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Whose Waves These Are

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In the wake of WWII, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper asking readers to send rocks in honor of loved ones to create something life-giving but the building halts when tragedy strikes. Decades later, Annie returns to the coastal Maine town where stone ruins spark her curiosity and her search for answers faces a battle against time.

368 pages, Hardcover

First published April 1, 2019

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About the author

Amanda Dykes

13 books802 followers
Amanda Dykes is a drinker of tea, dweller of redemption, and spinner of hope-filled tales who spends most days chasing wonder and words with her family. She's the winner of the 2020 Christy Award Book of the Year, a Booklist 2019 Top Ten title, and the winner of an INSPY award for her debut novel, Whose Waves These Are. She’s also the author of Set the Stars Alight (a Christy Award finalist), Yours is the Night (recipient of the Kipp Award), All the Lost Places (starred reviews from Booklist, Library Journal, and Foreword), and three novellas. Find her online at amandadykes.com.

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5 stars
1,575 (55%)
4 stars
882 (30%)
3 stars
310 (10%)
2 stars
68 (2%)
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15 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 779 reviews
Profile Image for Melissa Tagg.
Author 30 books1,429 followers
June 27, 2019
WHY CAN'T I GIVE THIS TEN STARS? Or twenty or thirty or basically ALL the stars ever. This is hands-down one of the best books I've ever read. Like, EVER. I love it so much there's no way I can review it intelligently right now, so I'll come back later and try to somehow do it justice in a longer review but for now...I am spoiled for all other books. For real. I finished it Saturday morning and haven't been able to pick up another book since! 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

UPDATE: Literally for weeks (months?) I've been trying to figure out how to write an actual review for this book...versus the paragraph of gushing I did previously. And I really don't think I'm any closer to being able to write a review that does justice to Whose Waves These Are. Instead, I'll just list some of the things I loved:

-The writing. It's just plain gorgeous. It is! I told a friend as I was reading it that it felt wild and free...I wish I could explain what exactly I mean by that. But it's completely unencumbered and lilting and just beautiful.

-The characters - obviously! I mean, that should be a given, I guess. If I don't like the characters, I won't like the book, no matter how well-written or how well-plotted. But there's something extra special about these characters. Robert Bliss...oh my goodness, have I ever read such a heart-tugging character? Annie Bliss...so very relatable. Jeremiah...I think I'm basically just in love with him. (That moment when he writes on his shirt... 😍😍😍)

-Ansel-by-the-Sea - it's cute and charming and quirk and believable and everything I want in a setting that's as much a character as the people are.

-The history. The story of the rocks. The creativity of it all! Honest-to-goodness just in awe of how the various threads of this story laced together to form one all-encompassing, emotional, poignant, at times heart-wrenching and other times heart-warming story. This story made me cry multiple times...and while I'll admit that sometimes I'm a bit of an easy cry when it comes to good books, this one is beyond "good" and my crying went far beyond a few tears. :)

Yeah, so basically I'm still gushing! This is truly one of the best books I've ever read and I know I'll reread it many times. Cannot wait to see what comes next from Amanda Dykes!
Profile Image for Beth.
775 reviews314 followers
May 7, 2019
“These are the waves that have brought her home. To these people, this place…and to life.”

Well, I did it. I closed the final page of Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes, and it happened. I hugged the book. Now, this may seem silly, but it’s just a thing I do, have always done. If, and only if, I connected to a book on a heart and soul level. I’ve read three of Dykes’ novellas, and they were so good, so I admit I had high hopes for her debut novel. My expectations were blown away. Lyrical and poetic, whimsical and full of heart, this story had me captivated from the first page.

Whose Waves These Are is one of those novels that defies genre a bit. It’s contemporary, but not too recent. It’s also historical, a bit romantic, a bit whimsical, yet full of depth and emotion. The dual timeline spans decades and generations of the same family, intermingling stories together in a seamless fashion that had me engaged in both time periods. The story is quite layered, but I never felt overwhelmed by it. Dykes deftly ties each piece of the story together in a way that is pure joy to read. I loved getting to know these characters, these friends, Annie, Jeremiah, and Bob. Their stories are tragic, triumphant, and messy, full of that real-life-ness that all good characters need to make them shine.

