ISBN #: 978-0983714804
Page Count: 232
Copyright: November 1, 2011
Publisher: Broad Creek Press
(Taken from author's website)
As friends move away from the safe enclave of Lukens that always been her home, Ella Marie Hutchins struggles with the decision to leave the disappearing coastal town near Oriental. Her choice might be made for when World War II edges closer to the North Carolina coastal village, but not before a sailor teaches her how to really see all the treasures of life both above and below the ocean's surface. But is Griff really what he appears to be?
In this fast-moving tale of a vanishing town set in 1942, war-time reality challenges long-held perceptions, and change becomes a way of life for the occupants of Lukens.
Leaving Lukens opens in the year 2000 with Ella Marie Hutchins returning to her childhood home for a reunion of the families of Lukens. Ella was only 17 years old in 1942, when World War II hit her small coastal town hard, and residents quickly moved away to larger areas with better jobs. As she looks back over that year, she recalls the hardship of leaving home, and the young man that changed her perspective on the future. Interspersed throughout this historical romance are vignettes of life during wartime, that bring the fear of the Nazis to the forefront.
I was especially impressed with Ms. Wharton's grasp of the historical during this time period, especially regarding the innocence and embedded fear of the War. Much research had to have been done regarding the area and its people, and it is evident in the content of the story. While a topic such as the Nazis could take over a story, the characters in Leaving Lukens are what truly shine. Ella is a young girl conflicted with the changes in her life, but soon learns to come to terms with the future. Griff, meanwhile, is a mysterious force that beckons to Ella, changing her future, forever.
Leaving Lukens reads so smoothly you can devour it in no time. It is engrossing in its theme, and in its lyrical style. Part historic fiction, part romance, packed with adventure and mystery, it holds your attention throughout. The ending was very climactic, and surprising. I truly hated to see it end, but enjoyed every minute spent in its pages.