This is a character driven novel – totally. There are no twists or turns or unexpected developments in the plot. In fact, the plot pretty much consists of people logically, without passion, discussing the possibility of marriage. (There is a little action in the last ten percent of the book.)
Mark is a submarine captain based at Bangor in Washington State. Gina is a genius, literally. She has insights into increasing the effectiveness of sonar. Her brother, Jeff, is captain of a submarine as well and was the reason she was studying sonar, to guarantee him better protection in the ocean.
As the novel opens, Gina is reeling from a broken relationship. She moves to Bangor to live with her brother for a while, contemplating her future. He wants to see her in a good relationship and asks Mark about it. Even though Mark's wife died years ago, he declines. He is some eleven years older than Gina and thinks of her more like a sister. Jeff then turns to Daniel, a young sonar guy, good Christian fellow, and he and Gina begin to date. Then Mark realizes he made a mistake and would like to pursue Gina after all.
The majority of the novel consists of the discussions the characters have about marriage. The discussions are logical and full of reasoning. There seemed to be a distinct lack of passion. Mark and Daniel are very civil in their both pursuing Gina – so civil it seems unreal. May the best man win, I won't hold any hard feelings, and we'll still be friends kind of civility. There is a little suspense very near the end of the book, something I think should have been placed earlier in the novel.
The most interesting aspect of the novel for me was learning about the submarines and their patrols. I am not so sure how accurate navy life is portrayed in the novel. I live in a navy community and generally officers and enlisted do not mix at social gatherings, unlike in the novel. Also, there seemed to be, in general, too much familiarity between officers and enlisted. An enlisted person would not discuss an officer using his first name nor address him so (although I have seen it happen at church or in a Bible study).
Living on a island in Puget Sound, I've seen the submarines go out through Admiralty Inlet to the Strait of Juan de Fuca accompanied by the Coast Guard cutters, the Olympic Mountains as the backdrop. Now I have a much better idea of what they'll be doing out in the Pacific, such as getting in between opposing subs to prevent a skirmish.
I think men would enjoy this book. They will certainly get some tips on being an even keeled and affectionate husband. Women may want a little more passion in the romance to find it an enjoyable novel.
Dee Henderson is the author of numerous novels, including the O'Malley series. Her books have won or been nominated for the RITA Award, the Christy Award, and the ECPA Gold Medallion. She is a life long resident of Illinois. To learn more about her and her books, see http://deehenderson.com/.
Bethany House Publishers, 480 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for an independent and honest review.