"SEA SWEPT "
Copyright ~ 2013 ~ BONNIE NELSON
~ Green Valley, AZ
The original acrylic painting created especially for the cover of IN MY FATHER'S SHADOW
Anne Conrad grows
up spending summers on the coast of Maine at "Sea Swept," the Conrad family cottage. Returning each year, her first
thoughts are of Harry, who is part playmate, part grand-father and part confidant.
Harry Jensen is the kind of man everyone wants to
know and those that do, know they are fortunate. Harry and his wife Esther, content on the Cushing peninsula in mid coast
Maine and well into their forties, have accepted there will be no children until Esther's surprise pregnancy promises a special
miracle. Complications begin early in the pregnancy and then escalate and eventually take Esther's life. Harry is shattered
with grief. Michael and Lucinda Conrad, his summer neighbors and lifelong friends, and the peninsula "family," rally
with care and concern for Harry.
When Michael and Lucinda are killed in a plane crash, Anne struggles with her own grief and her return
to Boston after a memorial service spirals into a fog of questions and uncertainty. Relationships are strained when Anne challenges
their sincerity. Returning to her roots on the coast of Maine, Anne finds in Harry the anchor that moors her and provides
a foundation on which she can rebuild. "Sea Swept" and Harry are the final destination in Anne's journey.
On an early October
Friday, wind from the coast slaps rain against the house cascading it down over the windows. Anne is in her father's study
and stumbles through a series of chance discoveries that leave her bewildered, and hurt. When she reconnects with Erik Billings,
a summer friend from years past, he provides a sensitive sounding board as Anne wrestles with haunting questions. With Maine's
coast as a back drop, waves of uncertainty and pain are reduced to small swells. At "Sea Swept," and with Erik,
Anne revisits the growing years that shaped her identity; redefining her priorities she recognizes how a place and its people
frame who a person becomes. Absorbed into the character and charm of coastal Maine, she embraces the peninsula community that
gathered around Harry when he needed them most. Anne confronts the fine line that exists between holding on and letting go.
A sense of place and a love for it validates, for Anne, that the most incredible journey of discovery is the one that brings
Early Reader Comments
"I finished your novel a few moments ago. It is remarkable . .
. beautiful . . . wonderfully written . . . and in its own way emotionally draining. I kept a pad of paper and a pen beside
me all the time I was reading but was so engrossed I wrote down very little."
"Your novel really grabbed me - I had a hard time setting it down and didn't very
often. I loved the pace - very descriptive but stopped short of being too much. I found it quite moving - brought me to tears
more than once. I dont know if 'sentimental' is the right word, but it wasn't sappy. It brought many of my emotions to the
surface and left me with a cleansed feeling. I guess it is fair to say I really enjoyed it."
Daniel , WY and Green Valley, AZ