Sometimes a setting takes on a character-like quality, and that’s how I feel about Ansel-by-the-Sea. With the quaint locales and quirky, endearing residents who have found respite by the sea, it’s a restful, whimsical place of history and a simpler time. The author’s descriptions are gorgeous, painting a beautiful picture of this place and its inhabitants.

Whose Waves Are These celebrates and commemorates life. It reminds the reader of the power of story. We all have one, and there’s power in sharing our own story and listening to that of others. Truly my words are inadequate to describe the beauty and magic I found while reading this story. It is a favorite of the year, and I am so excited to read whatever Amanda Dykes pens next. Highly recommended!

The prequel novella, Up From the Sea, is offered as a free ebook. It’s a lovely little story all it’s own and sets the stage nicely for this one.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher for review purposes. All opinions expressed here are my own.
Profile Image for Missy.
304 reviews54 followers
July 3, 2019
Goodness this book tore at my heartstrings. I have not read Ms. Dykes before, but I will definitely read any book she writes from now on, as soon as it comes out. This book had me crying before I was even halfway done, which is not a good sign of what is to come and how many tissues I will be using. Just for the record, I resorted to paper towels by the end of the book.

This is the story of identical twins Roy and Bob Bliss and their bond with the ocean off the coast of Maine. With Roy going off to fight in WWII it is up to Bob to stay back to "take care of the family" as Roy and Jennie are expecting the next generation of Bliss. But when tragedy strikes, it is up to Bob to show the light home and help those who have lost. With the pen of a little poem, Bob starts what spans decades and helps to heal those who have lost. With the help of his love Eva, and then his nephew, William, Bob almost completes his task until one fateful night. When Bob falls ill, it is up to his great-niece, Annie, to come back and discover the mystery, history, and loving meaning behind this light home.

This was a wonderful book to read. I would say it is my favorite of this year. I would highly recommend it to other readers.

Thank you to Netgalley and Bethany House Publishers for this advanced copy. Review and all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Jayna Baas.
Author 3 books136 followers
September 10, 2021
The word that came to mind when I finished this story was beautiful, and that's still the case as I write this. The themes, the imagery, the truth, the emotion, the writing. Sorrow and hope, darkness and light, pain and healing. So many layers and emotions. I wanted to rush through it and find out what happened, but I made myself slow down and savor it. Once I got used to the third-person present-tense narrative style, I really enjoyed it. The almost omniscient feel fit the storytelling style of the book. The only times it jarred me were when a verb slipped into past tense for no apparent reason.

I rarely engage with both timelines of a dual-timeline book, but in this case, it would be hard to say which storyline I liked more. And the characters. Robert, Roy, Eva, Annie, Sully, Ed, William—and Jeremiah. I don't think I've ever enjoyed a silent, enigmatic hero as much as I enjoyed Jeremiah. There was no annoying "man of mystery" drama, and while it was obvious that he had a painful past, his heart was even more obvious, evidenced in the most caring, unexpected ways. Following Annie with a bucket of gravel. Writing on his shirt. Being the first to see the sunrise. I loved his gentle teasing and his tendency to "blurt first, explain later," as Annie puts it. The romance hit high on my list of favorites. Slow, gentle, a friendship that gradually developed and deepened and kept on deepening.

Speaking of romance, this might seem a small thing, but it spoke volumes to me about Robert's character: his response when Jenny married his brother. Instead of continuing to moon over his brother's wife, he chose to love by letting go and determined to cultivate a brotherly affection for Jenny, even though it hurt. And he succeeded. It was a great example of doing the right thing and making your feelings follow. Is it possible to love a book for all the places it didn't go? There were times when I thought, Oh no, that's going to be a really irritating relationship arc. Oh no, this is going to be an awkwardly romantic scene. Oh no, that's going to turn into a mystery that we already know the answer to. Oh no… But none of those fears came true! It made me so happy to be wrong! Yes, some things were sad, but not without hope. Never without hope.

