- Sea Change. Karen White. Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated. 2012. 416 pp. paperback, ISBN #: 9780451236760.
Ava Whalen has been looking for something for a very long time. What she wants and needs is far beyond her understanding. After a very quick meeting and romance, she marries Matthew Frazier. Off they go to a happy life forevermore in St. Simon's Island in Georgia, U.S.A., right? Wrong! There's a haunting, palpable tension present from the moment Ava sets foot in Matthew's home. Soon she discovers that Matthew was married before and that his wife died in a car accident that not everyone thinks was accidental!
The island is also strange for Ava as she is deathly afraid of water and doesn't know why. She's determined to conquer her fears, however, and begins to settle in her new home. Her relationship with Matthew is fraught with tension as his late wife Adrienne's paintings and items fill their home, creating a haunted atmosphere. When Ava meets Adrienne's brother John, he tells her he believes that Matthew caused her death. Although there is no factual evidence, things Adrienne did and said before she died indicated to John that Matthew knows more than he is admitting! The finding of a ring, the absence of a briefcase, and other odd occurrences spoil what should have been a very special time for the newlyweds.
After Ava becomes pregnant and falls, an x-ray reveals a horrific finding for which Ava has no explanation. Finally agreeing to Matthew's suggestion of hypnosis, as he's a psychologist, they discover bits of a truth that seems to relate to Ava's past, far before she could ever have a memory. The plot becomes even more riveting and tense with the addition of a parallel plot occurring between two couples in the 1800s and culminating in the War with the British. What does it have to do with Ava and the Frazier family? Is Ava losing her mind and why do her mother and grandmother show up at this specific time to visit?
Karen White's writing is improving with dramatic leaps and bounds in this latest novel. She's created a multilevel mystery that glues the reader to the book, with just enough clues to tantalize but so carefully crafted that no one can guess what will eventually enfold. Sea Change is a wonderful, must read for the summer or anytime written by a master of suspense and intrigue! A best seller for sure!