106 of 110 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2010
I am one of the pickiest readers and this book captivated me from page one. Not only is Gina Holme's a terrific writer with beautiful prose, but her story is as real as it gets. It's not often a book can make me laugh out loud and cry all within the same bound pages, but Crossing Oceans did that and more. It's a painfully beautiful story that will keep you awake until 2am just to finish it in one sitting. You won't want to leave her characters. In fact, I want to know them more. I highly recommend this book and I can only say that about less than a handful of fiction books out there. This is one you won't want to miss! Can't wait to read more from this lovely author.
91 of 102 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2010
I've read thousands of books in my lifetime, but few have ever stayed with me like Crossing Oceans. Gina Holmes taps into every emotion known to man, and she does it well. She has truly mastered the art of storytelling. The young mother, Jenny, will capture your heart on the first page, as will her daughter, Isabella. But this isn't a simple story by any means. It's deep and complex. You'll go from tears to laughter, and when you turn the last page, you'll wish it wasn't. This is a book you want to go on. I highly recommend it.
68 of 79 people found the following review helpful
I am always hesitant to review a book written by a friend. Can you imagine how much more apprehensive I was reading the debut novel from not only a friend but a critique partner? A critique partner lives to rip and shred work to point out what's wrong and what needs to be changed to make the work readable.
Though I've critiqued Gina Holmes for years, I had just glimpses into Crossing Oceans and I knew it was a very different style from her previous suspense novels. Her suspense is strong. But how well would her voice translate to women's fiction?
Once I opened her book and began to read I can say that her voice translates with a poignant grace that is rare in a debut novelist. And Crossing Oceans is a story that Holmes was meant to tell.
Holmes tackles a heavy story line with a touch of whimsy and deep, deep melancholy, sometimes in the same paragraph. A young mother, emotionally orphaned when her mother died and father cocooned himself in a cloak of angry grief, finds herself forced to return to the home she had escaped. Jenny has Stage IV metastatic cancer and must reunite with the family she fled for the sake of her little girl's very near future need. With less than a year to repair and restore relationships Jenny tackles the past and the future, the present and the pain, all while attempting to give her daughter, Isabella, memories and love and what life she has available to give.
This is a novel that quickly overcame the author and my relationship with her. The story told itself in a realistic and three-dimensional tale of life and death, sorrow and fear, choices and consequences, pain and beauty, loss and hope. Holmes voice is similar to some of my favorite authors in the Christian fiction genre, Siri Mitchell, Charles Martin, Susan Meissner, Claudia Mair Burney, Lisa Samson and Bonnie Groves.
Crossing Oceans is not an easy read. It is haunting and beautiful and raw. Expect to cry and expect to remember this family long after you turn the last page.
297 of 360 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2011
That tidbit doesn't turn up on this product's page. If I had known it was a religious book, I would not have bothered with it. If you don't have a religious mindset, then you probably will not like this. Plus, it seems targeted to 6th graders, not adults.
Don't bother flaming me. I'm just sending this out to warn others. I'm not the only one in the world who feels this way and I wish I had noticed a review that mentioned it.
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2010
Overall, this book is ok but some of the dialog between David and Jenny is unrealistic and unsettling. I can't imagine, even the most evil person, telling a dying person that "the cancer must have gone to your brain" during a heated argument. At times, I wanted this book to end, it drug on and on. Then in other parts of the story, I never wanted it to end but end it did. I'm still thinking about the book that I finished yesterday so therefore I know that it affected me. I'm just not sure how. Read it for yourself and draw your own conclusions.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2010
I read Crossing Oceans in one day. I just could not put it down-- this is totally unusal for me. Will be suggesting to family and friends to read- also unusual for me. Gina Holmes writes with such wit that even while you are tearing up, you are still smiling. A tough subject made real. It is about faith without being sanctimonious (sp?); it is about pain and forgiveness without being depressing. And I think above all it is about love that lasts.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2010
I had never heard of this author and the description of the book sounded good. I was afraid it would be sad and morbid but this was one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. It captures you from the first page and you are transported to the space and time to walk with Jenny and "Bella" on Jenny's final journey. I kept hoping there would be a happy ending but knowing the severity of the situation I knew it couldn't happen. But it wasn't sad. Bella wasn't the only one who was prepared when Jenny passed and the epilogue was so unexpected and beautiful.
This is a book that will hold a special place on my book shelf and be read over and over. It is a must read. You won't be sorry.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Following the death of her mother, a pregnancy in which her lover David Preston dumped her without knowing she was carrying and a fight with her father, Jenny Lucas left Tulleytown, North Carolina vowing to never return. Six years later, she and her daughter Isabella have come home. Her oxygen carrying Mama Peg welcomes her granddaughter and great-granddaughter while her daddy remains hurt and distant until Jenny explains she is dying from cancer just like her mom though a different form of the killer.
Jenny seeks a caretaker for her child as she knows Mama Peg is not healthy enough and her dad failed her. She considers David, but when she goes to tell him he is a father, he is nasty. Ironically his wife Lindsay is nice. Her high school peer Craig Allen who rents a loft is kind to mother and daughter. However, the clock is running out on Jenny and she must decide what is best for her beloved daughter between her father and her former lover; both who failed her when she grieved her mom's death at a time when she needed each of them; she fears they will do again but this time she cannot clean up the mess.
The key to this well written poignant weeper is no miracle occurs saving Jenny, but the right person is there for Isabella if the dying mom can get through the pain of her past to see the future as her dad believes David's dad's misdiagnosed his wife's illness leading to her death. Character driven with a powerful ensemble cast supporting Jenny, readers will appreciate the angst filling an ocean as Jenny worries who will raise Isabella once she dies.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2010
My eyes are still raw from the many tears that I've shed over the last few hours as I devoured this beautiful haunting debut. In fact, the only time I put it down was to gather myself so I could keep reading on.
This is the story of a young mother dying of cancer, but somehow Gina Holmes manages to take a premise that often results on an over wrought, self-indulgent book and instead write a haunting, gorgeous tale that will make you laugh, sob and swing through every other emotion on the spectrum.
This debut is a masterpiece, well worth your time and money. It will definitely be at the top of the Christmas list for many of the woman in my life.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I was not that impressed with this story. REALLY! It appeared totally unrealistic and weird. I am a Hospice Volunteer and understand some of the subject matter and this just didn't seem real to me. First, I understand Jenny returning to her family for the sake of her daughter. However, the girl's father was a REAL jerk. Why would you want to leave your kid with someone like that? Second, it would have made so much more sense to pursue her relationship with Craig and not even bring David into the picture (in my humble opinion). Isabel had a good relationship with Craig and really cared for him. If she had grown up with him, at least she would have known a father who loved and cared for her (so needed for a young girl). Also, I don't believe she could have had the presence of mind to sacrifice her final days in that manner. All in all, it was a page turner but it just didn't seem to me that people would really behave this way. Not real for me.