But what I loved most was how Christ was woven throughout the story. Christian fiction doesn't have to have a salvation scene to point people to the Redeemer. The Christian message was never preachy, it was just so there. Christ is our Light, our Rock, our Hope. As Roy says, "Life is big. And God is bigger." This book reminded me of who my God is and what He's done for me. That's what made Whose Waves These Are truly beautiful, and that's why it continues to linger in my mind. I will definitely read more by Amanda Dykes, and I highly recommend this!
Profile Image for Rachel McMillan.
Author 24 books1,018 followers
December 11, 2018
from endorsement:

With a gorgeously inimitable voice, Dykes sets herself apart with a debut novel as timeless as its themes of redemption and everlasting love. I dare you not to be swept into a yarn of age-old tales and seaside secrets deftly penned by a lyrical pen that pliantly shifts between contemporary and historical frames. Romantic, spell-binding and wonderfully unique, Dykes’ sense of setting and emotional resonance are nearly unparalleled. A book world to be savoured and returned to again and again.
Profile Image for Sarah Sundin.
Author 17 books2,639 followers
May 1, 2019
This is the book everyone will talk about all year—lyrical, lovely, full of heart and heartache, secrets kept and revealed. These characters, this town, and their stories will seep into your soul and leave you wanting more. A novel of hope and reconciliation you won’t forget for a long time, probably not forever.
Profile Image for Maria Clara.
201 reviews42 followers
November 13, 2020
These aren't simple five stars.
I mean them with all my heart.

I never doubted Amanda Dykes was going to tug my heart big time with this book. Her novella is one of my favorite stories ever and I still get teary when reading it (ie: I basically became a waterfall reading her first full-length novel).

There is a scene in this book in which a character has to tell a story. It's kind of straight forward but not really because there's so much then what seems obvious on the surface. I can only echo this character's thoughts at the moment:
"How does one explain something so... so unexplainable?"

Amanda is a wonderful storyteller and she gave me all the feels with her debut. "Whose Wave These Are" is a book full of stories. And though this might seem obvious, don't be fooled by shallow judgments until you've seen the intricate web this author has created. You will discover they are beautiful stories, treasured, every single one. Therefore, I can't write a review like I usually do, mentioning the main characters and how the story will develop around them. I'll leave it for you to discover and savor each one.

Let me tell you one thing. We are all given gifts, and they are to be shared and nurtured to bless others. This book talks about said gifts and said sharing and community.
That messy, beautiful, wonderful place to be.

*I received an ARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Brittany.
2,158 reviews138 followers
May 1, 2019
Whose Waves These Are is an epic story that spans decades. The author pulled my heart all over the place as I turned the pages. This novel has a dual timeline. The connections and stories that are woven together throughout the years are only slowly revealed in tiny bits to the reader. I was amazed by the way the author intertwined so many different tales from both the past and the present together.

There was a lot of pain that various characters went through in the novel, yet it was balanced well with hope and lessons learned. The setting was beautiful and I truly felt as if I was experiencing living life in Ansel-by-the-Sea.

The author’s writing style is very poetic and beautiful. She doesn’t simply tell a story, she paints it for the readers with her words.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

You can read this review on my blog:
Profile Image for Sarah Monzon.
Author 21 books407 followers
March 22, 2019
There are plot-driven novels, and character/driven novels, but is there such a thing as a descriptive-driven novel? Not in setting, but in...life. Amanda Dykes doesn’t describe what people see in when the look out at the world, its like she’s giving all of her readers a pair of X-ray vision glasses to put. Ones that peel away at the artifice and shine a light on the heart. This is a story that you will ruminate over and will stick with you for a long time after it’s end.
Profile Image for Kara.
596 reviews68 followers
November 14, 2022
Reread Nov 2022 - “…and watch as the Light shines in a dance, a light pattern all its own…” The audio of this is just wonderful. And the story….it never fails to renew hope within me and breathe life to my soul no matter how often I read it. There is light within these pages…reminding us of Home and the One Who is ever walking by our side, through even the roughest waves. When you know Whose waves these are…hope is so much the easier. 💛


