Reviewed by Meg Massey
It is 1868 when the once wealthy and prominent Sinclair family moves from their plantation to Nags Head in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Beautiful 17-year-old Abigail Sinclair is struggling to adjust to life after the Civil War, and learning to cope with the loss of a beloved uncle who was like a father to her, unlike her distant and cold parents. Despite their change in fortune, Abigail is still expected to marry the boorish Hector Newman, who intends to follow in his father’s footsteps to become a physician.
Though she feels obligated to please her parents, she feels herself being drawn to local fisherman, Benjamin Whimble. To her surprise, her father asks her to teach the local man to read and write to fill her time. As she teaches Ben, she finds that he is teaching her as well, and she begins to recognize the hypocrisy of her parents’ (and her own) beliefs about slavery. But when Ben becomes wrapped up in a dangerous situation orchestrated by Abigail’s father, will it change their budding relationship forever?
Beautifully written, Diann Ducharme’s debut novel is one you won’t soon forget. Filled with rich and vivid imagery, I felt as if I was sitting on the beaches of the Outer Banks watching these scenes unfold. Set in post Civil War American, The Outer Banks House is a moving tale about life, love and freedom. You’ll fall in love with free-spirited Ben, and relate to the naive but intelligent Abigail. Despite all of the odds against them, you’ll find yourself rooting for this couple, hopeful that in the end, they’ll overcome the social expectations and obstacles that separate them to find a way to be together.
In Return to the Outer Banks House, we pick up seven years after the end of the first novel. While Ben and Abigail ended up together at the end of the first novel, their marriage has been anything but a fairy tale. Ben is working away from home while Abigail continues to teach. Aside from their physical separation, emotional hardships threaten their once strong relationship. And when Ben encounters Eliza again, will his relationship with Abigail be destroyed forever? Is love really enough to hold these two together?
Once again, Diann Ducharme makes readers believe that they are in the Outer Banks with her vivid descriptions of the beautiful North Carolina shoreline. The introduction of Eliza’s own narrative was an interesting addition to this novel and one that added depth to this story. The end of this novel may or may not surprise readers, but I will say that I expected it and was satisfied with the conclusion.
Meg lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Ryan. Library professional by day, freelance writer by night, Meg writes about life, entertainment and everything in between.
Review copy was provided by Kill Devil Publishing. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.