Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mariner's Compass by Earlene Fowler

Title: Mariner’s Compass
Author:
Earlene Fowler
# pages:
322
Date published:
1999
Genre:
mystery
Challenge(s):
Spring Reading Thing 2008, The Book Awards Reading Challenge (1999 Agatha Award for Best Novel)

Rating: Excellent




Setting: Morro Bay, California

First Sentence:

“When I look back now, these long years later, when age has taught me that the word family is much more complex than I ever imagined, what happened to me all seems so magnified, dramatic in that way things can only be when you’re young and your blood flows hot and fast, and tears seem to coat the world, blurring it like dime-store eyeglasses.”

Synopsis: Benni Harper is an heiress. Jacob Chandler has left her all his worldly possessions. The only problem is, Benni has never heard of Jacob Chandler. In order to claim her inheritance, however, Benni must stay in this stranger’s house for two weeks—alone. Not everyone in Morro Bay is happy about the situation, least of all Benni or her newly-wedded, protective husband, Gabe.

While living in Jacob Chandler’s house, with his (and now her) dog, Scout, Benni must figure out why this man has a picture of her in his wallet, a scrap book following her career, 1st marriage, and the death of her first husband, and a wood carving of her childhood horse. Was he obsessed with her? Was he stalking her? She has two weeks to follow Chandler’s scavenger-hunt-like clues to discover who this man was and how he is connected to her.

Favorite quotes:

“I thought at the time that my heart would break. I know now that human hearts don’t break, they either stretch or turn to stone. I’ve learned it is not the afters themselves but how we handle them that shapes us, that decides our happiness. I discovered that we all hold the key to joy in our own free will.” (p. 2)

“…our losses form a big part of who we are, soften us or harden us, depending on how we take them…” (p. 318)

Random Thoughts: Earlene Fowler tells the stories behind the places (including pictures) that inspired her as she wrote Mariner’s Compass at: http://www.earlenefowler.com/MC.html.

Mariner’s Compass is the 6th book in the Benni Harper series. The other books, in order of publication, are:

Fool's Puzzle

Irish Chain

Kansas Troubles

Goose in the Pond

Dove in the Window

Mariner's Compass

Seven Sisters

Arkansas Traveler

Steps to the Altar

Sunshine and Shadow

Broken Dishes

Delectable Mountains

Tumbling Blocks

If you click on the links, it will take you to Fowler’s web site where she tells the story behind each of the books.

5 comments:

Melanie said...

I love Earlene Fowler. This series is wonderful and so quotable, isn't it?

Kristi said...

It really is. I don't usually read series books out of order, but I made an exception in this case because I liked the storyline and it won an Agatha (and I needed it for my Book Awards Challenge). But I enjoyed this one so much, I'm going to go back to the series beginning and read the others!

Joy said...

I've never read any Fowler. Thanks for the encouraging review. I'm putting him on my TBR list! :)

Joy said...

Oops! "her" not "him"

Jennifer The Forgetful Faerie Queen said...

Hey!! I grew up in the village of Cambria which is like 15-20 more miles n.up Hwy 1. When I was a kid we used to have to go to the nearest grocery store which was in Morro Bay. We would have to shop for a month at a time and freeze things. Morro Rock has always been a huge landmark for me. You can see it when crossing over on hwy 46. On clear non overcast/foggy days it was breathe taking. My brother still lives in Cambria. I ended up moving more south closer to Santa Barbara. Now this past year I find myself in the NW suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. *sighs It's tramatizing really!