A story set in a cozy, small-town as the US joins WWII... Surf Smugglers by Melody Carlson (Review & #Giveaway) @Celebrate_Lit #READatWhiteFire #LegacyofSunsetCove

Welcome to my tour stop! Check out my review and the giveaway below...

Surf Smugglers
(The Legacy of Sunset Cove #3)
By Melody Carlson
Christian Historical Fiction
Paperback & ebook, 348 Pages
August 15th 2019 by WhiteFire Publishing


In the summer of 1917, US troops join the allied forces in the Great War. Back in Sunset Cove, Oregon, other battles wage. Anna McDowell continues to fight old fashioned stereotypes as she runs a newspaper committed to truth. Despite opposition, she’s determined to expose ongoing rum-running and prohibition lawlessness.

Adding to Anna’s frustrations, her good friend Dr. Daniel seems to run hot and cold. He loves Oregon, and maybe Anna too, but he’s pulled by his East Coast family responsibilities. Even the lure of a new modern Sunset Cove hospital doesn’t seem enough to keep him in Sunset Cove.

Meanwhile, Anna’s strong-willed daughter Katy continues to develop her dress shop by inviting family friend Sarah Rose to help out. But the woman’s presence tests the small town’s tolerance. And Anna’s concern that her daughter is growing up too fast is confirmed when Katy’s romantic life takes an unexpected turn, which Anna fears is influenced by the pressure of a devastating war that is not only changing the entire world but Sunset Cove as well.

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My Review

SURF SMUGGLERS is the third book in Carlson's series set in a cozy coastal Oregon town. Readers will enjoy finding out what is going on in these characters' lives as they face rum-running during prohibition, as the United States joins WWII, and as they search for their own happily-ever-afters. Recommended to inspirational and general historical fiction fans.

I somehow missed the second book in this series after reading the first, but the author did a good job in catching readers up enough that I never felt lost in this story. I felt more invested in these characters after having read the first book even though they're more settled in this story. There are two point-of-views, one for Anna and another for her daughter Katy. It was interesting seeing their different perspectives on their town, current issues, the war, and romance. The romance is fairly low key and is not the main focus of this story, but does play an important role in it. The inspirational element is also light, more of just intertwined in who these characters are and the beliefs at the time, which make it a good series for general historical fiction readers as well.

The story does have quite a bit going on, but reads at a leisure pace. It feels like reading a cozy mystery, but without the constant suspense. This series focuses on this family and how they deal with the issues they face. Rum-running is still happening as the story is set during prohibition, and some are suspected of joining in on that illegal activity. There is a dear friend who comes to town to stay who is the only African American there. This brings up issues of racism that shadows somewhat the movement going on in the country. There is the war and men leaving to serve and how that affects this family and town. Then these two woman are also trying to figure out how to be career women with their own dreams while somehow fitting in society's as well as their love interests' expectations. Through it all, family and friends support and help one another, with a bittersweet ending that leaves readers anticipating the next book.

In the end, was it what I wished for? I enjoyed reading this. It definitely isn't a page turner, but it does engage your emotions and I am curious as to how things turn out for Anna, Katy, and their family and friends.

Content: Clean
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Celebrate Lit, which did not require a positive review nor affect it in any way.

Other Books in the Series

About the Author

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, True Colors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including RT’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita, and the Gold medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.

More from Melody

My favorite way to learn history is through historical fiction—both by reading and by writing it. And I’ve discovered that World War 1 (previously known as the Great War, since WW2 had yet to happen) is quite fascinating. As well as incredibly sad. But I’m amazed at how science and technology evolved so quickly in this era. Whether it was advancement in automotive, communication, medicine . . . the culture was rapidly changing. And the war pushed it along at an even faster pace.

Another factor that makes this era interesting is prohibition. Oregon, my home state and where I set my series, was one of the earliest states to adopt prohibition of alcohol—in 1914. As a result, Oregon became ripe territory for bootlegging and rum-running along the coastline. And because my series involves a small town coastal newspaper that’s run (gasp!) by a woman, it gets even more interesting—and exciting!

Speaking of women, the suffrage movement was approved in Oregon in 1912—also well ahead of the rest of the nation (and the main reason that prohibition passed). My theory on why this happened is that the brave women who’d made the arduous journey West (via perilous wagon train or long hard voyages on clipper ships) were strong and opinionated and tough. And many of them were sick and tired of drunken slacker husbands. Also, thanks to Oregon’s amazing land donation act of 1850, many of these women were equal landowners to their husbands—and land equaled power.

Of course, what these suffragette-prohibition supporters didn’t realize is that banning alcohol would make matters worse because bootlegging and rum-running suddenly became a very lucrative business. The crime rate soared and the booze continued to flow freely. But all this makes for good newspaper stories, keeping our female editor in chief rather busy. In the first two books of the series, Anna McDowell has her hands full with trying to run her ailing father’s newspaper, restoring family relationships, and staying ahead of the growing crime element in Sunset Cove.

By book three, Surf Smugglers, Anna has her feet under her and doing a good job of standing up to the criminal element in their region. But by now the Great War is really heating up and the United States must get involved. Of course, this means that many young men, as well as Anna’s very good friend Dr. Daniel Hollister, are being shipped overseas to serve. Meanwhile, there is plenty of trouble at home. And the rum-runners, who despise the newspaper’s support of prohibition, target Anna’s good friend Sarah Rose because she’s a woman of color who’s sought refuge from the big city . . . and naturally things get dicey.

I’m currently finishing up the fourth and final book of the Legacy if Sunset Cove series, and I’m sad to think my ‘history lesson’ in this interesting era is drawing to an end. Not only have I learned a lot, I’ve really come to love the McDowell family . . . and I’m getting worried that not all the men from Sunset Cove will survive the brutal war. Of course, this is fiction . . . but the war was very real and the losses were great. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the war to end all wars like they’d hoped, but I appreciate the sentiment . . . and continue to pray for world peace.

Tour Schedule

The Avid Reader, August 31
Connect in Fiction, August 31
Among the Reads, September 1
She Lives To Read, September 1
For Him and My Family, September 2
Just the Write Escape, September 3
Patiently Waiting, September 3
Blogging With Carol , September 3
CarpeDiem, September 4
Betti Mace, September 4
Christian Bookaholic , September 4
Wishful Endings, September 5
Remembrancy, September 5
Maureen’s Musings, September 6
Bigreadersite , September 7
Hallie Reads, September 8
Moments, September 9
Simple Harvest Reads, September 9
Locks, Hooks and Books, September 10
Pause for Tales, September 10
To Everything A Season, September 10
Retrospective Spines, September 11
Texas Book-aholic, September 11
Older & Smarter?, September 12
janicesbookreviews, September 13
A Reader’s Brain, September 13
Inklings and notions , September 13

Tour-Wide Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melody is giving away the grand prize of three of her books: Harbor Secrets, Riptide Rumors, and Surf Smugglers!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Have you read any of the books in this series? Do you enjoy reading historical cozy mysteries?

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