Book Review: Harbor Secrets

26 Jun

A Peaceful Coastal Town . . . Threatened by a Storm of Secrets

It’s 1916 when newspaper woman Anna McDowell learns her estranged father has suffered a stroke. Deciding it’s time to repair bridges, Anna packs up her precocious adolescent daughter and heads for her hometown in Sunset Cove, Oregon.

Although much has changed since the turn of the century, some things haven’t. Anna finds the staff of her father’s paper not exactly eager to welcome a woman into the editor-in-chief role, but her father insists he wants her at the helm. Anna is quickly pulled into the charming town and her new position…but just as quickly learns this seaside getaway harbors some dark and dangerous secrets.

With Oregon’s new statewide prohibition in effect, crime has crept along the seacoast and invaded even idyllic Sunset Cove. Anna only meant to get to know her father again over the summer, but instead she finds herself rooting out the biggest story the town has ever seen—and trying to keep her daughter safe from it all.

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, True Colors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including RT’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita, and the Gold medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.


My Impressions:

Melody Carlson has been a long time favorite author of mine. Her Christmas novellas are special treats each year. Harbor Secrets, the first book in the Legacy of Sunset Cove series has many of the things I look forward to in a book by Carlson — easy style, detailed setting, and relatable characters — plus the inclusion of a mystery. The result is a fun read that was the perfect traveling companion. Recommended!

The year is 1916 and the place is the Oregon Coast. The nation is undergoing changes and facing a looming crisis. Women are making their way in the business world, but slowly, and the ripples of the war in Europe are reaching our nation. In small town Sunset Cove, times haven’t changed all that much, but when Anna McDowell returns, there is a definite shakeup of the status quo. Anna is a newswoman, a rarity in the male-dominated field. Her father’s illness places her right in the middle of his newspaper, a place she relishes. Whispers of sinister goings on and political corruption cause Anna to be on the case.

There is much to love about Harbor Secrets — the family drama, the historical context including women’s rights and Prohibition, the mystery that engulfs the small coastal town, and the promise of romantic developments. Characters are well-developed, and the narrative proves to be a light and quick read. This book accompanied me on my bucket list trip to Alaska. With a cozy mystery-vibe, I found this book easy to pick up among all my vacation-doings. Despite the distractions of travel and the days of not getting to read at all, I found it easy to slip back to Sunset Cove and Anna when I got the chance.

I really enjoyed my time with Harbor Secrets and look forward to traveling back in time to Sunset Cove in book 2, Riptide Rumors.


Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

2 Responses to “Book Review: Harbor Secrets”

  1. carhicks June 27, 2019 at 12:12 pm #

    Great review. I enjoyed this one as well.

    • rbclibrary June 27, 2019 at 4:00 pm #


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