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The Whiskey Sea

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  12,329 ratings  ·  719 reviews
Running rum during Prohibition, she’ll risk her life—and her heart.

Motherless and destitute, Frieda Hope is determined to make a better life for herself and her sister, Bea. The girls are taken in by a kindly fisherman named Silver, and Frieda begins to feel at home on the water. When Silver sells his fishing boat to WWI veteran Sam Hicks, thinking Sam would be a fine husb
Audio CD
Published August 23rd 2016 by Brilliance Audio
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Dolores Robles To me her motivation was most of all her sister. She wanted to have the money to provide her sister with a college education and a better life than…moreTo me her motivation was most of all her sister. She wanted to have the money to provide her sister with a college education and a better life than what they had. As we read toward the end of the story, when her sister makes different decisions, so does Frieda.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Kate Turner Never clear. I think the author leaves that up to the reader. I could see a sequal to this book.

Community Reviews

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3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,329 ratings  ·  719 reviews

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Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was one of those books I did not expect to enjoy nearly as much as I actually *did*--always a very cool thing!
This novel drew me in from the beginning, and hooked me like a fish (albeit a happily willing one) caught in a net until the end.
The audio version was narrated and produced in great fashion, which added a significantly higher rating from me personally. However, I do think I would have probably highly enjoyed the print version if I had been able to read it that way instead.
I do not
Fred Shaw
Aug 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful story about 2 young girls, one a toddler, living in a fishing village near NYC during prohibition. Orphaned by the death of their prostitute mother, a local fisherman took them in and raised them. Rather than tell you what happened, I will tell you what the story said to me: regardless of your station in life, whether you have everything you want or just what you need, you can find happiness and love right in front of you. It's painful to want what you can't or don't have, bu ...more
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: literary-fiction
I gave this book 3 stars because of the writing style and poetic descriptions- the love of the sea and boats (I am in the boating business) and because the authors knowledge of boating and marine engines and the "local" terminology and vocab. BUT here is the downside: at first the lead character was a strong willed female who was stubborn, had dreams and was thinking outside the box about career choices. I respected her. but as the story trailed on..and on..and on.. that character became a whini ...more
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Started reading this book to fulfill a challenge. (A book set at sea). Wasn't expecting to love it so much. It caught my attention right away by mentioning that the mother was a whore. My curiosity was peeked and I couldn't let it go until I was done reading it. I love books that make me feel and this book had so much going on. At times I felt hopeful along with the characters, at other times I was sad. I loved that this book takes you on a magical ride you don't want to get off of. Highly recom ...more
Entitled bitchy special snowflake alert! I'll be honest, I picked this book up because I loved the title and the cover. The premise looked intriguing, too. Alas...

We meet Frida when she loses her mother, the town whore who serviced sailors. She and her sister get taken in by a guy who had mercy on them. He's not the father of either of girls, but he gives up his only bed, moving to the settee in the living room for the next fourteen years, gives up all his scarce funds to give them a home and an
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It is a special thrill as a reader when you are only a few chapters into a book and you know it will be one of your favorite reads of the year. The Whiskey Sea is one of those special books for me.

The book begins with a mysterious image of a woman who is in the water and fears drowning. Then the story moves to 1908, when two young girls are orphaned after the sudden death of their mother. They are taken in by a kindly fisherman, and settle into life in a fishing community in New Jersey.

The firs
Joy D
Coming of age historical fiction about rum-running during the Prohibition era in the northeastern United States. When we first meet protagonist Frieda, her mother has died, and she and her sister are taken in by a kindly fisherman. She grows into a young woman determined to build an independent life for herself and take care of her family. She learns to fix engines and challenges the conventional role of women of the day. She is wary of men due to her mother’s past and finds herself in unfamilia ...more
Jun 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge
An orphan daughter of the town prostitute, Frieda Hope grew up with a thick skin. Needing to make money to support her sister and adoptive father, Frieda takes a job on a rum-running boat. It's good money, but dangerous. There she meets Charles, a blueblood just looking for a little summer fun. His good looks and charm slowly penetrate the tough walls she has in place around her heart. As the danger of the job escalates, so does the insecurity of Frieda's heart.

