A Peaceful Coastal Town…Threatened by a Storm of Secrets
It’s 1916 when newspaper woman Anna McDowell learns her estranged father has suffered a stroke. Deciding it’s time to repair bridges, Anna packs up her precocious adolescent daughter and heads for her hometown in Sunset Cove, Oregon.
Although much has changed since the turn of the century, some things haven t. Anna finds the staff of her father s paper not exactly eager to welcome a woman into the editor-in-chief role, but her father insists he wants her at the helm. Anna is quickly pulled into the charming town and her new position…but just as quickly learns this seaside getaway harbors some dark and dangerous secrets.
What an interesting historical fiction set on the Oregon coast during the years of Prohibition and US teetering on the brink of entering WWI! Melody Carlson, no matter the genre, creates a setting, plot, and a set of characters that bring her story to life. This story focuses on Anna, a rare woman journalist at that time who writes under a presumed male pseudonym, and her sixteen-year-old daughter Katy. Due to misunderstanding and falling out, Anna has been estranged from her father who owns and operates a small town newspaper but, due to his failing health, Anna sets aside past hurts and misgivings to return home to Sunset Cove to help her father. In the midst of trying to nurture her father back to health and organize her father’s business better, Anna learns the truth about her past, which isn’t exactly how she remembers it. Her persistence and stubbornness get her into some trouble but she remains true to wanting to discover and disseminate the truth that seems to run in her family’s newspaper genes. Anna also learns about forgiveness and giving people second chances. Katy, in her youthful enthusiasm and kindness to all, is endearing and lovable. There is a bit of suspense woven into the storyline in regard to Prohibition and it was definitely interesting to see what the average person’s attitude may have been like during those years.
This is book 1 in The Legacy of Sunset Cove and the second book in the series looks like Anna and Katy’s stories will continue seamlessly. I can’t wait to see what adventures await the mother-daughter duo!
I received a copy of the book from WhiteFire Publishing via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
June 1916 finds the small town of Sunset Cove basking in the sunshine and enjoying the sunsets over the ocean. Anna McDowell is returning with her daughter Katy after an absence of 16+ years, due to the illness of her estranged father. Somehow small town life hasn’t changed over the centuries. Secrets, of which there are many, abound and those who see the sharing of these confidences their life’s work are busy as usual. Will Anna find her way again in this environment or has she become a big city girl?
What follows it a wonderful story of forgiveness and understanding with some great mysteries thrown in. With prohibition creating the need for rum running and suffrage bringing the worst out in some men, you will find this book hard to put down until finished. A fantastic way to start a new series! I certainly am looking forward to learning more about The Legacy of Sunset Cove.
A copy of this book was received through CelebrateLit. The opinions and impressions given are my own.
I enjoyed getting to know Anna and how independent she was. The story takes place in 1916 when prohibition was gong on. It was interesting to see Anna and her daughter Katy travel to Sunset Cove after hearing that Anna’s father had a stroke. Anna is a bit apprehensive about going since she has not been on good terms with her father. Being home again brings old hurts up for Anna , but maybe this will be a time for her and her father to heal and forgive each other.
I really liked Katy and how she took to her grandfather right away. She decides to help her grandfather recover and it was nice to see a bond form between them. Anna’s father asks her to run the newspaper while he is recovering and that’s when the story really gets interesting. To say that Anna ruffles a few feathers at the newspaper office is an understatement. Someone seems to think he is in charge and is quickly demoted. I could feel the tension in the air as Anna begins to make changes in the office. Not everyone believes a woman should be in charge, but Anna reminds them that women did get the right to vote so they can keep their opinions to themselves.
There is a big secret in the community and Anna is set to find out what is going on. She doesn’t seem to worried about her safety and is determined to unearth the crime. Rumors are going around that liquor is being smuggled and some members of the town are involved. I did like the mystery surrounding who it was and the danger the author included to give the story a little intrigue. It’s a nice story that isn’t just about crime but about forgiveness and reuniting a family.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
I love reading stories written by Melody Carlson. Her characters are interesting and usually show growth. Her plots are well-researched and well-developed. Harbor Secrets is no exception.
