Silver Bay by JoJo Moyes

9780143126485_p0_v2_s192x300Although first published in 2006, Silver Bay only recently made it to American shores. I found it sitting on the “new adult fiction” shelf at my library and snatched it up. JoJo Moyes is among my favorite storytellers.

A small coastal town in Australia, reminiscent of those old beach towns before the developers moved in to modernize and attract hordes of tourists, provides the setting for this mix of romance and adventure.  The town survives through its tours of migrating whales, and its inhabitants have all lived there happily – until those developers discover it.

Kathleen, the 76 year old owner of the only hotel in town, has the deserved reputation of being the hard-crusted, soft-hearted matron.  Her niece, Liza, with her eleven year old daughter Hannah, have escaped from London to live with her.  Liza’s secret unravels as she connects with the young handsome Londoner who has come to town to secretly scout the possibilities for a new resort.

In addition to the romance, Moyes provides information on whales – not enough to rival Melville but adding an informative note to the narrative. The story evolved quickly and the book left me as satisfied as watching an old romantic movie on television.

Silver Bay is Moyes’ fourth novel, before The Last Letter from Your Lover (8th) and One Plus One (9th), her more popular books. Here’s a list with my reviews in red, if you’d like to look for more:

If You Want to See a Whale

9781596437319_p0_v2_s260x420A lesson in patience – and maybe meditation – Julie Fogliano’s children’s picture book If You Want To See A Whale has a calming quality and a reminder to stop and observe your surroundings – a message for adults as well as children.

With simple colorful illustrations, the story follows a little boy and his dog as they sit and stare at the ocean, waiting for a whale to appear.  With distractions everywhere, focusing on the task is not easy, but they succeed in the end.

I am currently reading Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being – another exercise in focus and patience.  Ozeki is a “writer, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest,” so I can’t help wondering if she injected lessons in patience and meditation into this slow read.  But I am staying on task, and hope to succeed.9780670026630_p0_v1_s260x420