Antioch, Georgia April 2011
I stood outside my parents’ house feeling the heat from the black asphalt through my leather flats. My mother’s impatiens bloomed in the clay planters that flanked the front door of the ranch-style house I’d called home for most of my thirty-four years. Even the heat wouldn’t dare defy my mother by making her flowers wilt; Gloria Whalen ruled her garden as she’d ruled her five children, and disobeying her was as much of a rarity as a January snow in Georgia.
A bead of sweat trickled between my shoulder blades as the heat beat down on me and my new husband as if it were the middle of July instead of just spring. I tried to explain to Matthew that summers were like that in west Georgia, so sudden that spring was like a cool evening sandwiched between winter and high summer. Matthew was from the coast, so I figured he already knew a thing or two about heat and humidity.
Matthew held my hand as I faced my father and four brothers, my siblings ranging in age from fifty-five down to forty-five, assembled as either a farewell party or as a show of force to the stranger I’d chosen to marry. Even now, standing in a suburban setting, they could still be identified as the funeral directors they were. Whalen and Sons had been in my father’s family for three generations, and the serious, solicitous expressions on all five faces were more genetic now than learned.
Their assorted wives and my various nieces and nephews remained inside by unspoken assent, perhaps gathered in sympathy around my mother’s bedroom door, a door she’d refused to open since I’d arrived that morning. I’d called the day before, the day of my wedding, to give her time to adjust. Even Phil Autry, my fiancé of four years, seemed to have taken the news better than she had.
I let go of Matthew’s hand and hugged my father. He held on tightly for a moment, then released me to hold me at arm’s distance. I was used to this. Despite my being the youngest and the only girl, and being reassured that I’d been what my parents had hoped and prayed for, they’d always seemed too wary of their good fortune to hold me tightly. It was as if by their holding me close, the vagaries of fortune that had given me to them would notice and take me away.
“Can I try to talk with Mama?” I didn’t really want to. I hated to leave with things unspoken between us, but I didn’t want her to think that I was desperate for her approval. I’d outgrown that need along with Clearasil and braces.
My father shook his head. “Give her time, Ava. She’ll come around. It’s just been a shock. To all of us.” He paused and settled a stern look on me. “You know how Gloria doesn’t like surprises. She’ll come around.”
I hoped my expression conveyed my doubt about the sincerity of his words. My mother had been vaguely upset when I told her I was married. Although she didn’t admit it, I knew she’d always planned a large wedding in her garden with all the frills for her only daughter. It wasn’t until I told her I was moving to St. Simons that she’d had her meltdown.
Published by arrangement with New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from SEA CHANGE by Karen White. Copyright © Harley House Books, LLC, 2012
Karen White, “one of the best new writers on the scene today” (The Huffington Post), takes readers on a journey of the heart in her mesmerizing new novel, Sea Change.
For as long as she can remember, Ava Whalen has struggled with a sense of not belonging. And now, at thirty-five years of age, Ava still feels hampered by her family’s many issues—until she meets child psychologist Matthew Frazier at a conference. Are Ava’s days of loneliness finally behind her? After a whirlwind romance the couple impulsively elopes, and Ava moves to beautiful St. Simons Island to be with her new husband. But escape is not easy. As Ava soon comes to realize, if you can't let the past go, it could undo the future you’ve longed for all your life.
Hardcover Book : 416 pages
Publisher: NAL Signet, Div Of Penguin Putnam ( June 05, 2012 )
Item #: 13-560215
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.94inches
Product Weight: 15.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Sea Change is my 5th Karen White book. Folly Beach is still my favorite, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one, too! She did a great job of telling the story in the first person for all of the characters--and switching back and forth from the past to the present. Once you reach the middle of the book, you can't put it down. Highly recommend it!
Karen White is one of my favorite contemporary writers. I love her style and the unique stories. Sea Change wasn't my favorite, On Folly Beach still holds that honor,but it was a really good read.
It started off a little slow for me. I struggled through the first 50 pages or so. But once I got into it, I had a difficult time putting it down. I was able to figure out the two mysteries of the book before they were completely revealed but it was still very good. It's definitely not your regular chic lit. Southern charm, the ocean thrown in with supernatural elements and a dash of romance. Karen White's books never disappoint.
Reviewer: Amyw C