Book Thoughts: Kiss River


Kiss River – Diane Chamberlain – 2003 – Contemporary

Book Summary:

Your adopted child is in an orphanage. Only you can save her. But you need money, a lot of money, money you just don’t have.

Gina Higgins is on a desperate journey across the country. To save her daughter she must find the Kiss River lighthouse that holds the answers she so urgently needs. But the lighthouse has been destroyed and now her only hope is to uncover the secrets hidden within an old diary, a Second World War love story that has the power to change her life forever…

My thoughts: (Contains spoilers)

I didn’t really mind the story. Gina was quite a boring character though and I just couldn’t understand her motivation to find the lighthouse. The reason why was revealed too late, and the story was just a bit slow.

The book is told interjected with bits of the Second World War diary and my favourite character was probably Bess, even though I found her a bit annoying. I felt like her story at least had something plausible to it, and a reason for her character to react in certain ways given the situations she was in.

I didn’t really like when she got married though, she was 15 years old and maybe I just don’t understand the timeframe and the location of the story, but it felt a little bit like child abuse she was made to marry a much older man. I know many mothers at that time who were unmarried would be completely shunned but the end of her story was just weird. It made it even worse when you find out at the end of the story that there was no reason for her to go through with that. As a reader from outside the USA I’d have liked more focus on what this time in history was like in that country, it might have provided more context.

I also didn’t really like the way the way Gina’s story ended. Given all the build up to her rescuing Rani, for her then to just get with Clay who just so happens to have enough money to give up his job and go to Japan with a woman he just met – it was just very convoluted. I didn’t really care about the character’s problems all that much. It wasn’t so much that they weren’t believable, but I couldn’t seem to invest myself in the book. There was no development of Gina’s character throughout the book, she just seemed to be there to reveal a little of the secret at a time. I’d have liked a bit more “3-D-ness” to her characterisation, which is one of the reasons I normally love Diane Chamberlain’s books.

Also I usually really like the Diane Chamberlain book covers but this one made little sense. I know it’s supposed to be Rani, Gina’s daughter, but as she never makes it to Kiss River in the book I didn’t really understand it, and it just felt like it needed to fit in with all the other Harlequin edition covers, which all have children or teenagers on them.
I gave the book 3 stars on Goodreads. I wouldn’t really recommend this book as a starter to Chamberlain’s books, but it wasn’t awful. A lot of the time while reading this book my main thought was “meh. When will this be finished?”

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