It Comes In Waves by Erika Marks | Rating: ★★★★★
"I know your father broke your heart, Claire. Most days, he broke mine too. But we all make the choices that suit us at that moment in time, and eventually our hearts heal. And after enough excuses for why you can’t make your life the way you want it, maybe it stops being everyone else’s fault and becomes your own."
I’m going to start my review off with a confession: I went into this book thinking I wasn’t going to like it, for whatever reason. Truly, I don’t know what made me think I wasn’t going to like it, the summary on the book was solid and intriguing and the cover art is gorgeous. And let me tell you, I’ve been shaking my head and rolling my eyes at myself for weeks now for my initial concerns.
It Comes In Waves was a delight to read. Pure and simple, it was a delight. It is told within various time frames, switching between present day and the life that Claire, or Pepper as some would call her, had once upon a time in her youth. If that is a turn off for you when it comes to storytelling, as it is for many, I don’t know if this book will end up being for you. As for anyone else…
I would definitely suggest you take a look into this book.
The story starts with Claire, presently in her 40s, who is in a bit of a mid-life crisis of sorts. She’s really unsure what to do with her life at this point and seems to have lost sight of herself through the years. Currently, she is a divorced teacher who longs for a bond between herself and her daughter, who is at that age where the child starts to pull back from the motherly affection they once loved. Claire is nearly positive that if she doesn’t do something fast, her daughters boyfriend will take her daughter away from her and move to a completely different location.
Typical mother-daughter relationship worries, really.
It’s obvious from the start that Claire is in a life that is only half hers; that she longs for something of her past. In her earlier years of life, she’d had many desires and was quite the talented surfer. She had a really beautiful life among the waves and her friends and her first love; her life was full of promise. But that was then and this is now, and it doesn’t seem to be in the cards to move back to the surf friendly location she fell in love with all those years ago: Folly Beach.
But when she receives a phone call from ESPN to go back and film a segment for them, she has a lot to think of. Should she go back for a while and face the leftovers of a past once lived? And if she did, would this be a whole new bonding experience for herself and her daughter, Lizzie? It is possible that it could spark a whole new relationship for them.
There’s only a slight problem: Lizzie doesn’t know much about who her mother was before. And Claire isn’t quite sure she’s ready to confront her past.
See, it was never Claire’s intention to leave Folly Beach once she’d settled in there. She had her promising career — she was the it-girl-surfer, afterall — and friends and a boyfriend who loved her. Folly Beach was, for this frame of time, her home. Foster, Claire, Jill and Shep were the kind of friends you longed to have. Everything was perfect, until one day it wasn’t. It is revealed that Jill and Foster had fallen in love; having an affair behind Claire and Shep’s back that resulted in Jill becoming pregnant.
Leaving two friends feeling devastated by the betrayal, both handle the situation in different ways. Claire takes flight and leaves Folly Beach without the intention of turning back, while Shep sticks around.
In present day, it was revealed that Foster died years ago and somewhere in between, Jill and Shep have rekindled their romance. While many of the readers will be turned off by the cliche of a love triangle or square or whatever you want to consider it, Erika Marks takes a charming approach to all of it and makes sure that we understand Jill just as much as Claire.
Both characters are extremely likeable in spite of any flaws and you can’t help but to want them to patch things up after the years stretched between them.
Claire takes the gig with ESPN and finds herself back in Folly Beach, her daughter by her side and slips into things as well as she can. Even though a lot of time has passed, she still remains a little uncomfortable in Jill’s presence — and with good reason. But can they ever patch things up? Can Claire forgive Jill of the betrayal? How did Shep live a life in the same place, for so long, while dealing with a broken heart? And how could he, of all people, forgive both Jill and Foster?
In the midst of all this, Claire finds herself enjoying certain aspects of being back in Folly Beach, including having found herself someone she’s quite fond of, reconnecting with Foster’s mother (who is more like a mother to her than her own) and even picking up a surfboard again. By the end, a lot of the dramatics and plotlines are resolved and tied up neatly with a bow. Although Foster plays a big part in the story, the only time we really hear a bit of his thoughts is through a letter he’d tried to mail Claire near the end of his life.
Overall, this story is nostalgic in many ways and a very fun read. It serves up a dish of feelings and laughs and tears while managing to completely capture its audience even in rockier parts of the story. It Comes In Waves includes quite a bit of surfing lingo and whatnot, but it won’t scare its readers away if they haven’t the slightest idea of the sport.
It will charm you right away and leave you with quite a few memorable quotes or narrations. My personal favorite is the one stated at the start of the review during a conversation between Claire and her mother, with whom she’s always had a rocky relationship with. I’d recommend this read be brought with you to the beach with a ton of sun, a drink and a cute bathing suit.
Perfect to get lost in on a nice summer’s day.