Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Jojo Moyes - Silver Bay

When Mike Dormer heads out from London to a small seaside town in Australia to kick-start a hotel development, he expects just another deal. But Silver Bay is not just any seaside town, and the inhabitants of the eccentric ramshackle Silver Bay Hotel - the enigmatic skipper Liza McCullen, her ten-year-old daughter, and her legendary shark-catching aunt Kathleen, as well as the crews of the local whale-watching boats - swiftly begin to temper his own shark-like tendencies. He is left wondering who really has the greater right to the bay's waters. 
As the development begins to take on a momentum of its own, and the effect on the whales that migrate past the bay begins to reveal itself, Mike's and Liza's worlds collide, with dramatic results. New, unforeseen hazards emerge to confront both the creatures and the McCullen women. How close can you get, before you end up destroying what you love? 

Comment: I purchased this book in the beginning of the year in Portuguese. I've heard about it since I read and liked Me Before You by the author too. This book has a very different theme and it had been in my radar for a while so when I saw the paperback edition, I got it right away.
I leave the Portuguese cover and one of the UK ones, so pretty.

In this story we meet Mike Dormer, he works fr a big company in London that is about to close a deal to build a new hotel and the location chosen is Silver Bay, Australia. Mike travels there to investigate the place, how the locals would welcome the new hotel and the environmental impact. He didn't think he would see his life change.
Liza McCullen is a woman with secrets and she hides away her shame and fears in work and in overprotecting her young daughter. Liza only thinks of work and safety and her personal time isn't dedicated to many people. 
But Mike brings change and possibilities and not even Liza could imagine how much that would touch her too.

Overall, this is a great story. We have secrets, lives changing, an idyllic place and interesting characters we get to know because there are several POVs in this book and the protagonists aren't the only ones "telling" the story. 
The end is happy, cute, hopeful for anyone who dreams of something good and unexpected (maybe...) happening to them. The story delivers all the ingredients to be successful. I liked it and despite not being as heartbreaking emotional as the other book I've read by her, it has its moments. Still, I admit that the writing seemed slightly less polished, not as seductive and that influenced my final appreciation of it.

I wonder at my reaction about it because I read it in Portuguese. It shouldn't affect me and it's not a "bad" translation, but I have the feeling when I read in English things sound better. But this doesn't happen always when I read in Portuguese so I wonder, is it me, is it the book, is it that translation? Something interesting to think about...

Anyway, back to the story. Like I said, I liked it and it was very interesting to read about Australia, and those seemingly amazing places with beaches and boats and dolphins and whales and people who live in such a place, even if with hard times. Authors really can make you travel and I did like the image that popped my head while I was reading.

But. Yes, but.
There are a couple things I really think were key to not make this a perfect read for me.
Apart from my global feelings about how the story is told, there are two things that really decreased what could be a higher opinion about the book.
One thing pertains the hero, Mike. He's driven and has an apparent successful life, he's working at a place that challenges him, he has a fiancé and a great house. But now that his marriage is close, he's been feeling something's wrong. Traveling to Australia saves his life and his happiness but there's something about him that really irritated me because it's something I hate seeing in romances. Sure it can be realistic but it's sad and unfair. It happened before he travels and he is regrets it but it happened. It did influence my opinion of him a bit...

The other thing was more of a annoyance. This is a romance. The relationship between Mike and Liza doesn't happen fast and it's not the central point in the book but it's there. I liked they reached their HEA but from the point of physical attraction to HEA I didn't feel there were many reasons why they had to be together. They barely talked and when they did share intimate thoughts and wishes I wasn't convinced of their commitment to each other, plot devices apart.
I think there was a bit too much of inference and guessing and subtleness to make me, the reader, convinced they were a good couple.
Much has to do with Liza's secrets and choices, but still...not perfect.

In the end, like I said, I'm glad there was a HEA but some things didn't make this as unforgettable as the other one in the long term.
I'm curious about other titles by ms Moyes and will try them one day.
Grade: 7/10

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