Desert Isle Keeper
Rising Tides (#92 on AAR's Top 100 Romances)
An AAR Top 100 Romance
review originally published on August 28, 1998
In her second installment of the Quinn Brothers trilogy, Nora Roberts is Rising Tides as well as the temperature on the Chesapeake shores. I have been waiting for this book since I finished Sea Swept, the premier of the Quinn brothers and the start of a love affair I envy in Cam and Anna’s relationship.
The beauty of this series not only incorporates the natural perfection offered by the Maryland coastline, but in the love shared by this band of one-time orphans who all overcame rough hurdles to find and experience a close-knit family. Under the gentle care of Ray and Stella Quinn, these social misfits have grown up to become men that any woman would rush home to meet the parents. Rising Tides focuses on the trials and tribulations of the middle and most bucolic of the Quinn’s, Ethan. Finding a balance on the water, Ethan leads an uncomplicated life — or so it seems on the surface — as a crabber on the Chesapeake Bay. Ethan has buried the dark times in his life – times of abuse, drugs, and violence – behind a thick veneer of complacency. Ethan is determined to settle for happiness brought into his life through a boat building company and the love of his brothers, since he will never let himself find happiness in the heart of the woman he loves.
Another beautiful component of this series is Ray Quinn himself. Roberts doesn’t let Ray’s tragic death hinder him from continuing his sturdy guidance in his sons’ lives. Ray’s appearances, albeit a few close encounters with the afterlife, give Ethan a good dose of logic and a swift kick in the butt needed for him to shed his bullish behavior and get a grip on his true happiness. There were times when I was cursing Ethan for being a stupid typical male, then I would turn the page and cheer when Ray’s booming voice (in my mind, he booms) echoes my sentiments exactly.
In the end, I fell in love with Ethan almost as much as I did with Cam — I go for the strong, arrogant, dark type more often than the dependable sort. Both were romantic and virile, and both showed that no matter what happened to them in childhood, Ray and Stella Quinn instilled in them values which shaped them as great role-models. Just watch how all three brothers learn to love, guide and protect Seth, who might or might not be a Quinn by birth.
Unlike previous trilogies by Roberts where you can read the novels out of sequence and still grasp most of the serial plot lines, the Quinn trilogy should be read in order. What makes this series so unique is that Roberts switches her focus away from the female-biased point of view of relationships. Male bonding and emotional attachments, especially for female readers, is so rarely written of and understood we need to fully understand every minute plot twist inscribed. If anyone can write this tenuous bond with great detail and understanding, it’s Nora. Well done, woman! I only wish Inner Harbor, Phillip’s story, would hurry up and be released…one chapter was hardly enough. I want to see what his type of woman is like and how the brothers will finally clear their father’s name.
Until the third and final novel is released early next year, I suggest we all read or re-read the first two novels, just to make sure we didn’t miss anything the first time around. This series will definitely go down on my Desert Isle Keeper list for years to come!