Review: Pelican Bay by Jesse Giles Christiansen

    Review By: Aislinn Pearce Genre: »

    Title:  Pelican Bay [Kindle Edition]
    Author:  Jesse Giles Christiansen
    Publication Date:  November 18, 2013
    Amazon Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (51 Reviews)

    Book Description (from Amazon): Some things are better left alone… 

    After Ethan Hodges discovers an undersea cemetery just off the beach of Pelican Bay, South Carolina, he seeks answers from a grandfatherly fisherman named Captain Shelby. The captain wants the past to remain buried, and he warns Ethan to stay away. But Ethan doesn't listen. 

    Ethan's best friend and secret love interest, Morgan Olinsworth, joins in the investigation, unearthing intriguing secrets about the mysterious fisherman. When Captain Shelby is suspected of murder and disappears, a manhunt ensues, revealing a truth that unnerves everyone in Pelican Bay.

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    My Book Fairy Review

    This story could not only be considered a suspense or thriller but also in some ways a coming of age story. The main character is a young man named Ethan, who ends up in over his head more than once due to curiosity or love. The mystery surrounding Captain Shelby is buried in age old stories and old wives tales, and he’d rather be left alone to fish and live his life, but sometimes childish minds will get carried away and pursue things better left buried in the sea. The story itself takes place in the small island town of Pelican Bay, South Carolina and shows a great deal of love for the sea in general as well as the Carolina coast and the mysteries it can hold. The cast of characters includes Ethan, a young writer who happens to be in love with his local librarian. Sidney, the doting and worried grandmother who’s raised Ethan from a young age. Captain Shelby, the old “sea dog” that you’re not quite sure if he’s a God, a ghost, a murderer, or an overly protective grandfatherly influence in Ethan’s life. In addition, you meet the love interest of Ethan a young girl named Morgan who’s emotionally withdrawn and her depressed and widowed father who has no love for Ethan. There are several other supporting characters in the story.

    My Book Fairy Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars

    I gave this book a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars. There is one small historical inaccuracy in the initial flashback to 1931. The first thoughts that came to my mind when reading this story were that the author’s writing style and use of adjectives and vocabulary comes off as pretentious, or that he’s overused his thesaurus. The story is verbose, and that was a distraction from the story. If I hadn’t promised the author a 100% honest review I would have put the story down before I got through the entirety of chapter one. I stopped reading and decided to learn more about the author, once I read the information about him available at his Amazon link, I understood a little more about his writing style. Not only does he hold an English degree, his influences came from authors in a time where the flow of poetry and prose was more descriptive than it is in most novels today. Keeping this in mind I began reading Pelican Bay again, and once I got past the “wordiness” of his novel I found the underlying story and plot line to be interesting and thought provoking. I spent a large portion of my life in South Carolina, and I could see the love he had for the coast and the sea in general. I found the mystery compelling and well thought out. The characters were intriguing, especially Captain Shelby and the research that Ethan and Morgan unearthed was riveting. Overall, the character, story and plot were exceptionally enjoyable; it was just the use of adjectives that seemed excessive. The use of descriptive writing did allow the view that the author had in his “mind’s eye” to come across in writing with little room for misunderstanding. I’ll be looking into his other stories in the future as well.

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