Title: Ocean of Secrets
Author: Jerry Sacher
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 18/04/2016
Genre(s): Historical, Romance
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: PrinCkhera
Heat Level: 0.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 1.21 stars out of 5
Andrew Elliot, the son of a Scottish nobleman, is being sent to America, accompanied by his fiancée and her brother. But Andrew’s engagement is not a love match. His family insists that he marries to “cure” him of his feelings for the son of the caretaker on his father’s estate.
Matthew Ahearn leaves Ireland to pursue his dream of becoming a Texas cowboy. In London, a brush with the law almost derails his plans, but Matthew perseveres and lands a job as a third-class steward on a ship bound for America.
Andrew’s and Matthew’s worlds collide as they—and their secrets—are brought together in the magic of an ocean voyage, one that will never be forgotten.
The year is 1912, and they are about to board RMS Titanic….
ARC Review subdivided into the following sections:
1. What I think
2. Short summary
3. Suggestions to the author
The best thing about this book is the cover. Oh and the whole “I like men, it’s not as if it’s the end of the world mindset” Andrew has is admirable, I guess. This book’s one saving grace is that the MCs were not going through any particular identity crises. Though after going through the book, that might have made it at least interesting.
Let me start off by saying that since this book is about the Titanic the primary concern the reader faces is whether there is a HEA or not. There is one, the sad thing though? I couldn’t have cared less. That in itself is a huge problem. I tend to get attached to my characters. Since I have spent time, effort, emotion and eye rolls on them – I have the right to call them mine. I also love it when they end up happy, you know? Not dead is also good.
If you have not been living under a rock, it is very likely you’ve seen Titanic with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. Hands up if that ending either pissed you off or scarred you? I fall somewhere in-between. So, while those two were having their ultimately doomed love story, it was an interesting premise to see what another couple on the boat were going through, namely Andrew and Matthew.
Their love story was tragic. But unlike Kate and Leo’s which brought tears to one’s eyes, this one was tragic in the sense that it gave me a headache. A headache thinking about all the things that bothered me about it that is.
To begin to describe how I felt while reading this would require me to think about what I read again, and I don’t particularly enjoy that prospect. This review has been rattling around in my brain for the past two days, ever since I finished it. Its inadequacies were highlighted by the other two ARCs I’ve been reading which are everything this book is not and I honestly just need to get it over with and be done with it.
Like the Titanic’s captain, I can more or less pinpoint the general area when the iceberg came into sight and this book, like the Titanic‘s, imminent demise.
There is no chemistry between the two MCs. Them being together does not make any sense.
Let me explain why exactly I think that.
Firstly, Andrew and Matthew have just left emotionally drenching relationships behind them. At the beginning of the book, Andrew is still in love with Robert! But, when he gets the ‘Congrats on the engagement bro’ letter, he doesn’t think twice on its authenticity? He then proceeds to fall into insta-love with Matthew. And at that point he doesn’t think twice about the inheritance not being worth it if you don’t have the one you love? Seriously? Very unrealistic. If the guy is brokenhearted there should be more hesitation when entering a new relationship. Same goes for Matthew. He left Daniel (WHY DID HE DO THAT? We have a general idea, maybe, but nothing concrete) and he then gets taken advantage of by Lord Carson (who should go die in a ditch somewhere) but we don’t see any of the emotional repercussions of that. I assume he’s just left an abusive relationship – but why is there no hesitancy falling for the next best eye candy he sees? WHY?
Secondly. At times I felt like I was reading a conversation that came right out of my high school English text books (it was my second language). If you happen to have ever taken a second or even a third language class you should be familiar with those text dialogues in the beginning of a new lesson/chapter.
“Hello Matthew. I had to see you.”
Matthew wished he could rush into Andrew’s arms. “I’m glad you came. I was afraid I could not see you.”
“Are you still on duty?” Andrew said.
“I’m on duty until midnight and then it starts all over again tomorrow morning,” Matthew said.
It might, of course, just be me, but this is just one instance where I thought seriously?