This book, y'all. Oh my stars, I loved every single bit of it! I loved the characters, especially Annie. And all her uncertainty, grief, fears, and fierce desire to do right by her beloved Uncle Bob. Her journey to understanding her own story by searching out her uncle's was just lovely. I loved Ansel-by-the-Sea and all the people who populated it, especially Jeremiah Fletcher. Discovering his story bit by tiny bit alongside of Annie was delightful as well! I loved the backstory which took place during WWII. I loved the finely held tension that gripped me as I was sucked into this amazing story of love and all that people will do in honor of it. Love is so multifaceted and Ms. Dykes delves into several of those facets here. From family relationships, to romances, to friendships, to grief, ah all the emotions are here, people! I was fully invested in both storylines going on (past and present) and couldn't wait to get back to each one. I held my breath so many times hoping what I foresaw wasn't going to be true or hoping it would. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough! :)

Ms. Dykes' writing just flows so beautifully and I kept having to pause and reread glorious sentences that made me look twice. Her lyrical way of writing perhaps won't be for everyone, but I am definitely a fan! This story is simply worth checking out and I don't think you'll be disappointed. There's a depth here that you need to dive into for yourself, trust me.
June 7, 2019
Y'ALL! I felt SOOOO many emotions reading this book.
I cried happy tears, I cried tears of grief, I cried for heartwarming moments and I cried for heart-wrenching moments.

I felt A LOT of things. It is VERY rare that an author can get me to cry, let alone SOB while reading. The fact that this author got me to do it on multiple occasions for different reasons says a lot about her writing style.

It's amazing. Plain and simple. It was a gripping story of grief, loss, healing, and learning to lean on the Rock of Ages.
This story rocked me, it had me thinking of the past and the future. There was so much grit to this story!

I really enjoyed the time-slip aspect, the author did a really good job separating the timelines while keeping the storylines perfectly intact. Though I had a few questions about character timelines and connections in the "modern day" storyline, it personally didn't take away from my experience while reading the book.

The characters were so real and raw, they came to life right off the page. All of their thoughts and emotions built them into wonderful characters.
All the little romances really held the book together. They were all so bittersweet, but they really enhanced the story.

I truly don't think I'll ever be able to put into words my thoughts about this book. I am pumped to see where this author goes next! I think every person ever should read this book.
5/5 stars!

*I received this book from the publisher**All opinions are my own*
Profile Image for Hannah.
2,402 reviews1,323 followers
May 25, 2019
Okay, so this book is so amazing that it gets ten stars. However, the writing style is maddening at times, especially the verb tenses and the past/present hops even within the same paragraph. I almost DNFed it. So I have to cut the rating in half...and it’s still.....five stars! 🤣

I’ve read Amanda Dykes before, and because of how well I like her novellas I was willing to push beyond the 25% mark where frankly the writing style was driving me batty. After about 30% it smooths out a bit and I was able to get in a rhythm of the present tense. I really couldn’t put it down after that. The suspense of what’s going on in present, the fun of watching Annie connect and find a family of sorts in the town and with the friends of her beloved Grandbob (her great-uncle Bob).

You WILL need a box of Kleenex at your elbow when you read this one. You’ll be weeping over folks in the story and over all the heartache and all the hope...trust me, this book is just overflowing with emotion! Friendship, brotherhood, romance, love and loss—and that STORM at the end...WOW.

Thanks to the publisher and netgalley for a free reading copy. A favorable review was not required.
Profile Image for Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...).
1,448 reviews427 followers
August 20, 2019
The first word I thought of to describe the vibe of this book is otherworldly. Not in a sci-fi way, but in a beautiful hazy way like waking up and remembering what you just dreamed. The historical and contemporary stories are woven together and draw curiosity out of the reader as layers of the plot and characters are revealed and new questions arise. There is heartbreak that is inevitable from the war-time era, but healing and growth as well. The strength of Robert, Roy, their family, and the community members of Ansel is evident and I felt like Annie- like I don't quite belong but I want to because it feels like home. Her journey of discovery is lovely as her heart turns more fully to her family and really knowing them and what drives them, their motivations, their past. I loved the way the elements of the story worked together to bring a satisfying conclusion to the book.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
Profile Image for Gray Cox.
Author 4 books164 followers
May 15, 2019
~Read full review on my blog here: https://graymariewrites.blogspot.com/... ~

WOW. Wow, wow, wow, wow,,,, just WOW. 😭😍😍😍

I'm not usually a fan of historical novels, but I decided to give this one a try, and I'm so thankful I did!

