A Silent Ocean Away: Colette's Dominion
HarperCollins, 2008 (2008)
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Reviewed by Joan Burton
t is the Fall of 1836 and Charmaine Ryan is leaving her past and Richmond, Virginia behind. She is seeking a happier life. She grew up in poverty with a hard working mother, and a father who was the town drunk. Charmaine worked as a live in companion to the older, well to do Harringtons. She did not want to leave her mother alone with her father but they needed the money she contributed to the family. One night, after a brutal beating, Charmaine's mother failed to respond.
ow her dear mother is dead and her father is in jail. The ship is sailing to the Caribbean where Charmaine hopes to obtain the position of nanny for the wealthy Duvoisin family. Arriving on the island, Charmaine is welcomed by warm ocean breezes and a lush landscape. She will miss the Harringtons, but she has them to thank for this new opportunity. After being interviewed by Colette Duvoisin, Charmaine begins her job as nanny to twin eight-year-old girls and a three-year-old boy. Colette and Charmaine immediately make a connection and Colette is happy her children will be well cared for.
olette's husband Frederic Duvoisin is a wealthy shipping tycoon who rules the island. After living in the house for weeks, Charmaine has yet to meet Frederic, and feels something is not right in the household. Also in the family is Frederic's handsome bastard son Paul, who works in the family shipping business. Charmaine has been warned by Colette to stay away from this seducer, who will only break her heart, but she is drawn to him and his magnetic smile. Agatha Ward is Frederic's sister-in-law from his previous marriage. She does not approve of Colette and schemes to take over the household and eventually Frederic's bed. Another son, John, returns to the island causing turmoil in the family and fights with Paul over their positions in the hierarchy.
s Charmaine settles in to care for the children she feels tension in the household. She tries to navigate her way through this dysfunctional family and learns secrets from the past that threaten the family's structure. When Colette becomes ill and reveals some truths, Charmaine takes a position to stand with Colette, but in the end wonders if she has made the right decision.
A Silent Ocean Away
is a family saga combining romance, intrigue, and suspense. I am looking forward to the 2009 sequel.
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