Michael is a quiet, easy-going man who would prefer to live a simple life surfing on the beach, spending time with his family, and working with his brother Willie in the family construction business. But he and his wife Vivvy are drawing apart, in an amicable but inevitable separation, and he worries about the effects on their daughter Tommy, who suffers from anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Meanwhile, Willie has been lured by promises of prosperous employment to work closely with Jonathan Varniver, CEO of Eagle Development, who is looking for local builders to provide a front for his ambitious development plans – but Varniver’s promises to work through locals and preserve the town’s natural beauty seem all too fragile when they come up against profits. In the midst of all of this, Michael has to find where his own balance lies, to learn where he stands, and to be able to keep a safe haven for his loved ones in the face of change.
SPARROW BEACH is a warmhearted, thoughtful exploration of the inevitability of change, even destructive change, and the ways that people adjust to change, whether by fighting back, accepting it and letting go, or getting what you can and getting out. This is a book about people and relationships first and foremost, and the author shows a deft hand at character development. Michael is the gyroscope at the center of the book, maintaining his own perspective and ethical standards while others around him sometimes lose theirs – but he doesn’t always find it easy to keep that stability, or to watch as his loved ones are hurt by the chaos around them.
The other characters are vividly-drawn, three-dimensional people with their own growth and character arcs, arcs with varying levels of success – Tommy has to grow up and find her own path in life, Vivvy has to sort out her relationship issues in order to find her freedom, Willie has to deal with the results of his impulsive nature, and even Varniver has to come to terms, to some extent, with his own broken promises and compromised ethics. The book draws the reader into all their stories, and while we see them from Michael’s perspective, they have personality and depth that stand on their own.
SPARROW BEACH is a gentle, nuanced, character-centered exploration of relationships, change, and growth.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader