Title: Miracle Beach
Author: Erin Celello
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
When her husband, Nash, dies in a horrible accident, Macy Allen is completely bereft. What’s worse is that Nash’s difficult mother, Magda, blames Macy for his death. Unable to deal with his wife’s bitterness any longer, Nash’s father Jack takes a trip out to visit Macy and to find some closure, and in the process, they discover secrets about Nash that he kept hidden during his life.
Miracle Beach is an atmospheric read set on Vancouver Island. Celello takes her time building her setting and creating a close atmosphere for the characters to operate in. The setting is incredibly important to the story; it represents Nash’s decision to move far from his parents for the woman he loved. After Nash’s death, it’s a symbol of Jack’s desire for distance from his wife, and to be closer to his son in the best way he knows how. The island is a place of peace and tranquility, but Macy finds no solace there anymore. She must learn how to live life again, and Vancouver Island is a big part of that.
Macy and Magda are the best developed characters in the book, and they are so different, yet so alike. Each is drowning in sorrow at Nash’s death. Though Magda seems like a horrible person at the novel’s outset, it becomes clear that she is dealing with a lifetime full of resentment. Though she never is truly likeable, she becomes easier to understand. Macy, on the other hand, is likeable enough, but completely stuck. Her despair threatens to consume her, and she finds no comfort in her horses as she used to.
The core of Miracle Beach is the emotions it exudes – grief, anger, sadness, despair. Nash’s death has rocked everyone in the book. As the novel progresses, these emotions change as the characters process Nash’s death and find ways to deal with it. Celello’s prose is beautifully rendered, her descriptions lush and generous. If you are in the mood to read a novel with amazing writing, look no further.
The plot of this novel leaves something to be desired. Miracle Beach is a contemplative read and thus it moves very slowly, which isn’t a problem if you aren’t specifically looking for a fast paced read. However, there is a twist in the middle of the novel that has been so overdone in women’s fiction; it was easy to see coming and made the book as a whole less satisfying. If you can get past that, though, and are looking for a moody book with gorgeous prose, this is definitely a good choice.