As a Luanne Rice fan, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Safe Harbor and as usual, could not put this Rice book down either! Rice has the endearing quality of drawing the reader right into the world she is portraying and making the reader one of the family. One cannot help but become intensely involved with the character's lives. Rice also paints a realistic picture for the reader, and not some made-up fantasy world, where one cannot really relate to the experiences that they are reading about.
Rice does a wonderful job portraying the deep bond of two sisters and the aftermath of Dana having to raise her sister Lily's children, after her and her husband's untimely death. Family issues arise, centered on Lily's two girls, Quinn and Allie, and once again Rice portrays the intense emotions from the entire family, so that the reader can feel them and experience them. Throwing a bit of mystery into the untimely deaths, the reader is left wondering for a long time just exactly what is up. Dana, a well-known artist, makes the heart-wrenching decision to abandon her career in France and raise her two nieces. Sam, a former sailing student of Dana's and Lily's comes back into Dana's life to provide support, wisdom, friendship, and ultimately love.
The themes of Rice's books seem to center around the family unit and how each member copes when tragedy enters into their lives. Yet it is done poignantly and with depth and sensitivity, that the reader is left with a renewed sense of hope, and that love can and will prevail. The romance angle woven into this story is not overwhelming or intoxicating, but has just the right dose of sweetness so that the reader is rooting for Sam and urging him to never give up on Dana! The reader comes to know the characters so intimately, that one cannot wait to get to the next chapter!
I found this story to be endearing and touching and it is classic Rice at her best! Rice fans will not be disappointed, and I found this book to be one of her best!
This report prepared by Judith E. Pavluvcik
Bantam, Mar 2002, 19.95, 314 pp.
When they were younger, Dana and Lily taught sailing in Newport. Dana also painted oceanscapes as she dreamed of becoming an artist. The siblings even saved the life of student Sam Trevor, who vowed to keep his two females saviors safe from harm.
Over two decades later, Dana is sailing the seven seas painting wherever she goes. Lily married Mark and they have two preteen children. However, the world turns upside down when Lily and Mark drown and Dana comes home to raise her two nieces struggling with their sudden loss. Dana, also grappling with her sibling's death, wonders how to raise two grieving preadolescents when Sam, an oceanography professor at Yale, enters her life again. Sam remembers his youthful pledge to the sisters and provides mental and logistical support to Dana especially with trying to understand the mystery of how two-experienced “Mer” people drown. As they begin to fall in love, Dana must overcome her fear of commitment and her problems with being several years older than her former student is if they are to form a permanent relationship.
SAFE HARBOR is a safe bet for readers who relish a relationship drama with a bit of mystery and the convalescing power of love. The story line breezes forward through the actions of the three dimensional key cast members especially the lead characters and the two children. Fans of ocean air, sandy beaches, and a top rate romance will enjoy Luanne Rice' latest offering.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner