As the wounds of the Civil War are just beginning to heal, one fateful summer would forever alter the course of a young girl’s life.
In 1868, on the barren shores of post-war Outer Banks North Carolina, the once wealthy Sinclair family moves for the summer to one of the first cottages on the ocean side of the resort village of Nags Head. Seventeen-year-old Abigail is beautiful, book-smart, but sheltered by her plantation life and hemmed-in by her emotionally distant family. To make good use of time, she is encouraged by her family to teach her father’s fishing guide, the good-natured but penniless Benjamin Whimble, how to read and write. And in a twist of fate unforeseen by anyone around them, there on the porch of the cottage, the two come to love each other deeply, and to understand each other in a way that no one else does.
But when, against everything he claims to represent, Ben becomes entangled in Abby's father's Ku Klux Klan work, the terrible tragedy and surprising revelations that one hot Outer Banks night brings forth threaten to tear them apart forever.
With vivid historical detail and stunning emotional resonance, Diann Ducharme recounts a dramatic story of love, loss, and coming of age at a singular and rapidly changing time in one of America’s most beautiful and storied communities.
The romance between Abby and Benj has a Romeo and Juliet feel to it, which is a little played out but... fine. The racism is both ugly (Abby's father and his cronies) and unfortunately ignorant (all the rich kids) but definitely feels like it fits with the time and suits them. I really liked her description of the landscape, felt like I knew what it looked like.
It's not a great read but it's not bad. Anyone who wants my copy, just let me know!