With a beautiful writing voice and an even more beautiful plot, Amanda makes a promising debut with this heartwarming tale.

The characters: Lovely, real, and likable.
The plot: Will bring tears to your eyes.
The setting: Breathtaking.

The contemporary part is set in 2009 and brought me back to the world of flip phones, which was super nostalgic. It's also historical with just a hint of romance. Full of heart and whimsy, this tale will draw you into its depths easily.

The two timeline stories are written and tied seamlessly together in such an effortless and beautiful way, it's also easy to keep up with and written at an enjoyable pace.

This book brought tears to my eyes, it broke my heart and then put it back together again, Whose Waves These Are is a MUST read.

I laughed, I cried, and I fell in love with this sweet village on the coast of Maine and the lovely characters who lived there.
Profile Image for Christine Indorf.
661 reviews106 followers
November 20, 2020
After this book received book for the year at the Christy award I had to see what this book was all about? I do not like dual time period books, which this one is. At first I wasn't so sure but this book is wonderful. It never leaves you confused and the book explains the characters so well that you will follow right along and really understand where this book is trying to lead you. The books takes place around WWll and about 10 years after the war and then it takes you to 2001. Each characters in this book is so well written that you feel like you know them personally. The story is just beautiful. Rob loosing his brother to war, he feel likes he needs to make a lighthouse in his honor. In 2001, Anne, Rob grand niece, comes back to Maine to help when your great uncle falls sick. Both story lines have you enthralled. The ending is amazing. Will Anne fall in love with Jeremy? Will they ever build and use the lighthouse, will Anne father ever come back to the family? I can see why Whose Waves These Are won best book of the year at the Christy. I feel honored to have been able to read this great work. I am looking forward to reading more of Amanda Dykes works. Five stars and I highly recommend this read!!
Profile Image for Joy Calle Martinez.
Author 7 books58 followers
November 14, 2022
Oh my goodness. This book was breathtakingly beautiful and took me on an absolutely unforgettable journey. I will be recommending it forever. To Amanda: I just want to thank you for writing such a magical story brimming with so much hope, beauty, light, love, and reconciliation.
Profile Image for Andrea Cox.
Author 2 books1,631 followers
June 1, 2019
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and won a paperback copy on Goodreads. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts.

If I’m going to weep this much, it better be a five-star story!

Wow. The romance in these pages… I don’t mean the boy-meets-girl kind (although that was spectacular and sweet too). I’m talking about the romance between humans and nature… the call of the Rock of Ages upon our souls… the way these characters bridged pain and time and broken vessels to find healing in the One Who controls the raging sea… This book and the heartbreaking (and heart-healing) stories it shares are the most romantic story I’ve read all year (surpassing its own sequel, Up From the Sea, which was my previous most-romantic and favorite story of this calendar year [2019]).

In the early pages, I really struggled with the present-tense verbs. This did not follow the tone set with the prequel (another five-star read!). However, though I think Mrs. Dykes shines better with past-tense verbs as used in her previous novellas, this story (bevy of stories, really) washed me away with the full force of hurricane-sized waves. My eyes kept leaking, flooding, the farther in I got. These characters, the town, the heart behind it all… They broke me open upon the rocks and stitched me back together with the mortar of complex plot, gentle yet fierce hope, and the Light that offers the greatest peace.

I might be a landlubber, but this story somehow still felt like a long-awaited homecoming.

I’m definitely eager to read whatever story next leaps from the pen of Mrs. Amanda Dykes.