During prohibition there were heated opinions on either side of the issue. Much like Anna the newspaper editor main character, author Melody Carlson presents both sides of the issue. Obviously both the author and the editor have a bias but I thought both sides were well-presented throughout the story.
The story opens with strained family relationships – a situation which gradually changes over the course of the story. Readers are reminded that things aren’t always as they seem, that there is usually more to a story than what is evident on the surface, and that sometimes our opinions of people need to change.
And if you like romance – the potential is there. Three men are showing an interest in Anna.
Like mystery and intrigue? The whole idea of bootleg alcohol and how it is getting in to the community will appeal to you.
Interested is woman trailblazers? In the early 1900s a woman newspaper reporter was unusual, an editor more so, Anna is editor in chief in her father’s absence of an almost all-male staff.
The fact that both adults and teens figure prominently in the story give this book appeal both for the adult and young adult markets. I would not hesitate to add Harbor Secrets to my K-12 Christian school library. I think it would even be appropriate for the middle schoolers.
I want to thank Melody Carlson and Celebrate Lit for the complimentary e-copy of Harbor Secrets. This is my honest review.
“Maybe it wasn’t the criminals who should be scared right now…maybe it was the folks who were trying to stop them.”
Melody Carlson’s The Legacy of Sunset Cove series opens with “Harbor Secrets”, which blends elements from different genres to create a small-town tale from the last century. Set in 1916, this story takes place in the coastal Oregon town of Sunset Cove. Women have been slowly making strides in the fight for suffrage and job opportunities, and the United States has not yet entered into what will become World War I. Sunset Cove seems to be an idyllic place, but there is a growing undercurrent of unease. Small towns are, after all, known for their secrets.
After her estranged father Mac suffers a stroke, widow Anna McDowell and her 16-year-old daughter, Katy, travel to Sunset Cove to spend the summer with him and to reconcile. Being a newspaper woman, Anna is perfectly positioned to take over Mac’s duties as head of the local paper, despite opposition from some of the staff. Before long, she discovers that local crime has infiltrated the town with the prohibition on alcohol, and her desire to pursue the story conflicts with her need to keep her family safe.
With an interesting premise and setting, “Harbor Secrets” provides a rather congenial reading experience with light suspense and hints of romance. However, I did have some issues while reading. The slang used at the beginning of the novel seemed to me to be too modern and was jarring, especially as I was trying to step into the setting of the narrative. Family drama and relationships form an integral part of this story, and while I enjoyed some of the characters, to me they seemed somewhat superficial, and I did not feel that I really connected with any of them. The suspense aspect added interest but was very light, and I personally found the last section of the book anticlimactic. The story did come to an end, which I always appreciate, especially in a series, while leaving an opening for book two. As for the faith component, I valued Anna’s praying during times of stress and how clean the storyline is but would have liked to have seen more faith woven into it, as there are numerous scenarios where this could occur. Nevertheless, “Harbor Secrets” offers readers a glimpse into the world of early prohibition and women’s rights in a small coastal town, a fitting book for summertime.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
“HARBOR SECRETS” BY MELODY CARLSON is a wonderful book. It is the first in the series. It is a story about a woman who is a newspaper reporter and she returns home to her father with a secret, her daughter. But in the end her father has a secret to tell her as well.But before she learns his secret, she takes over as the boss of her father’s newspaper and with the help of 3 want to be boyfriends tries to stop some criminals.
This book really kept me turning the pages and I am looking forward to reading book 2 because the book sorts of ends in a cliff hanger. While reading this book I was thinking “Oh no, don’t let it be true” I so not want this to be like this.
The ending is good for some of the characters but not of the characters have a happy ending. I was hoping this one character, that didn’t have a happy ending, would turn out to be different from what he seemed to be.
I was given a complimentary copy by Celebrate Lit and the author. These opinions are my own.