I listened to the audio version an
Karen Kay
I received ARC from

Set during the prohibition era, Frieda and Bea are left orphaned at an early age. Their fathers are unknown and their mother is the town whore. Silver, a kindly fisherman, takes them in and cares for them. As an adult, Frieda goes rum running in an effort to earn money and put Bea through college.
I liked the story, showing Frieda able to do what it takes to take care of her family.

A solid 3 stars out of 5.

Giveaway! During the month of August I will be giving away a copy of this historical novel, about plucky sisters who are determined not to let their deceased mother's reputation prevent them from following their dreams. It is set in (of all places) New Jersey! Please visit my blog to enter:
I read this book to try a new author. According to reader reviews on Amazon, this author writes very unique historical fiction. I enjoyed the story and the writing style. The characters could have been real people. The emotions were real-to-life. I will seek out this author again in the future.
Cindy Roesel
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“Could love reawaken an almost-dead man and save two young lives? He wanted that now as he’d never wanted anything before.” THE WHISKEY SEA

Time: 1920’s Prohibition in the black waters off New Jersey’s Sandy Hook peninsula:

In THE WHISKEY SEA (Lake Union Publishing) by Ann Howard Creel, Frieda’s five and her baby sister, Beatrice, or Bea as they called her, is nearly a year-old when their mother, Della Hope, the town whore dies. Everybody knew of Della and most of the men had relations with her,
Aug 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never read a book by Ann Howard Creel, but The Magic of Ordinary Days, the movie based on her book of the same title, is my all time favorite Hallmark movie. I don't want to get too "spoilery" here, but this book, in the sense of relationship dynamics, plays out a lot like TMoOD. The setting was completely different and the time period predates WWII, but it was a pretty good story. I loved that it involved the sea, boats, and Prohibition. That said, Creel isn't one for eewy, gooey romance a ...more
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Ugh, this had potential to be a good story. The idea of rum running and prohibition is very interesting, but oh my god, the writing. I am a believer in "show, don't tell" storytelling and all of the EXPLAINING (so. much. explaining.) nearly drove me off a cliff.
I think that it was the rum-running aspect of the story that saved this book from being a completely formulaic book, but even with those fun 20s touches, the author was unable to prevent a bit of a shipwreck.

Summary complete with SPOILERS


Outcast girl is raised by kind fatherly man who is no relation. However, when she graduates he suddenly sells the boat she thought would become hers to a man called Hicks. It turns out this is to get the money to send her to secretarial school and beca
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Whiskey Sea isn't a romance, but it is a story about a young woman discovering what love really is. It's Frieda's story, a young woman who seems to be at war with life from even before the time she is orphaned when her mother, who had been making a living by selling herself, dies because of her lifestyle. Frieda is tough, used to guarding herself against the cruelty of her classmates & the rest of society, and fiercely determined that her angelic little sister Bea will have all the best ...more
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

The Whiskey Sea marks my first experience with author Ann Howard Creel. The premise captured my attention as I’ve not read a lot of Prohibition era literature and saw a degree of promise in the idea of a woman engaging in the transport illegal liquor.

Generally speaking, I feel that Creel capitalized on a lot of that promise. Frieda Hope is a thought-provoking protagonist and I liked the authenticity shown in her relationship
Vicki Righettini
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Whiskey Sea is a fantastic read. Creel plunges you into the world of the 1920s Prohibition era, and the lives of the fishermen turned rum runners: the have-nots who risk their lives to earn a better life for their families, just so the rich can have their nightly cocktails. The protagonist, Frieda Hope, is a scrappy, independent young woman who has had responsibilities shoved on her at way too young an age. Watching her grow as she navigates this tough, hard-scrabble world and ultimately lea ...more
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was our book club pick for April; we wanted to choose a historical fiction title. Unfortunately I did not enjoy this book. It started out OK with a pretty good headstrong character in an interesting situation. But the focus shifted from the story of a young woman trying to make her fortune bootlegging, to a predictable romance. I was disappointed that the main character changed so much from the tough independent woman that she was to a simpering and naive girl who let a man treat her badly. ...more
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book.

