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Our Seas of Fear and Love

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Our Seas of Fear and Love

by Richard Shain Cohen

Book Description
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Our Seas of Fear and Love is a romance-family saga set primarily in Maine but also in Europe, the Southwest, and Boston. Calm and stormy seas are emblematic of the characters, their influence upon one another and, the conflicts and love expressed among the four main characters – Brigit, Deirdre, Gregory and Étienne Moreau, a man who searches out art treasures to sell to museums. He takes as his partner Deirdre, a dark haired, vivacious beauty he meets during World War II when she was an OSS member and he was head of a Maquis group. Brigit, an extremely attractive red-haired woman and nurse cares for Gregory wounded during the war and who becomes a well-known medical researcher. Gregory and Brigit have fallen in love and plan their marriage. Deirdre then sets her sight on Gregory, ignoring her lover and partner Étienne, and a conflict occurs between the two women. In the end, the effects of love triumph in contrast to vainness that damages self and others as the seas of fear and love engulf all.

Judge, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards
Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning "needs improvement" and 5 meaning "outstanding".

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5
Production Quality and Cover Design: 5
Plot and Story Appeal: 5
Character Appeal and Development: 5
Voice and Writing Style: 5

Judge’s Commentary*:
OUR SEAS OF FEAR AND LOVE by Richard Shain Cohen is a wonderful, engrossing novel spanning the generations. The story is satisfying and deep. A great read for those who enjoy family sagas.

I like that the book is in hard cover. It feels more important, somehow. (That may be silly, but there you go.) The cover, with its impressionistic illustration, is unique for a book cover. While the illustration itself is lovely as an example of artwork, but I think perhaps something more concrete might have made for a more effective book cover. This is just an opinion and the design would not have kept me from buying the book. The back cover copy is well written. The endorsements are both glowing and enthusiastic, further encouraging the reader to investigate inside. I like how the endorsers are authoritative, too. The author biography is excellent. I would also have enjoyed a photo. However, I'm not at all sure we needed the exact same author bio to appear again inside. Just a thought.

As for the story, right away, I was taken into the author's world. I felt as though I had met a knowledgeable and kind friend, one I could settle in with for a cup of tea and enjoy listening to him share his story. Not every author can carry off this voice and tone, but Cohen does so with aplomb. The story runs the gamut of emotions, and the reader feels them all. This is a book that will surely keep Cohen's present fans and earn him many more.

Reviews
"To what extent does the sea cast its capricious influences on human behavior? May it sometimes act as an arbiter of human lives through the emanations of its mysterious vastness and uncertainty? Might it recalculate the course of futures? Pablo Neruda, in his poetic imagery of breaking waves, reminds us that the sounds of the ocean are el palpatacion del universo, the heartbeat of the universe. Author Richard Shain Cohen may well agree with this numinous view. In his expertly crafted novel, Our Seas of Love and Fear, Cohen takes us on a voyage of hope, and also, despair where we are wont to follow both the heightened swell of life's promises along with the dashed hopes of lost love."

"In a story line spanning the 1940's 50's and 60s, through the 1970s, we voyage from the war torn beaches of Anzio and the perils of global conflict to bucolic coastal Maine. In an ebb and flow of time, we meet Brigit Donovan, a southwestern girl of Irish-Catholic extraction who, like her Celtic namesake, feels she was born to heal and give comfort to life's fellow voyagers. With sadness, yet encouragement on her family's part, Brigit ventures to Boston where she studies nursing, eventually receiving her RN and a commission as a Navy nurse. As the sea carries men to war, so too, it brings them home, both the hale and the wounded. Brigit soon meets Gregory, a young naval officer on her ward with whom she falls in love. Their early history together is both tender and moving as she helps Gregory meet the challenges of a leg wound and later a crushing diagnosis of chronic lymphatic leukemia when he is a medical researcher. In spite of these hardships, their love grows. It runs a true course ahead of fair winds as Brigit is warmly accepted by Gregory's family and friends, but as the sea presents both a luminous and dark countenance, life among people carries its own powerful dialectic. There is good and betimes evil in human character, and so, as time elapses, Brigit's world of promise is torn apart by Deirdre, a beautiful but soulless woman, committed to depriving Brigit of Gregory's love. In the progression of Gregory's illness, he tentatively clings to life's littoral. With the tragic and violent death of his now wife, Deirdre, there comes his reconciliation with Brigit. The tale of these star-crossed lovers evokes the haunting and bittersweet sadness of the final meeting of Longfellow's separated characters, Evangeline and Gabriel."

"Author Richard Shain Cohen lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. He was born in Boston but spent many summers in Maine where he developed his love of the sea and its many moods. His previous publications include: Healing After Dark: Pioneering Compassionate Medicine at the Boston Evening Clinic (2011), the Forgotten Longfellow (2010), and Only God Can Make a Tree. His previously published novels include: Monday: End of the Week, Be Still, My Soul, and Petal on a Black Bough, and now Our Seas of Fear and Love."

"In his most recent romance-family saga, Cohen shows himself as a powerful writer with the ability to filter and snare the essentials of human emotion with the magic one might ascribe to a Native American "dream catcher." His character development is whole, intricate and credible resulting in his best work of published fiction to-date."
— James T. Kenny, Ph.D., The Midwest Review, "Reviewer's Choice."

"In Our Seas of Fear and Love the characters are well developed and believable as they are interwoven into a story that hits the emotional highs and lows of couples through times of adversity. The story reminds us that even people of high moral standards and values can be corrupted through lust and money. This story will draw you in from the first chapter and keep you reading until the last word. You actually feel as if you are living the story which can only happen when the writing is superb like Cohen’s."
— Bonnie Kaye, M.Ed., Counselor and Author of ManReaders: A Woman’s Guide to Dysfunctional Men

"This meticulously crafted novel reads like a family saga, spanning about fifty years. The author weaves the warp of individual characters into the woof of both national and global affairs with great clarity. The tangled love relationships are described with candor. Sharply observed and deeply felt, the narrative plays out against the unifying backdrop of the ocean, which with its changing moods serves as a natural metaphor for the tempestuous changes that occur in history and the lives of individuals. A compelling must read."
— J. Arthur Faber, Professor of English Emeritus, Wittenberg University