Content: one profane word (most don’t consider it to be one, but by origin and current definition, it is)
Profile Image for Catherine.
Author 7 books744 followers
June 8, 2019
Okay, wow. I don't know that I have words eloquent enough to follow such a masterpiece of a novel. And my vision is still blurred, my eyes stinging. But I must say . . . something . . . even if it is only to implore you to open the pages of this beautiful book and see for yourself - there is magic here. Truly. I loved every moment of this reading experience. This book raises the bar for Christian Publishing, and I applaud that. Whose Waves These Are is one not to be missed.
Highly recommended. Do yourself a favor and read this story!!
Well, well, done, Ms. Dykes. Next, please!
Profile Image for Baylie Clagg.
33 reviews25 followers
August 30, 2022
4.5 stars!! It was such a great story of love, loss, and healing!! I truly loved it so much! I can’t wait to read more by Dykes. I highly recommend it!
Profile Image for Joleen.
1,984 reviews1,207 followers
June 12, 2019
Wow, wow, wow! What a beautiful book. Had I been alone I would've been weeping. But I was in a waiting room working hard to not let the tears flow. Later at home, when it came to several chapters before the ending, I let loose. Good cleansing cry, not an ugly one.

Did I say this was beautiful? Stunningly beautiful! Oh, and Amanda Dykes has a true gift. Phenomenal word pictures so original that I had to smile.

Long grasses and weeds brush against Annie's knees, as if whispering hush...hush...in sacred anticipation.

Ms. Dykes' faith woven throughout the storylines was so far beyond throwing in an occasional verse or prayer to attain the Christian Fiction title. This author knows the Savior so intimately she can't help but have Him center stage, working in the characters' lives.

It came from a place of being held. A place where God gathered up all of me in my brokenness in a time of deepest grief and just closed His grip around me tight, holding me close to His heart. There in the dark was a pair of nail-scarred, love etched hands that stopped to gather up and tend each broken piece, His heart aching right with mine. Hands and heart whose way is to cherish, to take that brokenness and somehow, with tenderness and strength, summon forth light. Hope.

A book has to be exceptional for me to re-read it, but that's what I'm going to do before I return it to Overdrive!

I wasn't a fan of present tense verbs throughout, but it was not going to make my star-rating go down. Nope, too good a book for that.

I absolutely recommend this to anyone. Tremendous love, courage, tenderness and healing.

Beautiful. Simply beautiful.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
1,789 reviews98 followers
April 25, 2019
"He said he loves you, that it'll be all right, that life is big . . . and God is bigger."

"Whose Waves These Are" clears generational speed bumps with the ease of a stallion; its poetic prose is enchanting, the spiritual depth and metaphorical descriptions compelling the most seasoned of readers to take pause.

Using the lives of twin brothers as a foundation stone, the author builds her story; and it's a story like none other, for Robert and Roy Bliss are unparalleled. Their lives diverge from the tiny town of Ansel by the Sea when the call for war beckons one and not the other. In the end, or it could be viewed as the beginning, it's grief that completes what life could not accomplish.

Years later, a granddaughter reappears in the tiny Maine town, apparently her beloved GrandBob needs her. As Annie Bliss uncovers the fascinating layers of her family history, she learns that "every wave . . . is a story" and "there's a whole lotta light . .. when the Lord makes His face to shine upon Thee"; yet, Annie can only wonder what kind of stories the waves will write for her.


I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
Profile Image for Toni Shiloh.
Author 53 books1,058 followers
June 6, 2019
*sigh* Whose Waves These Are is a book like no other. From the style of writing to the content on the pages. I was enthralled from chapter one and was compelled to continue. I just had to know how the story unfolded and see if the characters would get their happily ever after. I never thought I'd say this, but they all got something better than a HEA, hope.

I will be reading Ms. Dykes in the future.
Profile Image for Renee.
987 reviews167 followers
April 22, 2019
In lyrical prose, Amanda Dykes invites us to visit the Maine coastal world of GrandBob, Fletch, Eva, Roy, Jenny, and so many more. It’s a “pocket of a harbor where broken lives, like waves upon the shore, are gathered up and held close.” There, we become a regular, along with Annie Bliss, who “never imagined then that it would be [her] breaking place, too. Nor how beautiful the breaking could be.”

Though Annie’s journey starts out with “a key. A closet and a boathouse full of rocks,” she ends up unlocking the secrets of her own heart as she builds relationships with and learns the stories of the townspeople—especially one taciturn young man. He’s a “typical” New Englander—close-lipped, prickly & with well-guarded heart—but thaws into a strong, good, tender companion.

