“Time isn’t going to stand still while she figures things out.”
Time won’t stand still for any of Michael Gannon’s family, a WWII veteran and former POW who we fleetingly meet and who suddenly leaves us. We just don’t ever know what direction life will take us, there are no wrong and right choices, nothing is so clean as that. One moment you’re young and fresh, the entire world is yours for the taking, there are so many paths you can walk and then just as suddenly you are planted in the ground and life is springing up around you. How did I become this person? Father, mother… How the heck did I get here? How did it happen so fast? When did I get so old? I always think ‘want to see God laugh, make a plan”. A quote attributed to so many sources, but funny all the same. How differently would each of Michael and Barbara’s children have turned out had Michael lived longer? Choices would have been chewed over, there certainly wouldn’t have been reckless actions, would there have been? Sons wouldn’t leave and disappear, Michael would have kept them anchored! But other lives may not have sprung up on the family tree either, who can understand the whims of fate? Without the passing of one, how could there be breath of life for another?
This is a novel about one family and where the winds blow them all. It’s about loss and moving on with a life far different from the one you opted for. There are no guarantees, but with greedy,hungry hands we grab what we can from life, whether it takes bites out of us or not. In daring to love, we risk losing everything and when you do, you can’t bury yourself in your grief when you have children to raise. To do so would be a betrayal to your beloved, and yourself. Life goes on, let go or be dragged. What could have been, isn’t. It’s as simple and as painful as that. Their lives aren’t a tragedy, nor a success but everything in between. Any of us can ponder on our lives if we’re old enough to look back, and relate to the mistakes- no matter how perfectly your life has turned out, there is something that blew you off course, or hands you didn’t hold tight to, people you lost, doors that closed as much as twists of fate that worked out for the best. Shining Sea let’s the reader float alongside Michael and Barbara’s imperfect family as they move through the years, there are lean times and fruitful ones. There is love as much as heartbreak, what more can you ask of a life? What more can you expect?
Little, Brown and Company