02 July 2017

Book Review: The Boundless Deep by Kate Brallier

This is a love story that crosses the division of death into the realm of reincarnation.  Set amidst the era of whaling in Nantucket, it is told superbly in first person narrative.

Wow...this is perhaps one of my absolute favorite books.  It was published back in 2008, and if you've not had a chance to read it, I suggest either picking up a copy or downloading to your e-reader. This is one of those books that beautifully blends a mystery, a romance, a historical and a paranormal all in one.  

Liza has had dreams of whaling her whole life, despite never having been to the ocean.  So she jumps at the chance to spend the summer working in Nantucket with her roommate and friend.  She has the idea that somehow she can disprove how accurate her dreams are, but quite the opposite happens.  Not only can she spout facts about sailing, she can identify even the most obscure piece of equipment.  Her dreams have revved up a notch as well.  Every night she dreams of Obidah Young, a whaling captain from the 1840’s accused of murdering his wife.

Liza’s summer in Nantucket is filled with work and romance.  She meets Adam, a museum guide, who has his doubts about her reincarnation theory.  There is also Lucian, who uses his sharp tongue to defuse the sexual tension between him and Liza.  The book is filled with memorable characters that help Liza solve the mystery of her dreams and who she used to be.
Ms. Brallier does a great job of differentiating between Liza of 1840 and present day by changing how she “talks” in the dreams, from very formal to modern day slang.  But beyond how well this story is brought together, what really captured my attention was Nantucket itself.  The author really did her research on bringing to life the city of old.  I wanted to jump in my car and drive there, finding all the spots she wrote about and pointed out. 

This is the second book by Ms. Brallier, and the characters from her first book, Seal Island, make a brief appearance in this one, but it's not imperative that you read it to understand this one.  I like having character make appearance, in fact, I do this a lot in my own books.  The Boundless Deep is in my personal library, and a book I'll always keep nearby so I may read it again whenever I wish.


Philosophers have said that we travel through our lives, past and present, surrounded by the same souls, that we spend each new life trying to mend the hurts we've done to one another in the past. In The Boundless Deep, Kate Brallier explores this idea in a combination of strong storytelling and gifted characterization.
Grad student Liza has long been plagued by vivid dreams of whaling. Offered the chance to trade her land-locked existence for a summer on Nantucket, the well-preserved heart of New England's whaling trade, Liza jumps at the chance, eager to see how well her dreams mesh with historical reality.
The answer is: all too well. Liza's dreams become highly sexual; her visions of ship's captain Obadiah Young grow increasingly intense. At times the past and present mix before her eyes, with automobiles replaced by horse-drawn carriages.
Though skeptical of Liza's claims of a past life, whaling museum curator Adam is drawn to Liza's intense desire to know the truth―about herself, and about Obadiah, accused of murdering his beautiful, young wife. But Adam isn't the only man with an interest in Liza―handsome Lucian, whose home Liza is sharing for the season, has designs on her as well.
In a single summer, Liza must answer the riddle of her dreams, reunite lovers separated by death, solve a hundred-year-old murder . . . and figure out her heart's desire.

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