This is story of love, loss, healing, redemption, and forgiveness. I found it to be a celebration of life. And, of course, I LOVED the portions set during & after WWII, when GrandBob himself—the true bedrock & heart of this story—was young.

Thank you to NetGalley & Bethany House for giving me the opportunity to read this beautiful, poignant novel! What a treasure!

Before you pick up this book, you might be wondering—what’s so special about this island world? A time-honored inhabitant lets us in on that secret: “It’s not the isolation that’s medicine for the soul. No, ma’am. See, an island is a world unto itself. And if God can keep the tides comin’ and goin’, if he can use the sky itself . . . to pull back an entire ocean, just roll it clean away twice a day, easy as pie . . . Why, then he can walk us through this life. Did it at the Red Sea. Does it for us now. One step at a time. There’s little here to get in the way of seein’ that, and boy, did I need to see it.”

“Sometimes the best way to love is to choose to let go.”

“He said courage looked like you. Reaching out. Pulling him up. And he said that’s what you’d always do, because it is just in you.”

“‘Every wave in that big old blue sea is a story.’ Bob told me this a long time ago, his voice brined with wind and water.”

“At his side, she studies his face etched in kindness, and she knows those etchings did not come easily. She does not fully know the stories but has heard rumblings enough to know this man has lived through loss deeper than she can imagine. And yet it’s his laughter that echoes in her mind.”

“And they dance. Snow-dusted sidewalk for a dance floor, stolen strains of music coming in snatches on the December wind. He feels how she is like him. They are the same—lonely souls beating against the walls of war, asking in, being denied. But tonight they find a home together. The chill in the sky thickens the falling snow, and together they look up. They still. There’s something about this moment completely outside him—a sense they are standing in the calm before a coming storm.”

“Unseen sinews unfurl in the dark, reaching over the black shimmer of water and gripping him.”

“That boat was carved by time. It’s not like the rest of these.” She sweeps her arm out over the harbor, encompassing the fleet of warships. “They were churned out in a hurry, all for utility and speed and power. Sure, we need them right now. But that? . . . That one tells a story that’s taken time. And it’s one that’ll be around long after this war is over. No less needed, either. Just as important and courageous as the others.”

“When first light began to ease the dark, he’d heard his mother’s voice. She had a lovely voice, like silver—but that night it had been raked over grief. Yet the song she offered up was all the more beautiful in its wavering and brokenness. Courageous, an offering. The laying out of her broken heart before her God.”

“It never ceased to amaze Bob how a rock from one corner of the world, broken and cleaved by time or trauma, held just the right angles, curves, ridges to fit side by side with a stone from the opposite side of the world. The boy marveled at this, too, and made Bob’s science of it into an art form. Checking colors, patterns, light-catching properties for the strongest, most breathtaking effect possible. Watching him was like witnessing a rebirth. His fervor was contagious.”
Profile Image for Kellyn Roth.
Author 24 books832 followers
October 3, 2020
I wanted to like this book. I really did. But ... I got so bored in the modern parts. I honestly remember nothing about them, and I skim-read to the end.

I didn't like it much at first, and the writing style was too melodic for me. I also felt that the POV wasn't well-managed, and I'm not a fan of present tense. I feel like only The Hunger Games really did it well.

Plus, present tense in the "flashback" scenes was just ... frustrating. Like, y'all, the past is in the past, right? *my brain does not equate*

I was just ... disinterested. In the modern setting. In the "quaint" little town. In the characters' emotional arcs. In anything that wasn't related to the historical story arc.

I found that I couldn't care less about Annie. She had the typical boring Hallmark story - she just didn't interest me.

I didn't like Jeremiah much at first, but I did once I got to know him, after which I found him somewhat sweet - but not enough that I was particularly interested in his story beyond the moment of, "Aw, that's too bad." Still, he had a sweet moment or two.

The story that started in the 1940s onward was fascinating and emotional and ... awesome. I loved the characters. Robert, Eva, and Liesl were my favorites! Especially Eva. Eva is the literal bomb.

