Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Reader's Opinion: THE OUTER BANKS HOUSE by Diann Ducharme

“First novelist Ducharme has laced her novel with the sounds and the smells of the North Carolina shoreline. Racism and Southern tradition run along parallel paths in this affecting debut, where gentlemen can be less than honorable and enslavement doesn’t always involve chains.”Library Journal (starred review) 

The Book
As the wounds of the Civil War are just beginning to heal, one fateful summer would forever alter the course of a young girl’s life.

In 1868, on the barren shores of post-war Outer Banks North Carolina, the once wealthy Sinclair family moves for the summer to one of the first cottages on the ocean side of the resort village of Nags Head. Seventeen-year-old Abigail is beautiful, book-smart, but sheltered by her plantation life and hemmed-in by her emotionally distant family. To make good use of time, she is encouraged by her family to teach her father’s fishing guide, the good-natured but penniless Benjamin Whimble, how to read and write. And in a twist of fate unforeseen by anyone around them, there on the porch of the cottage, the two come to love each other deeply, and to understand each other in a way that no one else does.

But when, against everything he claims to represent, Ben becomes entangled in Abby's father's Ku Klux Klan work, the terrible tragedy and surprising revelations that one hot Outer Banks night brings forth threaten to tear them apart forever.

With vivid historical detail and stunning emotional resonance, Diann Ducharme recounts a dramatic story of love, loss, and coming of age at a singular and rapidly changing time in one of America’s most beautiful and storied communities. 

“Diann Ducharme gives us a beautiful sense of this place by the sea, of a country in conflict, of death and redemption, and of new love.” —Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude & Camille and Marrying Mozart

A Reader's Opinion
Ducharme's THE OUTER BANKS HOUSE captures the essence of the shifting country after the Civil War. The setting is beautiful and the description of a place I've never been, quite vivid. I immediately wanted to visit. I admired Abigail's willingness to open her eyes and sees past the surface of others. I also would have liked more depth to the romance and characters, just so I felt it. I also would have expected more from Abbey after learning about Ben's past.

The story began both slow and strong for me; the story itself interested me from the beginning, but as a personal preference I would have liked more dialogue in the first chapters (something for which the author has a knack), or something to pick up the pace up a bit. 

Overall, I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys a nice beach read.

The Outer Banks House is a beautifully written and deeply moving story of a sheltered young woman's awakening to life, love, and the injustice of discrimination against former slaves.  In theme and impact, shades of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn.  In the evocative setting and fresh voice, a unique novel all its own.”—Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author

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