Most of the books I read these days are ones needing to be reviewed. Sea Swept had already been reviewed, so I didn’t have to make notes, be analytical or justify my opinions. I was taking a busman’s holiday, a little like a food critic, who after spending meal after meal at tony gourmet restaurants, has turned in her column and now can eat wherever she chooses. So I pigged out on Sea Swept and still had a gourmet feast.
Sea Swept, Cam’s story, is the first in the Quinn Brothers trilogy, to be followed by Rising Tides, Ethan’s story. Phillip’s story, Inner Harbor, will conclude the trilogy. Set in the Chesapeake Bay area, nautical themes run through each book.
Ray and Stella Quinn adopted three boys, boys who had been mistreated, abused and abandoned. In manhood, each is successful. Cam is on the international boat racing circuit, Phillip is an advertising executive and Ethan is a fisherman.
In Europe, Cam is enjoying the fruits of another victory, said rewards in the form of a nubile model. He receives a call telling him that his dad has been injured in a car wreck and is in critical condition. With their father’s dying breath, he implores his three grown sons to look after Seth, the ten-year-old that Ray is in the process of adopting. With Ray’s death, the adoption stops, and Seth’s custody is in question. There’s also a mystery thread in the form of an insurance investigator who’s questioning if Ray’s death was an accident or suicide. The three Quinn brothers vow to keep Seth and not let him go back to his useless mother or be placed in foster care.
With that goal in mind, the brothers make drastic changes in their lives. Cam is starting a business that will allow him to remain at home . . . for the time being. Always in the back of his mind is the knowledge that he’ll eventually return to the racing circuit. The romance comes into focus as Seth’s case worker, Anna Spinelli, begins to investigate the Quinn household and its appropriateness for a ten-year-old boy. Cam initially tries to impress Anna for Seth’s sake, but is inexorably drawn to Anna for himself.
Sea Swept is a two-pronged relationship story. There’s the three Quinn brothers and Seth. We’re privileged to watch a warm, tender male bonding story. And these guys do bond, better than superglue. The second relationship that’s explored is Cam and Anna. Yes, the relationship is given less word count and less emphasis than I’m used to, but that in no way weakens its effect for me.
What Nora does with humor and witty dialogue is unparalleled, IMO. She has given us page after page and situation after situation of natural humor. Many stand out. Ever washed white clothes to have them turn pink? Happy homemaker Cam does, discovering a red sock in the wash. When he throws the load in the dryer, planning to set it on ‘broil’, I knew that this guy was okay. Also, he’s frequently referred to as “Mommy.” There’s humor and poignancy when all three brothers present a united front as they meet with a school official after Seth and a bully get into a brawl.
When I think of witty dialogue, Sea Swept will be my touchstone. If harsh language really bothers you, stay away. Its dialogue is realistic, gritty and is in no way for the faint of heart. Being a stalwart sort, I laughed aloud, chuckled, shut the door so people wouldn’t hear me cackling aloud and had a great time with Sea Swept.
Most impressive was the manner in which we women were given a glimpse into the male mind set and how men operate in packs. Again, the language was strong, but, when men who are close get together, that’s how they talk.
I’m really looking forward to books two and three. One of the wonderful things about Nora’s prolific writing is that at least two books will be out in the meantime, introducing us to other characters and other families. The dynasties continue.
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