This is the second book I read from Ann Howard Creel this year, and I loved both books giving them both five stars ( the other book was While You Were Mine) which was excellent IMO as well.

The book was fast paced and exciting. There was romance that wasn't all cheesy and cute; it was kind of a sad romance, but fun to read.

Also the author gives readers an Education on prohibition era, rum runners, and coastal fishing life in the 1920's.

I highly recommend this book
Apr 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club-books
I liked it but it wasn't quite what I thought it would be. I thought there would be more about prohibition and rum running but the historical context took a back seat to Freida and her internal conflict. It was more the story of a young woman struggling with adult responsibilities and trying to find both herself and her place in the world. I was a little disappointed because I wanted the rum running to be a bigger part of the story.
Lady Blue
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful story that makes you ask yourself,"What would I have done?" I loved every minute of Frieda's journey. This is more than a love story, but the love element did move me. I also appreciated the historical accuracy and the illumination of life in seashore towns during Prohibition. Highly recommended.
 Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ Jenn Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ
This was a coming of age romance with a sprinkling of the prohibition era and life among the rum-runners. I enjoyed the segments on what I learned about the rum-runners and will look for non-fiction works on the subject. 3 stars.
Sourav Chandidas Ganguly
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Running rum during Prohibition, she’ll risk her life—and her heart.
Aug 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
Meh....pretty standard historical fiction. Nuff said.
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
"The Whiskey Sea" had my attention from the first few words. This was a story of true love shown in many forms. I wasn't aware of the rum runners of the 1920's. What a scary adventure! Good book
Linda Zagon
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading "The Whiskey Sea" by Ann Howard Crest. The author's historical perspective of Prohibition was intriguing. This was a time of "rum runners", and transporting illegal liquor. The setting takes place by the sea, where clammers and fishermen and their families live and work. Freida and her sister Bea,(who were orphaned) live with "Silver,
a generous soul who has brought them up,as he clams and works on his boat. His wishes are for them to get an education, and skills to work during
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This captivating story takes place during the Prohibition and although it emits a chick lit undercurrent, there is plenty of action to be found. Think of damp costal shores, clamming, rum-running, speakeasies and the dangers of navigating inky waters to escape the Coast Guard.

The pages are brimming with vivid descriptions and overall the characters are complex and well developed.

An absorbing read fully worthy of 4.5 stars.
Aug 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Whiskey Sea is historically detailed, has the feel of an adventure, and features a good love story too. I learned a lot about what went on during Prohibition and the climactic chase scene is one of the best edge of your seat scenes I've read in a long long time. I loved these characters! Tell your friends to buy this book.

BethAnn BookBumming
There’s a lot more to this book than meets the eye

I was very impressed with the storytelling ability of the author. Every paragraph pulled you in further. Character development is very rich.
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Have you ever experienced a this-cannot-be-happening-to-me moment? In her novels, Ann Howard Creel puts her characters in that position. Strong female characters face unforeseen obstacles and then have to make life-changing decisions. In her new novel, THE RIVER WIDOW, a former tarot-card reader turned widow and stepmother must escape the clutches of an evil family while also facing the crime she ...more
“Silver liked people to a point; he liked to hear them tell of some important news or share a laugh, but then solitude was always calling him back. Too much contact with people took things away from him—his energy, his soul, his freedom.” 3 likes
“You hungry?” asked Silver, who was thus nicknamed because his hair had turned old when he was but twenty-five.” 2 likes
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