By: Di Morrissey
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: December 2, 2014
Di Morrissey accomplishes a rich, epic novel in The Winter Sea.
The place is a small fishing community on the Aeolian Islands off the coast of Italy. The time is turn of the century, 1906. The family is many generations of strong fishermen, the d’Aquino’s.
Guiseppe d’Aquino is ten and mesmerized by the sea. Fishing is in his blood and he is now old enough to accompany his father on the daily trips out into the depths of the Mediterranean Sea for their catch. It is a process of patience as much as a process of skill and Guiseppe’s job leading up to this moment was to learn both. There were nets to be cast to catch the small silvery fish that in turn, would be used to catch the larger fish—their livelihood. Guiseppe learned early on to sense the unspoken and mandatory respect of this oft formidable sea if he expected it to deliver its bounty. As he grew from boy into young man, however, Guiseppe had a wanderlust he couldn’t keep at bay. He believed he was destined to the life of a fisherman. He also believed such life beckoned him beyond the confines of the small island community.
The years continue to pass and the generations of d’Aquino’s before Guiseppe have seated the family legacy. However, Guiseppe is no longer a boy and he knows it is his time to leave. He will be the first to venture out beyond the breakwaters of the small island; his destination is America. His plan is to carry on the legacy of their fishing accomplishments to a new world. Guiseppe is clever and his vision that courses through his veins will provide him safe voyage—a vision bred into him from his father and his father’s father before him. When the first leg of his journey from the island to the mainland is derailed from complications at sea during the crossing, Guiseppe will never make it to America. Rather, his destiny eventually deposits him on the southeastern coast of Australia. It is there that the next generation of d’Aquino fishermen will make their mark. They will become a common household name among many of the Australian fishing villages in the days, months and years ahead…
Di Morrissey further affirms her title as being one of the most acclaimed international bestselling novelists in her delivery of The Winter Sea. Her adept ability to take the reader on an epic journey through the generational eyes and equally intriguing fishing tales of her fictitious d’Aquino family is tangible from the onset of the story to its bitter end. Her prose is prolific and it carries the reader forward in precise and purposeful meaning likened to the rise and fall of a fine vessel upon the sea. Her characters are rich and full of voice and each has sound purpose. Morrissey is not stingy when delivering her beautiful and full-bodied, descriptive passages that span two continents. She consistently plants seeds of desire for the reader to be there in the moment of the story. Ms. Morrissey’s voice is beyond audible and one’s heart breaks in the moment of sorrow as much as it rejoices in the moment of joy throughout this epic tale. Thank you for such an enjoyable read, Ms. Morrissey. I am a fan and truly look forward to your next novel.
Quill says: The Winter Sea will consume your heart and interest with the turn of each page and leave you with a desire to want more long beyond the proverbial ‘the end.’