In this beautiful, lyrical sequel to the critically acclaimed We Were the Salt of the Sea, Detective Moralès finds that a seemingly straightforward search for a missing fisherwoman off Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula is anything but …
When an abandoned lobster trawler is found adrift off the coast of Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, DS Joaquin Moralès begins a straightforward search for the boat’s missing captain, Angel Roberts – a rare female in a male-dominated world.
But Moralès finds himself blocked at every turn – by his police colleagues, by fisheries bureaucrats, and by his grown-up son, who has turned up at his door with a host of his own personal problems.
When Angel’s body is finally discovered, it’s clear something very sinister is afoot, and Moralès and son are pulled into murky, dangerous waters, where old resentments run deep.
Anyone that reads my reviews on a regular basis, will know that I am a massive fan of any novel published by Orenda Books! They bring us consistently superb quality fiction all the time. This book once again reinforces their reputation as a Indie publisher, that deserves to sit at the same table as the bigger publishing houses.
The Coral Bride by Roxanne Bouchard is utterly mesmerizing, full of lyrical prose that catches the imagination in its embrace and transports you Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, the land the story is based in. With descriptions such as “shards of moonlight shimmering” on the sea, the surface alight as it stretches to the horizon, you feel as if your there, as if you could dip your toes into the sea yourself! The land and the sea are as much a characters in this stunning read. as Morales himself! Feeling as if you could bathe yourself in the sea because if feels so tangible makes a book come alive. I felt as if I could not just touch the sea and the land around it, but feel the wind, the cold and the wild abandon of the landscape.
Add in superb characterisation and this book is lifted into another level. Morales returns for a second outing and I frankly couldn’t love him more than I do. Dedicated to his job, forming a love affair with the land around him, neither perfect or too flawed, he is given another dimension in The Coral Bride by the introduction of his son, Sebastien! Roxanne Bouchard fleshes him out further in this second book, by introducing us to more of his past, through his son. She gives us the family man, the father, the detective, all the things that make Morales the person he is. The sum of all of his parts, not a simple one dimensional caricature, but flesh and blood made real within the pages of this elegant novel. Sebastien is not there though, to just support his father’s development as a character, but to tell his own story and I hope he remains in any forthcoming books! He drives into town with a few pots and pans, running from a ruined relationship, full of self pity and looking to blame someone for his own faults. Yet by the end he has developed into a character, equally as fascinating as his dad and has a sense of insight that makes him an integral part of the story.
As for the story itself as I am sure you have figured out by now, I loved it, because not only is it full of atmosphere and ladles of tension, it is quietly emotive. Angel’s death is portrayed as having an impact on all the people she knew, we are taken into their relationship with her and the writer teases out how each had some motive for killing her. Yet right until the killer is revealed, their identity remained a mystery to me and when the revelation came, it was a utter surprise. Twisted and terrifying and yet utterly compelling, The Coral Bride has it all and is the prefect package.
But why not consider ordering from your local indie, they need our support all the time, but under the current circumstances, that need could save them!
About the author
Ten years or so ago, Roxanne Bouchard decided it was time she found her sea legs. So she learned to sail, first on the St Lawrence River, before taking to the open waters off the Gaspé Peninsula. The local fishermen soon invited her aboard to reel in their lobster nets, and Roxanne saw for herself that the sunrise over Bonaventure never lies. Her fifth novel (first translated into English) We Were the Salt of the Seawas published in 2018 to resounding critical acclaim, sure to be followed by its sequel, The Coral Bride.She lives in Quebec.