Signet, Dec 2001, 5.99, 336 pp.
In the days of the thriving whaling industry, the residents of Truro, Massachusetts survive by recovering cargo from the shipwrecks near their Cape Cod community. Rachel Best and her husband Richard have lived in Truro all their lives. He knows the nearby Atlantic Ocean as well as anyone, but when he disappears at sea, everyone else concludes he died. Rachel refuses to believe her spouse is dead so every morning regardless of the weather she walks to the ocean expecting Richard to return.
Sea Captain Jared Mitchell has wanted to die ever since he blamed himself for the accidental deaths of his wife and daughter. Unable to cope, he tries a strange suicide by commanding his whaling crew maroon him in the sea. The ocean fails to listen to his plea; so on a cold autumn day, Rachel finds the whaleboat containing the half-dead Jared. She and her family nurse Jared back to health. Jared falls in love with Rachel who begins to reciprocate, but she feels guilty because she still believes Richard is coming home.
GIFTS FROM THE SEA is an insightful American romance that is excellent when it concentrates on a second chance at love though closure from the previous relationship has not occurred. When the novel meanders into unnecessary subplots, it loses some of its wallop. Jared is a compassionate hero while Rachel is more difficult to accept because her marriage was not a happy one so why one wonders why she loyally clings to a memory. Still when Jane Goodger keeps the love story of the lead couple front and center, readers receive a wonderful historical romance.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner