Although Liza and her daughter Hannah will always be haunted by their past, they’re happy with their life in Silver Bay. Liza loves the hotel where she lives with her sister, the freedom of the sea, the acceptance of her community, and her lack of romantic entanglements. All of these things are threatened by the arrival of the handsome Mike Dormer. Mike arrives expecting to make a quick visit to start the process of building a resort and move on. Instead he finds himself deeply involved with the inhabitants of Silver Bay, leading him to question his commitment to his business-focused life.
Getting into this book took me a little while. This was partly because of the four different perspectives in the first four chapters and partly because some of these chapters began with info dumps about the history of Silver Bay. I was happy I persevered because a few more chapters made it clear that the different perspectives and details of Silver Bay made this a very rich story. I loved seeing different characters from several other characters’ perspectives. It made each character feel more real and well-rounded to see both how they thought and how others thought of them. I also enjoyed the backdrop Silver Bay created. Perhaps because I’m someone who loves nonfiction, some of my favorite fiction is that which depicts a way of life I’m unfamiliar with. Learning about living in a small, Australian community which made its money from whale-watching while I learned about the characters was a fascinating and enjoyable experience. This did involve a small amount of sad animal stories, but things resolved happily enough that it didn’t impact my overall enjoyment of the book.
As with a previous book I read by Jojo Moyes, The Girl You Left Behind, right and wrong are far from obvious. Getting so many different perspectives helped with that. I was recently bothered by the way When the Cypress Whispers tries to demonize the main character’s generally nice fiance, clearly setting us up for her to leave him for someone else. While the situation in this book is similar, with me rooting for a romance with someone other than the fiancee, the author doesn’t make it easy. We clearly see both the good and the bad of both the character and the fiancee, making us share the main character’s indecision. As with Moyes’ previous book, Silver Bay also does a great job making you empathize with every character and reveals the characters’ secrets slowly without ever manipulating the story in a weird way to avoid an earlier reveal. I wasn’t completely won over by the ending, which was revealed in such a way that one of the character’s hard work finding a solution felt like a fortuitous last-minute rescue, but overall this book gave me the intriguing, emotional ride I expected from a book by Jojo Moyes.This review first published on Doing Dewey.