This is a story that doesn’t go the way you expect to go.
Amanda Whittier’s husband Jack is a Marine who dies in combat. Left with two young children, she’s devastated. Instead of going home to Ohio where her family lives, she moves to Whelk’s Island, off the North Carolina coast. She buys a small home near the beach, and she and the children are enjoying the summer before school starts for all three of them. Amanda will be teaching fourth grade.
They meet Maeve Lindsay, long-time island resident. Widowed and without children, Maeve occupies her time with collecting shells on the beach. Amanda and her children slowly become something like Maeve’s family, and if there is a primary narrative in The Shell Collector by Nancy Naigle, it’s how two women separated by more than 50 years, become close friends and the next-best-thing to family.
A secondary story line concerns Paul Grant, a former Marine who’s taken up residence on the island. He’s opened a dog training / boarding / day care business in a former strip mall, one with a special focus on helping veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. While they don’t run into each other until halfway through the story, Paul and Amanda have a history. He was Jack’s best friend, who promised Amanda he would always watch out for Jack. Amanda blamed Paul for Jack’s death.
The Shell Collector is and isn’t a romance. It is and isn’t a story solely about different generations caring and watching out for each other. It is a story about three people learning to heal, and helping each other do that.
Naigle is the author of a considerable number of books in the romance and romantic suspense genres. Several of her books have become made-for-television movies, and she wrote the novelizations for the first three Christmas in Evergreenmovies for the Hallmark Channel. She began writing while working as senior vice president for Bank of America. Now retired from the finance industry, she lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Shell Collector is a sweet story, one about people working through grief and hurt to learn how they get with their lives.
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