Kiss River
by Chamberlain, Diane

The arrival of Gina Higgins, a mysterious stranger who is determined to restore Kiss River's historic nineteenth-century lighthouse, profoundly impacts the lives of Lacey O'Neill, a talented stained-glass artist with a dark past, and her brother Clay, who is trying to rebuild his life after a devastating tragedy.

Alternating chapters tell the stories of 14-year-old Bess Poor, the daughter of the Kiss River lighthouse keeper on North Carolina's Outer Banks during World War II, and Gina Higgins, a contemporary schoolteacher who has traveled to Kiss River on a mysterious quest. When Gina arrives, she discovers that the lighthouse she has come so far to see was nearly knocked down in a storm and that its lens lies at the bottom of the sea. She's taken in by Lacey and Clay, a sister and brother saddled with some serious issues, and as Gina and Clay develop a complicated relationship, the narrative is broken by Bess' 1942 diary entries detailing her romance with a young Coast Guardsman. Taking a job at a local gathering spot, Gina begins to join the community, but she is harboring a secret related to her obsession with recovering the sunken Kiss River light. When all the secrets are revealed, they don't seem all that earth shattering, but Chamberlain does tie the two disparate stories together in a charming manner. ((Reviewed February 1, 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews

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