The Swing Over The Ocean by David Abare
The 1st Impression:
Based off of the synopsis alone I did not really know what I was going to get into with this novel nor if it would be something that I would enjoy. However, the title was a winner as was the design of the cover. I would, however, consider the formatting with the ebook. An application I was hipped to is Vellum. It’s a little pricier now than it was when I originally purchased it but it sets up the book perfectly!
I, by default, am very critical of the beginning of a title that I am reading. A lot of people will get a few pages in or a few chapters but I am a first 1-4 sentences kind of gal. The first paragraph of this piece just worked. It was a normal moment made cheeky and my first thought was that if the author, David Abare, continued with that tone and didn’t drop the ball he’d be in for a great review from yours truly.
Head of the Class:
We are introduced to a few supporting characters throughout the novel and in the beginning, though we start off with Stephen visit to the doctor’s office, we don’t really know just who we will be following through this tale. I’m unsure if this was Abare’s intention but definitely in the beginning within the first few chapters I wasn’t sure if this was going to be led by Stephen, Heather, or even those that witnessed the events at the diner. I was trying to make sure that I committed characters’ names to memory when after progressing more into the book I realized that I didn’t have to and some of these secondary characters would either a) not come up again or b) may not have truly been significant enough of a mention to drive the storyline.
With that being said, Stephen is our sarcasm infused lead wrapped up in a non-relationship with a woman named Heather whom seems to just get him but he is unwilling to enter an actual relationship with her because he is living with another woman and he is honestly not one for commitment. Heather is aware of this but unfortunately like so many of us plays the game as if she is accepting of this and indifferent to any sort of emotions between them but in all actuality wants it all. A lot of women, self included, have been there and done that so it is easy to recognize in this read.
Stephen himself seems to be uncomplicated and straight forward, self-deprecating through sarcasm, but normal. Our first indication as the reader that something may be wrong internally is in Heather’s clandestine read of the book that he is composing. He hasn’t bothered to change the names of his characters which are himself and his family and right from the top of that reading within a read you know that this novel is going to have depth. The snippets of the past documented within a manuscript in the book was perfectly executed. You don’t feel like you’re reading another story about an author and his tragedies. You’re getting a documented account of a family’s history and a window into why the main character is who he has become.
Sheriff McCabe is another major player driving the plot of The Swing Over the Ocean and is every bit as important to the story as Stephen. Stephen may be the catalyst for a discovery that shocks the nation but McCabe is an intentional unsung hero. He’s done his duty, what he’s paid to do, and as he is older in age he has no interest in being thrust into the limelight. Abare’s portrayal of McCabe was perfect.
Now, in recognizing who are driving characters are and the introduction to a lot of others that we may or may never see again, there were a few that I feel that we should have had more one-on-one time with. I wanted to know more about the captives as afraid as I was to know what had happened to them during their captivity and how they were abducted in the first place. As a reader I only knew what the “public” knew with these small glimpses in the beginning and at the resolution of their situation. For me, there needed to be more not only of them but into what was happening with the abductor. Chapter one made me believe I’d be delving into some seriously scary moments and I’m sure because of the topic that was something Abare may not have wanted to go too far with but Stephen’s journey of self-realization, understanding and forgiveness may very well have happened without this driving force. It is interesting and sets this novel apart from others but there should have been more of a connection here other than the womanizing and regret.
I enjoyed this read and I struggled with going toward a 4/5 or 5/5 rating. I even waited a few days before typing up the review to see if my impression of it would change because honestly it had me wrapped up. Abare is an absolutely astounding writer and if this is the beginning for him then the sky is the absolute limit. I couldn’t name a single error in it other than the formatting which could be resolved with another formatting tool. I’ve decided to go with the 4/5 purely based on timing. I believe the introduction of the portion that actually brings up “the swing over the ocean” should have come much earlier because it was so important. Though Heather may have been his match there should have been more of Sophia other than the final goodbye. Her final goodbye carried so much weight that it seems tragic that we know nothing else of her.
The tone, the characterization, and the honesty of this novel were spot on. You’ve struck gold when it plays out in the reader’s head like a movie. It was that vivid and gave just enough without being too much. It is a standalone that could easily become a series though the execution of the closing, the imagery, the emotion was so poignant it should be left alone.
I’ve just changed my mind, Abare, you get a 5/5. Write another novel and send it my way!
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