Macy Allen lost her husband Nash and her unborn child the same day due to an unfortunate incident involving a mare in labor. Macy, a woman with a complicated past and tragic family history, who never thought she deserved the love of the husband she got, suddenly became a young widow whom everyone pitied but didn’t know quite how to approach. She found solace from her grieving in her love for horses, which she took to horse shows and riding events.
Magda, Macy’s mother-in-law, blamed Macy for Nash’s death. Jack, on the other hand, took a conciliatory approach and moved from Wisconsin to Vancouver Island, where Macy lived, to live closer to his son’s memories and in the process try to understand the man his son had become after he left his parents’ home. Once Jack arrived on Vancouver Island, he became enamored with the fierce beauty of the place, while Magda remained at their home in Wisconsin. It’s living apart and hardly talking on the phone that they both realized that Nash was the only element keeping them together.
Meanwhile, a big surprise showed up one night in the form of a child supposedly fathered by Nash while married to Macy. Jack was elated to discover a missing connection to his lost son. Macy however grappled with the revelation and the realization that she hardly knew her husband and he was no longer there to face the fallout of his betrayal. Together Macy and Jack finally realized that keeping the child was fundamental in their embracing a hopeful future.
Miracle Beach by Erin Celello is a story about grief, from a widow perspective and that of parents, but is also about relationships--marriage or friendship. It makes us wonder how well we really know someone close to us, and how sometimes people get comfortable in a relationship and forget to be themselves, forget their own dreams, cease to exist as individuals.
In Miracle Beach from tragedy comes unexpected self knowledge and blessings, for Nash left a child behind who filled the void tragedy had carved in these characters lives; thus from the bad light emerged.
I don’t think that Celello was successful at portraying Nash; he failed to emerge from the pages as he was supposed to considering all the memories his widow and his parents shared with the reader. Celello also wasn’t successful in making us care that much for all the other characters. She was however, excellent at fleshing out Macy’s love for horses and her knowledge of them; I thought that was a fascinating element in the book. Celello also excelled at making Vancouver Island come alive in all its beauty and intensity.