Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Review: The Deepest Waters

The Deepest Waters by Dan Walsh

Publication Date: April 2011
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group/Revell Books
Genre: Christian Fiction
Pages: Paperback, 300pp
ISBN-13: 9780800719807

(Received for review from Revell Books)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository,, IndieBound

Dan Walsh on the WEB: Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter

Excerpt from The Deepest Waters

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

For John and Laura Foster, what began as a fairytale honeymoon in 1857 aboard the steamship SS Vandervere soon becomes a nightmare. A terrible hurricane strikes and the grand ship is lost in the murky depths of the Atlantic. Laura finds herself rescued with the other women and children, but how can she feel anything but despondent without her groom? Suspecting her John is gone but still daring to hope for a miracle, Laura must face the possibility of life alone.

Talented author Dan Walsh skillfully tells and epic story of hope, faith, and love through an intimate lens. Inspired by real events, this emotional and honest story will capture your heart as you sail through it's pages.


Author Dan Walsh brings new life to Christian Fiction and the historical fiction genre. Inspired by the true story of a paddle steamship that sank off the coast of North Carolina in 1857, The Deepest Waters is a compelling love story that will draw the reader in and captivate them. Walsh's ability to weave historical details into the dramatic story will have readers feeling as though they stood on the deck of the SS Vandervere along with the characters of the book. Themes including racism, dysfunctional family dynamics as well as love and faith make this novel a must read!

Laura and John Foster are on their honeymoon. Taking a ship from San Francisco to New York to meet John's family when tragedy strikes. A hurricane hits the ship with a vengeance and the newlyweds are separated as Laura is rescued along with the women by another ship called The Cutlass. Unable to take on everyone from the SS Vandevere, The Cutless is helpless to save the rest. The desperation of the women is palpable as the realize their men will go down with the ship. Laura holds out hope that somehow her beloved would survive. She clings to her faith as she begins to make friends aboard The Cutlass including a slave boy named Micah and his dog Crabby. She dares to hope for a miracle even as the possibility of life without John is staring her in the face.

I always find myself a little bit skeptical when it comes to men, writing romance novels. It just doesn't seem natural to me in a sense, but I am often pleasantly surprised as in the case of writers like Nicholas Sparks and Henry McLaughlin. I was also surprised by the writing of Dan Walsh. Walsh writes with a smooth style that allows the reader to see the emotions of the characters without coming across as pretentious. He allows the story to marinate and sit with the reader, giving them something to think about and he actually does a really good job with the romantic aspect of the novel as well. Walsh's ability to show emotion is a real highlight in this book, giving the reader a sense of understanding of how these men and women felt and what was going on not only in their minds but in their hearts.

Walsh's historical details were very well researched and it was obvious that he has a heartfelt appreciation for history. It comes across in his attention to the smallest of details on board the ships, the descriptions of the hurricane itself, the racial climate of the time, and even in the religious practices of the day. I thought the author did a remarkable job of incorporating several themes to make up a very well written novel. The overall idea of the book is that no matter the circumstances you find yourself in, God is there. He is with you and all things work together for good. I think Walsh's experience as a pastor really helped to bring his message across to the reader without bombarding them. He uses the 'still small voice' of fiction to get into the hearts of his readers. Not a simple feat by any means.

I enjoyed this book very much and I believe Christian Fiction readers and historical fans will find it inspiring and full of great historical detail. I recommend it to readers who are looking for a great romance that is based on faith and love. I also recommend it to those readers who enjoy fiction that is based on or inspired by true events. The authors note in the back of the book gives great detail on which parts of the book was based on the sinking of US Central America in 1857 and which parts come from the brilliant mind of the author. This is one you won't want to miss!

Available April 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Dan Walsh is the award-winning author of The Unfinished Gift and The Homecoming. A member of the America Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for 25 years. He lives with his family in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching for his next novel.