Cover image for The salt garden
The salt garden
Martinusen-Coloma, Cindy, 1970-
Publication Information:
Wheaton, Ill. : Tyndale House Publishers, [2004]

Physical Description:
313 pages ; 21 cm
Format :


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Claire O'Rourke is a young writer looking forward to a glowing career in publishing. Sophia Fleming is an aging recluse whose painful past has kept her hidden away for decades. Each woman brings to the other a different view of the same God-one from unbroken faith and great expectations of what God can do, the other from a faith that wavered as a young woman but found healing through years of prayer and seeking God alone. In spite of their differences, their hearts are drawn together, even as circumstances threaten their relationship and their dreams.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The lovely title of this Christian novel hints at its themes of shipwreck, youth lost and romance by the sea. In the waters beyond a small town on the Pacific coast, a shipwreck is being salvaged that will disclose secrets from the past. Martinusen (North of Tomorrow) tells her story from the viewpoints of three women. Claire O'Rourke is a San Francisco reporter recently returned to her small hometown of Harper's Bay for a short visit, but a contrived plot device leaves her back home for good and looking for work at The Tidal Post, a local newspaper. Her path soon intersects with that of Sophia Fleming, a 70-something reclusive author whom Claire has admired since childhood. When a salt-damaged book washes ashore, some long-buried secrets are illuminated through the journal entries of Josephine Vanderook, a passenger on an ill-fated ship. As the story unfolds, Martinusen introduces enjoyable characters: "Cap Charlie" is an old salt who makes lattes and espresso below decks; Claire's potential love interest, Griffin Anderson, is a scrap junk sculptor whose work is displayed on town roofs. Despite some good descriptions, Martinusen often overwrites ("glaze drips likes a lazy yawn onto the table") and the pacing, mired in description and wordiness, drags. The city-girl-returns-to-her-hometown theme has been done to death in CBA fiction, and the somewhat unfocused story never really takes off. However, Martinusen has potential, and despite the problems in this story, her talent shines through. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Literary, heartfelt prose distinguishes this beautiful story about two women living on the fringes of a small coastal town in California. Reclusive writer Sophia Fleming withdrew from the world over 30 years ago after suffering a loss she could not bear. Her only company over the long years has been her childhood friend and neighbor, Ben Wilson. Ben's grown son wants his aging father to move closer to him, leaving behind Sophia and his lighthouse home. Reporter Claire O'Rourke, who just lost her job at a major San Francisco newspaper, is forced to take a position at her small, hometown newspaper. When her car breaks down, Claire seeks help from Sophia, and the women embark on an unexpected friendship that helps Claire understand where she is headed and allows Sophia to come to terms with where she has been. Readers who enjoyed Annie Proulx's The Shipping News will want to savor Martinusen's (Winter Passing) lyrical sea imagery. Highly recommended for all collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.