Book Review: The Deepest Waters

13 Mar

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John 8:36

8462629What began as a fairytale honeymoon in 1857 for John and Laura Foster aboard the steamship SS Vandervere becomes a nightmare when a hurricane causes their ship to sink into the murky depths of the Atlantic. Laura finds herself with the other women and children aboard a sailing ship while John and a hundred other men drift on the open sea on anything they could grab as the Vandervere went down. Suspecting her John is gone but still daring to hope for a miracle, Laura must face the possibility of life alone–and meeting her new in-laws without their son if she ever reaches New York.



dan-courtyard-2-202x300Dan Walshs novels have received popular and critical acclaim, getting rave reviews from USA Today and magazines like Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal and RT Book Reviews. His very first, The Unfinished Gift, won 2 ACFW Carol Awards. It’s still in print 5 years later and has sold over 50,000 copies. It’s available in hardback, paperback, Ebook, audiobook, large-print and in several languages. His other books have won numerous awards and appeared on several national bestseller lists.

In addition to his writing, Dan also enjoys public speaking and is frequently invited to speak at writer’s conferences, either as a keynote speaker, or teaching workshops and seminars on a variety of writing topics.


My Impressions:

Dan Walsh has become a favorite with my book club, By The Book. Often described as a Christian Nicholas Sparks, I believe that his novels have more depth and substance and are better uses of precious reading time. The Discovery and The Reunion are outstanding. While preliminary discussions with my group show that The Deepest Waters was a hit, I was a bit disappointed. We are discussing the novel tonight. Have you read it? We would love to know your thoughts.

Laura and John Foster are on their honeymoon trip when their steamship is hit by a hurricane in the Atlantic. Separated when a rescue is attempted, Laura believes John has perished and John holds onto a tenuous hope of survival. The Deepest Waters is a sweet story inspired by historical events.

Walsh is a great storyteller, and this novel is no exception. The reader is at once drawn into the story and held there throughout. The characters are interesting and the setting of a post-Gold Rush/pre-Civil War America is fascinating. Walsh does not stint with his details and research. So why was I disappointed? Too many plot lines with not enough pages dedicated to them. The book includes a romance, a prodigal story (with both brothers examined) and a tale of what true freedom looks like. I wish that they had been developed more so that I could have gotten a bigger picture of the characters’ motivations and history. What I got was more questions than answers. Micah, the slave owned by a ship’s captain, has to be my favorite character. He is integral to the plot, but little is really revealed about him, save his tremendous faith in God. The book is just under 300 pages, but would have benefitted from more. I did appreciate the author’s Afterword which put in perspective the more fantastical elements of the story.

The faith message of freedom in Christ is front and center in The Deepest Waters. Micah is a strong example of what it means to be free indeed. It may seem a bit heavy-handed to some, but I sure needed the reminder.

While not my favorite of Dan Walsh’s novels, The Deepest Waters is still one I would recommend.


Audience: older teens and adults.

(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click HERE.

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