ right now, one fight that is going to rumble on for some time to come no doubt, although I sincerely hope that the situation doesn’t become quite as extreme or violent as it did for Evie!

      Some interesting thoughts and comments, thank you so much.
      Some pretty grotty weather forecast for this weekend, after last week’s blast of Spring, but enjoy anyway.

  • Glad to hear you enjoyed this second book Yvonne. I like that third quote about people who don’t want to be taught. It sounds like you are a fan of Carolyn’s work and like you mention, I too enjoy descriptive writing and attention to detail can make all the difference. These sound like well developed and interesting characters that are put into an intense situation.
    Fantastic commentary as usual.

    • Hi Naida,

      I think you just summed up this book very nicely, thanks …. well developed characters, interesting location and an intense situation!

      Carolyn has written some excellent dialogue and narrative, which I am sure all of us can relate to in one way or another. I know I can look at just that small selection of sentences and definitley find more than one of them which I could apply to myself.

      Carolyn is definitely an author I can relate to, with the guest posts she occasionally writes here at Fiction Books and those she and husband Mike publish between them, over at ‘Deadly Duo Mysteries’, always guaranteed to raise a smile, along with some deeper thought provoking messages.

      It is also satisfying to be approached by an author so willing to engage and interact with their readership and bloggers willing to promote their work, it makes the whole process more of a two-way street!

      You raise some very interesting points, as always and you know I value and appreciate your contribution to a discussion. Have a great weekend.

Written by Yvonne

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