At times I actually felt second degree awkwardness. Not second degree embarrassment because that would imply the characters knew how awkward they were being when they interacted (their conversations). But, nope. That’s why… I came up with that word. It basically means that I felt awkward for them, because their exchanges were jus sad.
Thirdly: William and Claire. Ugh. They were horrible. William was the stereotypical villain – mustache, rubs his hands, has thinning hair, laughs evilly – ends up doing a monologue and like 99.9% of the time he was in the book I thought he was going to just say ‘Fuck it’ and take Andrew right then and there. Also, why didn’t the author describe him when we first meet him instead of when 60% of the book is already over? He was a grade A creep and gave bad vibes a mile off. I honestly felt Andrew should have been carrying a rape whistle or something like that.
I understand that the writer put himself in a tight spot by giving himself only 2-4 days for this “love”story but at the pace these two were going, it just did not work.
They had barely spoken (total 2 times, no longer than one minute conversations) and Andrew is apparently in love?!
Did they have built-in gaydar btw? Because, shouldn’t – historically speaking – they be way more wary of who they hit on because you could get thrown in jail or something. Seriously?
The worked in actual Titanic references made me roll my eyes, though they were accurate because the whole thinking the boat was unsinkable is the primary cause that tragic accident happened over a hundred years ago. But, seriously? Too many damn references. I was already annoyed with the characters and this just made me frown even harder.
The best written out scene is the Titanic sinking, because the author went into detail. The effect was promptly ruined by William – his monologue confession as to who he and Claire really are. Ugh.
ETA: the heat level? No. Just, no. Their first “peck” on the lips left them both breathless? Are you for real?
To pile on cliché after cliché – there were so many. Honestly, while reading this book – after the point they meet and how obvious the clear lack chemistry and their journey down “love” lane is, I kept checking the page number wondering when I’d be done, write my review and leave this behind me.
Maybe I’m being too critical, but on the other hand this book frustrated me to no end. You want my honest opinion? This book is by no means done yet and the author needs to work out a great number of kinks/flaws this book obviously has before he thinks about publishing it. The story has potential (a little), but there is so much left unsaid and much just not done right.
Looking back at the notes I made during my read these are the most frequent: a frown face emoji, whiplash and cliché. Words that sum up what I felt reading this book (the whiplash refers to their “conversations” because they were all over the place).
You might have gotten confused while reading this review as to how many things are wrong with this book. So, here is a short summary:
- No chemistry – they move too fast.
- There is no plot that I can discern as there are too many things going on at the same time.
- William is just an added bad guy who detracts from the story, doesn’t add anything. There is already such a huge tragedy plot point going through the book, having William and Claire there as well does not work.
Suggestions for the author if he wants my advice:
- Because the brother sister duo actually are more in the story than the two MCs together (it feels like it), how about losing them? The main problem is that I do not see the chemistry between Andrew and Matthew and this is simply because they don’t have enough time together to properly or at least believably fall in love. Both William and Claire detract MC together time, they’re added bonuses, there because a villain is needed? (but you don’t need one) They are walking talking clichés and you are better off without.
- You introduce Andrew as being madly in love but all it takes is a hot guy to look at him twice and he’s over it? No! Give him time to heal.
You could work this in by first of all elongating the time that Andrew has to deal with his heartbreak. It’s two months in the story, make it a year – marry off Robert in that time so Andrew knows he should let it go. Make the parents more sneaky, rather than forcing Andrew to get over Robert they try to make him see that Robert is scum he shouldn’t think twice about. Because Andrew refuses to get married, make them think that all Andrew needs is a change of scenery, and if he happens to meet a suitable partner on the boat they want to send him on? Well, all the better. What this does is decrease the baggage that Andrew carries with him onto the boat, and there he meets Matthew. Ta da!
Of course these are just suggestions, and I don’t think they’ll be taken seriously, but still because this book isn’t published yet I wanted to put this out there and it is up to you to do with it what you will. What I basically suggested now is a rewrite, and my apologies for being so forward but I just needed to get this off my chest.
All in all, the book as it is now – I do not recommend reading it, at all. Of course, this is an ARC review and the author might have changed stuff by the time he decides to publish the book, but for what I read this stands.
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