Wordful Wednesday: Book Review – The Winter Sea
Di Morrissey is an Australian writer who, after a career in journalism and television, became a novelist and had her first novel published in 1991. Since then, she has averaged a book a year and her books are immensely popular in Australia.
I only got to read my first Di Morrissey book, The Winter Sea, when my mother-in-law brought it over for Christmas. She told me that Morrissey likes travelling to places and doing research about the place and then writing about them. Her stories often feature Australian people and places with a mystery woven in.
The Winter Sea is set in Whitby Point, NSW and switches back and forth between the early 1900s-1950s when Giuseppe d’Aquino leaves Italy, comes to Australia and starts a family, and modern-day 2011 when Cassie Holloway leaves Sydney and goes to Whitby Point for a get-away and a sea change. Cassie meets and falls in love with Giuseppe’s great-grandson, Michael, but a family secret threatens to ruin her new-found happiness.
I enjoyed the historical aspects of the story and general storyline is easy to follow — not too complicated or having too many characters that make it hard to remember who is related to whom and how. I will admit that I guessed there was a twist in the plot and was elated when my guess turned out to be correct! I’m usually very bad when it comes to solving mysteries.
The storyline with Giuseppe is well written and the story moves along in a manner that is reflective of real life: sometimes our best laid-out plans don’t work out but we play the best we can with the hand we’re dealt and there is joy and sadness along the way.
The storyline with Cassie, I felt, was not as well written. The conversations are stilted and too formal. Everyone speaks grammatically-correct sentences — which is a plus, by the way — but this doesn’t seem to be realistic. Cassie’s plans all fall into place too neatly and quickly. Her ex-husband, Hal, is disappointingly a very flat character that didn’t add much, if anything, to the story and would have probably been better off not written in at all. I felt that even Cassie’s character could have been better developed. I found it difficult to relate to her and sympathise with her problems. As she is one of the main characters of the novel, this is a bit of a letdown.