Vintage Romance Publishing (2008)
Reviewed by for Reader Views (1/09)
This sequel to “Distant Shore” - “Billowing Sails” - is truly a book for any age. I was drawn into the charm of this book from page one and was unable to put it down. I picked it up one rainy morning and became engrossed in life on this tranquil island. The relationships between the characters will have you falling in love with some, cheering others on in life, and having the urge to turn one little spirited fellow your you knee.
Emma-Lee Palmer and her siblings’ lives were shattered one day in 1905 when their mother dies and their abusive father is jailed for her death. The family is divided with the boys heading to Atlanta to live with family and the girls trying to settle in with their mother’s sister, Aunt Augusta, on the lush untamed Merritt Island in Florida. Newlyweds Augusta and Captain Cornelius are making a home for the young girls when they are given charge of young Lyman Gumsby. Lyman, who insists others call him by the name of Coot, is none-too-happy to have to stay with his Uncle Cornelius while his mother is on bed rest awaiting the birth of his sibling. To say Coot is out-of-hand would be an understatement and he makes his presence on the island known to all.
Hiding by lowering himself into a huge pickle barrel filled to the brim with juicy pickles and then turning it over is Coots introduction to this blended family. Setting such a tone for his stay, Coot is involved in one zany antic after another.
This lovely book allows adults to look at the world through the eyes of a youngster and get a glimpse at their emotions when faced with trials in life and give understanding of their behaviors. We too often put so much effort into making sure the child’s physical needs are met we don’t see the emotional challenges they are facing. Emma-Lee and Coot are two totally different children who react differently to being placed with unfamiliar adults. Thru love, trials and sought-after understanding “Papa God” shows peace and hope.
When asked by Emma-Lee if she would ever see him again, dying Pap gave her this reason: “The reason I know, darlin’, is the difference between faith and trust. After the Almighty saved me meager life in the shipwreck as a young man, I turned me life over to Him. As I saw His fingerprints on me life, faith began to grow. But there comes a time in every believer’s life when he has to make a decision. A decision whether or not to get in the wheelbarrow.” Wow, does that now blow you mind. One short paragraph just explains it all.
“Billowing Sails” by Debora M. Coty is wonderful, just wonderful. I am planning on tucking my copy into my bag and reading it aloud by a campfire on the beach with my family on a trip to the island of Ocracoke this summer. I will also be grabbing a copy of “”Distant Shore” beforehand and taking it along on the trip as well. Debora M. Coty has given a true gift through this writing. She has woven a beautiful work of fiction with life lessons we all need to have imprinted on our hearts.