This Chick Read: Two If By Sea by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Two If By Sea is more than a tragic tale of a man who survives tragedy, only to find love again.  It’s about an honorable man, ex cop, Frank Mercy, who, after saving a young boys life, illegally takes him back to his home in the United States.
It’s about the bond he develops with this young boy, a bond that becomes stronger after discovering that Ian is different.  Ian can influence others behavior, and that power may have ungodly potential, if the wrong people were to take charge of him.  This is a tale of  a father’s love for his son and vice versa, and that is what is so compelling to me.  That love is unquestioning even though everything about Ian is a big question mark.

This synopsis was taken directly from the author’s website

Just hours after his wife and her entire family perish in the Christmas Eve tsunami in Brisbane, American expat and former police officer Frank Mercy goes out to join his volunteer rescue unit and pulls a little boy from a submerged car, saving the child’s life with only seconds to spare. In that moment, Frank’s own life is transformed. Not quite knowing why, Frank sidesteps the law, when, instead of turning Ian over to the Red Cross, he takes the boy home to the Midwestern farm where he grew up. Not long into their journey, Frank begins to believe that Ian has an extraordinary, impossible telepathic gift; but his only wish is to protect the deeply frightened child. As Frank struggles to start over, training horses as his father and grandfather did before him, he meets Claudia, a champion equestrian and someone with whom he can share his life—and his fears for Ian. Both of them know that it will be impossible to keep Ian’s gift a secret forever. Already, ominous coincidences have put Frank’s police instincts on high alert, as strangers trespass the quiet life at the family farm.

The fight to keep Ian safe from a sinister group who want him back takes readers from the ravaged shores of Brisbane to the middle of America to a quaint English village. Even as Frank and Claudia dare to hope for new love, it becomes clear that they can never let Ian go, no matter what the cost. A suspenseful novel on a grand scale, Two If by Sea is about the best and worst in people, and the possibility of heroism and even magic in ordinary life.

The tension in this story doesn’t ever settle.  Partly because the reader, as a witness to Frank’s kidnapping (essentially) of Ian, becomes a partner in that crime.  We witness how he extradites their removal to the United States, but don’t fully understand why he made this unlikely decision until we are on the plane with Frank and Ian, and see Ian’s first miracle.  At that moment we, the reader, become Frank’s partner in crime.  This child must be kept safe.  While Frank remains obtuse about the danger following them, the reader is looking over his shoulder, wanting to nudge him into acknowledging it faster.  This was a great way for the author to amp the tension, while still telling a loving story.  Ian, as he gains confidence in his safety, also becomes more precocious and funny, which draws the reader even deeper into caring about his well being.

The mystical, magical nature of this story was well told.  I felt each characters amazement, disbelief and acceptance.  Claudia, Frank’s love interest, had the most difficult job of building a relationship with the reader.  I had felt Frank’s devastation after the loss of his wife and son in the tsunami and found it hard to let go of his previous life, making Claudia work a little harder to find a place in my head and heart.  It was only after Colin, Ian’s brother entered the story that I saw that her calm rationalizing, and strength were needed to create that family unit.  That she and Frank together we’re what the boys needed.  For me, their romance was secondary, but I fell in love with those boys.  Other readers may feel differently, and if you do, let me know who turned out to be your favorite character.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher,  Simon and Schuster, through NetGalley for my honest and unbiased review.  This book will be released on March 15, 2016.

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Copyright 2016 Deborah Kehoe A Chick Who Reads All Rights Reserved

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