The Water is Wide by Natalie Banks
Natalie reached out to me a few weeks ago and asked if I would read and review her book, and I was thrilled for the chance to do it! We've gotten to know each other a bit on social media, and she is such a lovely, kind, supportive person, and I am so happy to be given this chance to share in her joy of becoming an author.
The Water is Wide is a great story, following the life of Sarah, who married her college sweetheart, Thomas. They had two boys and bought their dream home, but all was not smooth sailing, as it seemed. Thomas had made a large risky investment with his and other people's money, and it failed. Instead of telling Sarah, he took her on a vacation to Mexico, where they had always dreamed of going, and the final morning of their trip, he disappeared after going for a swim in the ocean, where he was declared dead- lost at sea. Sarah spent the next 14 years heartbroken, suffering through her daily life. Thomas had a large life insurance policy, so Sarah didn't want for money, but she did want for her husband, companion, and best friend, and struggled to manage her heartache as she raised her two boys alone.
One day, Sarah was doing some shopping downtown when she thinks she sees Thomas across the street. She has been through this before, especially when her loss was fresh, but as she gets closer to the man, he bears an uncanny resemblance to her Thomas. He insists he is not Thomas, but is Collin Young, a new realtor in town. After another chance encounter, he asks her on a date, and she agrees. She spends the next few months getting to know him and falling in love with him, but terribly tangled up inside about whether she is in love with Collin or with the way that he reminds her of Thomas.
Collin proposes, and Sarah pulls away. She loves him, but isn't sure she's ready to move on from Thomas yet. Collin is hurt and agrees to give her some time to think it over. During the time thinking it over, however, Sarah learns that Thomas upped his life insurance suspiciously just before their trip, and pulling his old laptop out of a box in the attic, she finds searches about how to disappear, suicide by drowning, and rip tides in his internet search history. As she's trying to process this, her son Adam is in a terrible car accident. Although he survives, he is in a coma for six weeks, then requires additional help and therapy for weeks after that. Sarah simply can't address how she feels about Collin during Adam's recovery and until she gets to the bottom of what Thomas was up to. When Adam is finally recovered, Sarah has learned that life is short and happiness can be snatched away at any time. She agrees to Collin's proposal, and they prepare to begin their life together. It is then that Collin reveals his secret to Sarah about how he disappeared in Mexico to save her life from the men threatening to kill him and his family for losing their money through poor investing. Sarah can never tell anyone, but Collin is actually Thomas returned to her. It's a beautiful ending.
Natalie tells an intriguing story, and does a great job at conveying Sarah's heartache, her resiliency, her angst, her pining, her waffling, and her joy. She writes emotion very well, and you feel as if you are in Sarah's shoes. As a beginning author, Natalie is still growing in her writing style, and with the ability to craft such an intriguing story, I look forward to reading more of what she comes up with. Thank you Natalie for sharing your lovely work with me- it was a delight to read!