PUBLICATION DATE: April 12, 2012
he Discoveryis a fascinating story full of suspense. Because the majority of the book takes place during World War II, fans of historical fiction are especially likely to enjoy it.
Michael Warner wants to be a writer, even if it means forever being in the shadow of his grandfather, an extremely successful novelist. When Michael’s grandfather passes away and leaves his home in Charleston to him, Michael and his wife, Jenn, begin making plans for a new life. As Michael settles into the house and begins to think about the novel he might write, he discovers an unpublished manuscript written by his grandfather. He begins reading it and is swept away by the story, which is set in Daytona Beach during World War II. Eventually Michael realizes that the manuscript may answer some of the questions his family has about their past.
Readers looking for a suspenseful story should give The Discovery a try. It’s so engaging that I found myself reading “just one more” chapter again and again. There is no negative issue arising from the back and forth between the present day with Michael and the past with his grandfather’s manuscript. Most of the book is the manuscript, with brief breaks in the action to see Michael’s reaction to what he is reading. This seems like a good way to handle the different time periods, and serves to heighten the suspense.
The story told in the manuscript starts off a little slow, but when the action picks up, it gets more interesting and once the FBI gets involved, it’s hard to put down. I enjoyed the love story between Ben and Claire, although some parts were oddly devoid of emotion. At times, Walsh resorts to telling the reader what the character is feeling, rather than showing us, which flattens what could otherwise be an emotional scene.
My other complaint is that the mystery aspect is pretty easily solved. I’m not sure how we are supposed to believe that Michael doesn’t figure it out sooner.
These issues are minor though, and for the most part, the writing is very good. Walsh is skillful at setting scenes and moving the plot along at a brisk pace. The character development is also well-done. Michael and Jenn are both likeable and seem genuine. In the manuscript, Ben and Claire are sympathetic characters and I was eager to find out how their lives would turn out. We are given a good amount of insight into Claire’s parents as well, and their actions offer a memorable lesson about the sacrifices parents will make if their child’s happiness is at stake.
There are some Christian elements in the book, including some references to prayer and God’s love. Although they don’t play a major role in the book, they are a nice touch and don’t seem out of place.
Michael Warner is deeply grieved by the death of his grandfather, a giant in the world of fiction authors. His grandfather’s books of war and intrigue have sold in the millions. When Michael inherits his grandfather’s rambling home in Charleston, along with enough money for him and his wife to live comfortably for the rest of their lives, he realizes that his own dream of becoming a writer might actually come to fruition.
But Michael will discover more in his grandfather’s home than just a great place to live. He is led to an unpublished manuscript that Michael realizes his grandfather meant for him to find. As he begins reading, Michael is transported back in time to 1942. What he finds in those pages is more than a remarkable story of suspense, intrigue, and romance – he finds the key to the secrets of his family’s past.
The Discovery had many of the aspects that I like in a novel: the historical portion was very rich, the characters experienced growth of some sort, the story (once it got started) kept moving, and I was entertained. I even liked the idea of a “novel-within-a-novel.”
But it was so much more than that. More than I can even really explain. After I got settled into the book, especially the historical part, I was hooked, and I couldn’t read it quickly enough. The characters were written so well, as were the action sequences, that I could even see this one as a movie, which I definitely cannot say about every book I read.
The writing and the flow of this novel were really good. Even though I don’t usually like it when new characters are introduced more than halfway through a book, especially if we are getting the story from their point of view, in this book that disruption in flow didn’t last long. It even seemed to be fitting, and I was able to settle back in very quickly.
This novel focuses mostly on the historical part of the story, which I like in these types of books. Others might appreciate more of a balance between the “past” story and the “present” story, but since I like historical fiction so much, I prefer staying in the past for most of the book. I also felt that this novel had just the right amount of suspense and revelation, even with the modern-day story. I liked how the reader gets the mystery long before the narrator Michael does. I can see how someone would find this frustrating, but I thought it was amusing. I felt like yelling at Michael, “Come on, dude! Just put two and two together!” But, having said that, I really enjoyed the “light bulb” moment that Michael had.
This novel went much deeper than I was expecting when I first started reading. It really makes you think about moral dilemmas and situations such as: is it ever OK to lie? What about in dire circumstances? What would you do…and what would you be willing to give up…for true love? This story is ultimately one of sacrifice and mercy, and it is very powerful.
The author’s note at the end of this book was really interesting as well. It was neat to get some insight into how this story came to be.
Despite the war-time events, the secrets, and the action, The Discovery is still a romance at its core. I don’t usually get swept up in grand romances (Titanic, for example, is NOT one of my favorite movies. Not even close.), but this romantic storyline blew me away.
The tag line of this book from the publisher is “An Engrossing Story of Family Secrets and a Love for the Ages” – an absolutely perfect description for this novel.