The Inn at Ocean's Edge

Book Review:  The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Colleen Coble, Thomas Nelson, 2015

The Inn at Ocean’s Edge opens with Claire Dellamare driving into the Hotel Tourmaline to surprise her father who is there for an important business meeting.  She has no idea how successful the surprise is.  From the moment she enters the hotel she begins to unravel a decades-old mystery which offers plt twists few readers could ever guess.  There is also a romantic element as Claire meets local-boy Luke Rocco and the two are inexplicably drawn to each other.  The mystery in this quiet little town envelopes both the Rocco and Dellamare families.

Although I found the first few chapters gave a slow start, once I was drawn into the mystery, I could hardly put the book down.  As the layers of the mystery are peeled back, we learn about the hidden pasts of three families. 

There were a number of discrepancies that while they didn’t necessarily affect the overall plot, they kept distracting me.  Luke’s sister is first described with her hair up in a ponytail, then just a few pages later (and in the same scene) she rakes her hand through her “short hair, as thick straight and dark” as her brother’s.  In another instance, Kate explains that her grandparents live on the west coast and she’s only seen them twice in her life but later when she’s asked if she can pilot a boat she declares she’s been driving her grandpa’s since she was ten.  Again, the deputy discloses the identity of a body to Luke but warns him that the sheriff wants to tell him officially; when the sheriff arrives, Luke’s response – even the internal response that the reader is privy to – is of someone hearing news for the first time.

Colleen Coble is an accomplished writer and she skillfully develops her characters allowing her reader to feel like they know these people.  Yet in this book everything is described as pink granite.  By the time I’d finished this book, I felt like I never wanted to see a slab of that Pepto-Bismol-like rock.  The very character of Luke Rocco is questioned by Harry Dellamare; however, we never learn the reason for his dilike or perhaps distrust of Claire’s new friend.

The weaknesses of this writing surprised me both because of Mrs. Coble’s expertise and her publishing history as well as Thomas Nelson’s endorsement.  Balancing the discrepancies with the intriguing plot, I give The Inn at Ocean’s Edge three stars.

Thomas Nelson, publisher of The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, provided a copy for the purpose of review.