Book Tour Review: The Outer Banks House by Diann Ducharme

Monday, June 8, 2015
Title: The Outer Banks House
Author: Diann Ducharme
Genre: general fiction, historical fiction
Series: N/A
Pages: 304
Published: 2010
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating: 3.5/5

As the wounds of the Civil War are just beginning to heal, one fateful summer would forever alter the course of a young girl’s life.

In 1868, on the barren shores of post-war Outer Banks North Carolina, the once wealthy Sinclair family moves for the summer to one of the first cottages on the ocean side of the resort village of Nags Head. Seventeen-year-old Abigail is beautiful, book-smart, but sheltered by her plantation life and hemmed-in by her emotionally distant family. To make good use of time, she is encouraged by her family to teach her father’s fishing guide, the good-natured but penniless Benjamin Whimble, how to read and write. And in a twist of fate unforeseen by anyone around them, there on the porch of the cottage, the two come to love each other deeply, and to understand each other in a way that no one else does.

But when, against everything he claims to represent, Ben becomes entangled in Abby's father's Ku Klux Klan work, the terrible tragedy and surprising revelations that one hot Outer Banks night brings forth threaten to tear them apart forever.

With vivid historical detail and stunning emotional resonance, Diann Ducharme recounts a dramatic story of love, loss, and coming of age at a singular and rapidly changing time in one of America’s most beautiful and storied communities.

I was largely drawn to Diann Ducharme's The Outer Banks House due to the time (late 1860s America) and the setting (North Carolina) that were depicted. America after the Civil War is rife with interesting and terrible things happening and exploring Abby's personal growth against a backdrop of civil rights made for an absorbing read. Though only about three hundred pages, this story tells a familiar tale but does so with care and attention. With excellent place-as-character and detail, The Outer Banks House is a good fit for historical fiction fans looking for a story set during this time.

Diann Ducharme's novel has a lot of things going for it, and Abby is chief among them. Her characterization is well-handled in that she seems like a modern woman for her time without being anachronistic. She starts off the novel with certain ideas and beliefs that one might expect from a planter's daughter, but as those beliefs are challenged, she evolves as a character. She shares the POV with her counterpart of Ben Whimble, a man whose life has been the opposite of Abigail's prior to moving to the eponymous Outer Banks House. Ben was also a highlight for me. In a book that has the setting down, the characterization was a pleasant surprise. Ben is a complex man and much more than he appears. It's also refreshing to see a romance where the man has such respect for his love interest's intelligence. 

I also was intrigued by the relationship and parallels of Abby's life with that of her mother's. Their relationship was a convoluted one; made of resentment and anger and love and expectation. The issues that Abby faced with understanding her father are vastly different than those she had with her mother, and I found myself far more caught on the latter issue. It's not a major plotline in the novel but it did make for even more dimension for both Abby and Ingrid's characters. 

The Outer Banks House is a novel that flows well and is also paced wonderfully. A lot happens in three hundred pages but it doesn't feel rushed or unnatural. Abby's evolution takes place in an authentic and believable manner, and her growing romance with Ben is treated in the same way. Occasionally, Ducharme would hit a sentence that described life in the South perfectly ("Our first full day in Nags Head unfolded as thick and warm as honey from the hive.") and it's remarkably easy to get caught up in the story being told. Though the books wraps up pretty neatly, I'm also excited to see what happens in Ducharme's next novel, Return to the Outer Banks House. Check back for that review later this month!

The Outer Banks Series Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 25
Spotlight & Giveaway at Raven Haired Girl

Tuesday, May 26
Guest Post & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing

Wednesday, May 27
Review (Book One) at Back Porchervations

Thursday, May 28
Review (Book One) at In a Minute

Friday, May 29
Interview & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Saturday, May 30
Spotlight at Becky on Books

Sunday, May 31
Review (Book One) at Book Nerd

Monday, June 1
Review (Book Two) at Let them Read Books
Spotlight at I’d So Rather Be Reading

Tuesday, June 2
Review (Book One) at Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, June 3
Review (Book Two) at Back Porchervations

Thursday, June 4
Spotlight & Giveaway (Book One) at View from the Birdhouse

Friday, June 5
Review (Both Books) at Bibliotica

Sunday, June 7
Review (Book One) at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, June 8
Review (Book One) at Ageless Pages Reviews
Guest Post at Curling Up With A Good Book

Tuesday, June 9
Review & Giveaway (Book One) at A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, June 10
Review (Both Books) at Unshelfish
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, June 11
Review (Book Two) at Book Lovers Paradise
Interview at Boom Baby Reviews

Friday, June 12
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes

Sunday, June 14
Review (Book Two) at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, June 15
Review & Giveaway (Both Books) at Genre Queen

Tuesday, June 16
Interview at Books and Benches
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, June 17
Review (Both Books) at Luxury Reading

Thursday, June 18
Review (Book One) at Books and Benches
Interview at Layered Pages

Friday, June 19
Review (Book One) at Build a Bookshelf
Review (Book Two) at Ageless Pages Reviews

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