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Making Waves by Lorna Seilstad

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Making Waves by Lorna Seilstad

Reviewed by Julia Reffner

"Making Waves is a read that will transport the reader to the shores of Lake Manawa and elicit a sigh when you close its pages and have to return to your everyday life."

As I write this review, snow peppers the sickly pale yellowish green grass. In my soaring imagination I’m enjoying a strawberry sundae as I watch the waves roll by near a small lake in Iowa. Seilstad very successfully uses sensory detail to enable the reader to picture every scene. My toes curl up as I feel the waves at my feet. I hear the soft melody of a string quartet as Trip and Marguerite dance. I see Marguerite’s newly callused hands. I spent many childhood summers visiting my grandparents’ cottage in the Finger Lakes. My grandfather spent all summer obsessively cleaning and polishing his boat in order to enjoy a few late summer sailing sessions. When childhood memory and literature collide, a read is not quickly forgotten.

Just try to stifle a chuckle when you read about the lengths Marguerite will go to in order to obtain sailing lessons. My family began to look at me a bit strangelyas I burst into sudden laughter during drop-everything-and-read time. Lurking beneath Marguerite’s sardonic wit though were spiritual nuggets, as Marguerite began to mature throughout the novel.
I was surprised at the “spiritual punch” this “beach read” packed. Marguerite begins to learn what it truly means to seek out and follow God’s will. She finds this comes from a heart relationship, not following platitudes. Seilstad approaches the theme of looking for man’s approval versus following God. These truths are not presented in a way that is heavy-handed, instead spiritual teachings are woven seamlessly into the thread of the plot. I appreciate fictional books that deal with our sanctification in Christ. Marguerite and Trip struggle with honesty and forgiveness, respectively. As the book progresses and they draw closer to Christ they experience ever-increasing victory over these struggles.
The romance between Trip and Marguerite is soft and sweet. Their friendship builds and blossoms over time through a shared sense of adventure and a love for for sailing. Trip seems to spur Marguerite further in her faith. I enjoyed the scenes at the seaside revival and their conversations about living the Christian life.

Seilstad deals with several issues that are as relevant today as in 1912, gambling and abuse. Personally I love to see a villain who breaks the mold and at times Roger seemed a bit too “conventional” to me. I would have loved to have seen more of his perspective and understood his motives. I did however, appreciate the fact that Seilstad was willing to tackle the touchy and always relevant topic of physical and verbal abuse. Gambling nearly destroys Marguerite’s father’s fortune and family. The devastating effects of sin snowball and the vise grip of an addiction is not easily broken.

Making Waves is a read that will transport the reader to the shores of Lake Manawa and elicit a sigh when you close its pages and have to return to your everyday life. Mix Seilstad’swonderful formula of spiritual depth, laugh-out-loud humor, and sweet romance with a strawberry sundae and enjoy the perfect staycation.

Julia ReffnerJulia M. Reffner is blessed to be a servant to the King, married to the love of her life, a busy homeschool mom of two young children, and owned by one shedding longhaired cat. She is enjoying working on a women’s fiction novel in her spare time. She is a reviewer for Historical Novels Review quarterly, a magazine of the Historical Novel Society. Julia can be found blogging about God, literature and life at Dark Glass Ponderings and about writing at the group blog, The Writer's Alley.