Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gina Holmes's Crossing Oceans ~ Reviewed

Crossing Oceans
By Gina Holmes
Published by Tyndale
ISBN# 978-1-4143-3305-3
280 Pages

Back Cover:

Sometimes love demands the impossible

Nothing deepens a stream like a good rain . . . or makes it harder to cross. Jenny Lucas swore she’d never go home again. But life has a way of upending even the best-laid plans. Now, years after she left, she and her five-year-old daughter must return to her sleepy North Carolina town to face the ghosts she left behind. They welcome her in the form of her oxygen tank-toting grandmother, her stoic and distant father, and David, Isabella’s dad . . . who doesn’t yet know he has a daughter.

As Jenny navigates the rough and unknown waters of her new reality, the unforgettable story that unfolds is a testament to the power of love to change everything—to heal old hurts, to bring new beginnings . . . even to overcome the impossible.


Time! There never seems to be enough time to do the things that matter! Knowing you only had months to live, what would you do? (Thanks to the publisher for the review copy of Crossing Oceans.) I have to be honest I didn’t think I could read this book because I had lost my dad to cancer a short time ago. But Gina Holmes pens a brilliant story of love and sacrifice. It’s one I won't soon forget!

Gina Holmes’s story reminds me of A Walk to Remember and The Notebook both written by Nicholas Sparks. This author has an amazing gift to masterfully blend together a memorable story filled with a special tenderness, hope, love, forgiveness, mixed with a sense of well-timed humor, throughout her book, that touched my heart deeply. It ignited warm feelings of love and hope inside I can’t explain.

Isabella’s mom, Jenny is sick. Jenny is on a mission to go to North Carolina, to make peace with her family and her past. She knows what it’s like to lose a mom at a young age. She was going to do everything in her power to make this journey easier for her daughter.

Five-year-old Isabella is the common denominator between two families not fond of each other. She looks to her mom, Jenny, for an understanding of the change taking place in her world. Jenny reaches out to God for the strength to do the impossible. I could only hope God would give me the strength to be like Jenny when my time is near.

I anxiously turned the pages of Crossing Oceans, as I read of Jenny’s last days and remembered my dad’s. As I finished the last page, healing tears slid down my cheeks and a knot formed in my throat; forever touched in my heart, mind and emotions by the words I had read.

This author gave me a peak into how it might be to have my heavenly daddy and my earthly daddy waiting for me when it’s my time to run into their loving arms! Home at last! God prepares us for this passage if we let him. Gina gave me a glimpse into a young woman’s crossing to the life after—a journey all of us must take.

Gina Holmes, this book is a gift to me and I suspect it will be for many others. I had no idea you could write like this. I’m excited at what God can do through your obedience to Him, your writing and this book. I’ll be waiting in line to read your next book for sure! Yes, there will be a line :D

Reviewed by: Nora St Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator

Bonus Review:

I am always hesitant to review a book written by a friend. Can you imagine how much more apprehensive I was reading the debut novel from not only a friend but a critique partner? A critique partner lives to rip and shred work to point out what's wrong and what needs to be changed to make the work readable.

Though I've critiqued Gina Holmes for years, I had just glimpses into Crossing Oceans and I knew it was a very different style from her previous suspense novels. Her suspense is strong. But how well would her voice translate to women's fiction?

Once I opened her book and began to read I can say that her voice translates with a poignant grace that is rare in a debut novelist. And Crossing Oceans is a story that Holmes was meant to tell.

Holmes tackles a heavy story line with a touch of whimsy and deep, deep melancholy, sometimes in the same paragraph. A young mother, emotionally orphaned when her mother died and father cocooned himself in a cloak of angry grief, finds herself forced to return to the home she had escaped. Jenny has Stage IV metastatic cancer and must reunite with the family she fled for the sake of her little girl's very near future need. With less than a year to repair and restore relationships Jenny tackles the past and the future, the present and the pain, all while attempting to give her daughter, Isabella, memories and love and what life she has available to give.

This is a novel that quickly overcame the author and my relationship with her. The story told itself in a realistic and three-dimensional tale of life and death, sorrow and fear, choices and consequences, pain and beauty, loss and hope. Holmes voice is similar to some of my favorite authors in the Christian fiction genre, Siri Mitchell, Charles Martin, Susan Meissner, Claudia Mair Burney, Lisa Samson and Bonnie Groves.

Crossing Oceans is not an easy read. It is haunting and beautiful and raw. Expect to cry and expect to remember this family long after you turn the last page.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

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