The Ocean Between Us
by Susan Wiggs
Literature and Fiction: Women's Fiction, Contemporary Romance
April 27, 2010
Available in: Trade Size (reprint)
Grace Bennett has it all—three wonderful children, a devoted husband and a life of adventure and travel. But beneath the calm demeanor of an efficient Navy wife, Grace stands at the crossroads—of her life and her marriage. When she looks in the mirror, she doesn’t recognize the person staring back. She’s tired, out of shape and feeling invisible. Somewhere between her husband’s demanding career, raising a family, the constant uprooting and the Navy’s routine, Grace has lost her sense of self. Something needs to change. She needs to change.
Steve Bennett simply can’t understand the unraveling of his wife’s heart. He thought he was proving his love to her with each promotion. He believed he could still be a good husband and father while juggling an officer’s myriad duties. But he now realizes they were seeing their marriage through different eyes. And when a nearly forgotten secret resurfaces, Grace’s discontent comes into sharp focus. Now Steve must try to make their marriage right again before his next deployment. For himself. For his family. For the twenty years of shared history that have always anchored him to home.
Then duty calls.
Separated by an ocean of regrets and longing, Grace and Steve take a hard look at their faltering marriage, the love that brought them together and the family they cherish. They confront the choices they’ve made, the sacrifices they’ve rationalized and the dreams they’ve set adrift.
But just as they come to grips with their marriage, the unthinkable happens—a disaster aboard Steve’s aircraft carrier shatters Grace's world. As she gathers her children around her and waits for news, she faces a Navy wife’s worst nightmare—the cold truth that life’s biggest chances can slip away while you’re looking for guarantees.
Using blunt scissors, pages from a Big Chief tablet, a borrowed stapler and a Number Two pencil, Susan Wiggs self-published her first novel at the age of eight. A Book About Some Bad Kids was based on the true-life adventures of Susan and her siblings, and the first printing of one copy was a complete sell-out.
Due to her brother's extreme reaction to that first prodigious effort, Susan went underground with her craft, entertaining her friends and offending her siblings with anonymously-written stories of virtuous sisters and the brothers who torment them. The first romance she ever read was Shanna by the incomparable Kathleen Woodiwiss, which she devoured while slumped behind a college vector analysis textbook. Armed with degrees from SFA and Harvard, and toting a crate of "keeper" books by Woodiwiss, Roberta Gellis, Laurie McBain, Rosemary Rodgers, Jennifer Blake, Bertrice Small and anything with the words "flaming" and "ecstasy" in the title, she became a math teacher, just to prove to the world that she did have a left brain.
Late one night, she finished the book she was reading and was confronted with a reader's worst nightmare--She was wide awake, and there wasn''t a thing in the house she wanted to read. Figuring this was the universe''s way of taking away her excuses, she picked up a Big Chief tablet and a Number Two pencil, and began writing her novel with the working title, A Book About Some Bad Adults. Actually, that was a bad book about some adults, but Susan persevered, learning her craft the way skydiving is learned--by taking a blind leap and hoping the chute will open.
Her first book was published (without the use of blunt scissors and a stapler) by Zebra in 1987, and since then she has been published by Avon, Tor, HarperCollins, Harlequin, Mira and Warner Books. Unable to completely abandon her beloved teaching profession, Susan is a frequent workshop leader and speaker at writers' conferences, including the Romance Writers of America conference, the PNWA and Maui Writers Conference. She won a RITA award in 1994, and her recent novel The Charm School was voted one of RWA's Favorite Books of the Year. She is the proud recipient of several RT awards, the Peninsula RWA's Blue Boa, the Holt Medallion and the Colorado Award of Excellence.
Susan enjoys many hobbies, including sitting in the hot tub while talking to her mother on the phone, kickboxing, cleaning the can opener, sculpting with butter and growing her hair. She lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Jay, her daughter, Elizabeth, and an Airedale that hasn't been groomed since 1994.