Book Review: Blue Moon Bay

13 May

Heather Hampton returns to Moses Lake, Texas, to help facilitate the sale of a family farm as part of a planned industrial plant that will provide the area with much-needed jobs. Heather’s future fiance has brokered the deal, and Heather is in line to do her first large-scale architectural design–if the deal goes through.

But the currents of Moses Lake have a way of taking visitors on unexpected journeys. What was intended to be a quick trip suddenly morphs into Valentine’s week–with Blaine Underhill, the handsome banker who just happens to be opposing Heather’s project. Spending the holiday in an ex-funeral parlor seems like a nightmare, but Heather slowly finds herself being drawn into the area’s history, hope, and heart.

Lisa Wingate is an award-winning journalist, magazine columnist, popular inspirational speaker and a national bestselling author of 16 books.  Her first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, is in its fifteenth printing from Penguin Putnam.  Tending Roses is a staple on the shelves of national bookstore chains as well as in many independent bookstores.

Recently, Lisa’s Blue Sky Hill Series, set in Dallas, received national attention with back-to-back nominations for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award for A Month of Summer (2009) and The Summer Kitchen(2010). In 2011, Lisa’s Novel, Never Say Never, won the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award.  Pithy, emotional, and inspirational, her stories bring to life characters so real that readers often write to ask what is happening to them after the book ends.

Lisa is one of a select group of authors to find success in both the Christian and mainstream markets, writing for both Bethany House, a Christian publisher, and NAL Penguin Putnam, in mainstream fiction.  Her bestselling books have become a hallmark of inspirational southern fiction. Her works have been featured by the National Reader’s Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, American Profiles and have been chosen for numerous awards.

When not busy dreaming up stories, Lisa spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women’s literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library system has used Tending Roses to help volunteer mentors teach adults to read.  Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others, as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.

My Impressions:

Blue Moon Bay is the second book in Lisa Wingate’s Moses Lake series. It is, however, a standalone novel.  Many of the characters from the first book, Larkspur Cove, appear, but only in a supporting role.  In Blue Moon Bay, Heather Hampton finds herself in the one place she never wanted to return to — the site of the worst year of her life.  Sixteen years before, Heather’s father had moved his family to his hometown of Moses Lake.  Heather’s rebellion took the form of gothic clothes and sullen behavior.  And only months into the move, her father was killed in a tragic accident that spurred small town gossip and doubts. Years later, Heather thinks her last ties to Moses Lake will be severed — the family farm will be sold and she will finally be able to put the ghosts of her past to rest.  But her family has other plans and Heather finds herself trying to salvage the deal while coping with the strange behavior of her family.

Wingate examines the relationships between grown siblings and parents. Heather prides herself on being in control, detail oriented and like her father. She has always butted heads with her flighty and unpredictable mother and her Peter Pan-like brother.  She resents their exclusion of her in family matters, yet has been distancing herself from them since that fateful year in Moses Lake. Coming back opens Heather’s eyes to the realities of her perceptions and the costs associated with living a life based on career ambitions, not relationships.

I liked Blue Moon Bay, but it was a bit slow at times.  The mystery of what happened to Heather’s father and just what her family is up to took too long to develop, in my opinion.  Heather also spends a lot of time analyzing her life and the actions of those around her.  Wingate, again, brings to the reader complex characters and an interesting look at family dynamics.  And the setting of the novel, the lake and its environs, adds great dimension to the story.

Recommended. 

(I received Blue Moon Bay from Bethany House in return for a review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

3 Responses to “Book Review: Blue Moon Bay”

  1. Nissa Annakindt May 13, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    Sounds like a book my mother would really like. (I’m not a romance reader, I like books with spaceships or dragons in them. And explosions.) And it is very encouraging to know that there are some writers getting published in both secular and Christian markets.

    • rbclibrary May 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

      She also may like Larkspur Cove, book 1 in the series.

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