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The Ocean Between Us


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About the Author

Susan Wiggs is the author of many beloved bestsellers, including the popular Lakeshore Chronicles series. She has won many awards for her work, including a RITA from Romance Writers of America. Visit her website at


A midlife marital crisis threatens the stability of a squeaky-clean navy family in Wiggs's latest, which overcomes a listless, saccharine start thanks to a rousing finale aboard an aircraft carrier. Steve and Grace Bennett look like the perfect military couple: Steve, a former pilot, has become an ambitious officer, and Grace successfully cares for their three bright, talented kids while he's deployed. But rips appear in the marriage fabric when Grace, seeking more in life, starts a relocation business, begins a fitness program and buys a small but lovely house near the Seattle base they temporarily call home. Wiggs's light, engaging style keeps the story moving in the first half, despite too many syrupy family scenes and a far-fetched subplot in which Josh, a fledgling pilot under Steve's command, is revealed to be his long-lost son from a brief, ill-advised teen marriage. This revelation widens the gap between Grace and Steve, who never told her about wife number one, and Wiggs balances their turmoil with a subplot involving their oldest daughter, Emma, and a hunky but predatory high school boy whose father is Steve's boss. But the tension isn't all emotional: Josh goes on a training exercise that nearly turns deadly, and Steve, trying to stop a deadly fire aboard his aircraft carrier, gets swept overboard into the icy Pacific. While Wiggs tends to nip suspense in the bud and linger on overripe romantic sentiments, her characters are sympathetic and her tale of frayed loves mended is sure to strike a responsive chord in a maturing audience. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

There's a mishap aboard the carrier Dominion: Ordinanceman Michael Rivera is badly burned when a flare explodes on deck, and Capt. Steve Bennett goes overboard while trying to remove the damaged cylinder. Lt. Josh Lamont and his men are waved off from landing their Prowler (an all-weather aircraft) and must eject when the plane goes out of control. This latest novel by Wiggs (Home Before Dark) opens at sea, then moves to those left behind at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in Washington State and further still to nine months before the fateful day. How did Steve and his wife, Grace, come to the disconnect that was on his mind when he approached the flares? Josh was a "nugget" (fairly new pilot), but did thinking about Lauren, to whom he had proposed, make him negligent? Could Grace continue to accept the life of a navy wife when she had goals of her own? And where do Grace and Steve's three children find their lives headed? Readers will be swept up in the struggles of these individuals as they face the challenges of military service and its familial repercussions. We learn as much about the minefields of marriage and relationships as we do about navy regs and procedures. This engrossing novel will keep readers turning the pages. Recommended for all fiction collections; fans of TV's JAG will find it especially rewarding.-Bette-Lee Fox, "Library Journal" Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"Her characters are sympathetic and her tale of frayed loves mended is sure to strike a responsive chord in a maturing audience."

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