However, that wasn't enough for me to give this book a high rating, so I settled on 3/5 stars.
Profile Image for Alissa J. Zavalianos.
Author 5 books121 followers
April 28, 2022
I’m at a loss for words. The only one that comes to mind is masterpiece. Amanda Dykes has done it again.

This story was beautiful in every possible way. I loved every character, every storyline, every plot point, every foreshadowing, every theme, every poignant moment.

Amanda is one of those writers who portrays her heart so rawly and authentically on the page. Her stories are inspiring.

I know I’ll be thinking about this book for a long, long time.
Profile Image for Jocelyn Green.
Author 28 books1,164 followers
December 9, 2018
A lovingly woven tale. Climb into these pages and be buoyed by this story’s journey, alternately rocked and lulled by its waves. Full of heart and poetry, Amanda Dykes proves why she is such a beloved voice in lyrical fiction.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
Author 10 books333 followers
December 9, 2018
Amanda Dyke’s voice is as powerful as the waves and as deep as the ocean in Whose Waves These Are.

...full review/endorsement to come! Add this to your Goodreads!
Profile Image for Chautona Havig.
Author 245 books1,486 followers
September 19, 2022
For years, I've been told I'd love this book. More than once I've opened its pages, began to read, and set it aside again. That present tense thing is a struggle for me. I just don't enjoy it.

Now I think present tense was how God kept me from reading this book until HIS time. Because this is the book I needed today. In fact, just last night I read Christopher Morley in The Haunted Bookshop. He said, “A book is ‘good’ only when it meets some human hunger or refutes some human error.”

This book... so good--meeting a hunger I didn't know I had and refuting errors I didn't know I'd held until just this week. And Whose Waves These Are addressed them.

Look, that alone would be enough to earn this book five stars in my book, but on a less personal scale, there's more to it than that. This split-time novel doesn't weave two stories into one like so many do. It weaves dozens--even hundreds--and makes you care about every single one. Every character and every real person that character represents becomes important in a way that only a brilliant novelist can inspire.

The book talks about waves being stories, and I agree. Perhaps an alternate title for this one could be, "Whose Words These Are." Because the wave of words that Amanda Dykes washes over the souls of her readers will break their hearts and soothe them at the same time. They'll love, and lose, try and fail, hope and despair. And at the end, with throats constricting so tightly that they ache for hours... a quiet joy surfaces from beneath those waves. Joy in Him.

And isn't that what all this thing we call life is about?
Profile Image for Madison.
1,063 reviews59 followers
April 8, 2019
Simply stunning. Whose Waves These Are, with its beautifully descriptive and emotive writing style, characters who are brave, relatable, and so very loveable and story of family, love, loss and miraculous reunions, drew me in and refused to let go. Heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time, Whose Waves These Are is so very beautiful and a book that is simply a delight to read.

When Annie learns that her beloved grand-uncle Bob has fallen ill, she drops everything to return to Ansel-By-The-Sea to be there for him as he was for her in the time she most needed someone to understand and care for her when she was just a girl. As Annie learns what befell her uncle, reunites with the townsfolk and meets the standoffish newcomer, Jeremiah, she also learns of a story of loss and love that her uncle has guarded for years. Annie is determined to uncover the story and in doing so reveals not only the secrets of the past but a chance for reconciliation in the present.

Amanda Dykes crafts words with care and beauty. The writing in Whose Waves These Are is emotive and descriptive. It deserves the reader’s full attention and I found myself completely immersed in the story. The book contains chapters from the mid 1940s and early 2000s, split into sections and woven together. The way the two sections reflect and loop into the other, bringing to life the story both past and present and with some surprising reveals, is magic.

This is a powerful story of family and love, set against the hardest of losses and grief of wars and forced separation. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Whose Waves These Are is an ode to community and friendship, the bond between brothers, the love between man and woman, and the relationship between parents and child - broken and healed again. Honestly, I simply do not have the words to convey the magic of this book, the way it stole into my heart, and had me crying tears of grief and joy at the end and rejoicing in a story that has its own soul.

I can very highly recommend Whose Waves These Are. It is a beautiful and delightful story.

The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library
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