Title: Driftwood Tides by Gina Holmes
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Fiction
Length: 397 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
He made himself an island until something unexpected washed ashore.
When Holton lost his wife, Adele, in a freak accident, he shut himself off from the world, living a life of seclusion, making drifwood sculptures and drowning his pain in gin. Until twenty-three-year-old Libby knocks on his door, asking for a job and claiming to be a friend of his late wife. When he discovers Libby is actually his late wife’s illegitimate daughter, given up for adoption without his knowledge, his life is turned upside down as he struggles to accept that the wife he’d given saint status to was not the woman he thought he knew.
Together Holton and Libby form an unlikely bond as the two struggle to learn the identity of Libby’s father and the truth about Adele, themselves, and each other.
Driftwood Tides is a lovely novel of faith, forgiveness and redemption by Gina Holmes. This heartwarming story deals with serious topics such as grief, alcoholism and adoption but it is not dark or angst-ridden. Instead, it is a rather hopeful tale of new beginnings for the characters as they overcome their pasts and in doing so, they discover the promise of a brighter tomorrow.
Libby Slater is planning her wedding when she unexpectedly learns she is adopted. Her search for her birth mother takes her to her stepfather Holton Creary’s beach house where she is disappointed to discover her mother passed away a few years prior. Desperate for information about her mother and birth father, Libby becomes Holton’s intern but her search for answers is quickly complicated by Holton’s alcoholism and his financial difficulties. With the help of Holton’s assistant, Tess, Libby devises a plan to revive his faltering career but will Holton’s self-destructive behavior sabotage her efforts to help him?
Libby is relieved that her temporary position at Holton’s art studio frees her from her overbearing, controlling mother, and the distance provides her with a surprising perspective of their somewhat contentious relationship. Libby is undergoing a bit of an identity crisis as she works through her feelings of rejection resulting from her adoption and her uneasy relationship with her adopted mother. The move also has unintended consequences on her relationship with her fiancé, Rob, and their future becomes uncertain as a result of his fears and insecurities. She also re-evaluates her definition of family as she finds acceptance and friendship with Tess. But it is her relationship with Holton that is most confusing and for a good portion of the novel, his alcoholism is an impenetrable chasm that prevents Libby from getting the answers she is searching for.
Holton is mired in grief over his wife’s death and he has been drowning his sorrows since her death. He also feels an overwhelming sense of guilt that he is responsible for the accident that took her life. It is not until he enters treatment for his alcohol addiction that Holton begins to admit long suppressed and unacknowledged feelings that have impacted his spiritual relationship as well. Once Holton faces these unresolved issues, he is able to make an emotional connection with both Libby and Tess and his feelings of hopelessness and despair begin to disappear.
Tess is undeniably the character with the least problems but, for much of the story, it is difficult to understand her devotion to Holton. Once Holton’s drinking culminates in a crisis situation, some of these reasons become clear. These revelations provide Libby with a different viewpoint of alcoholism that helps her understand Holton’s addiction a little better. As Holton hits rock bottom, Tess and Libby’s tight bond is strengthened as they remain united in their efforts to aid him in his recovery.
Although Driftwood Tides is Christian fiction, the spiritual aspects are understated for much of the novel. Gina Holmes gradually and gently incorporates faith into the unfolding story and this makes it easy for the reader to understand how religious beliefs factor into the characters’ decisions.
A beautiful lesson in the faith, forgiveness and acceptance, Driftwood Tides is a powerful story that fans of contemporary Christian fiction are sure to enjoy.