Wonders in the Waves

A Novel Inspired by Love That Does Not Die

Fiction - Womens
326 Pages
Reviewed on 05/17/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Jennifer Collins, author, is a retired physical therapist and college professor. Her debut novel, Comfort in the Wings, emerged from the author’s own devastating experiences with loss of immediate family members. Overcome with her own loss, she found herself in awe at the outpouring of stories from others who had lost loved ones. A drive to incorporate those emotions into fictional stories has become a compelling force for writing. Encouraged by readers’ response to Comfort in the Wings, she is excited to continue the story of Larissa and her loved ones with Wonders in the Waves.
Wonders in the Waves is an inspiring story of a woman who has endured tragic loss, yet seeks to find happiness to live a meaningful life. While it is fiction, the tale is based on the author’s own experiences. The reader is transported to the seaside where the beauty of the ocean and the whisper of waves bring warmth and healing – a balm to the soul.
Collins spends her time writing and running a family business alongside her eldest son. She does both from two residences - her long-time family home in upstate New York and Hutchinson Island in Florida.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Bernadette Longu for Readers' Favorite

Jennifer Collins has taken a subject that is dear to any mother’s heart. Wonders in the Waves catches the reader's attention from the first page and holds their attention to the very last. The topic of adoption is a very sensitive subject, especially when there are still people who believe that children should not be put up for adoption but kept with their families. The author handles this delicate subject with dignity, understanding, love, information, and hope. This book cannot be put down till the end, which is one the reader will never expect, due to the amazing twists and turns that unravel in the plot.

Wonders in the Waves by Jennifer Collins takes into account the feelings that are very near the surface when someone is dealing with the death of a loved one and searching for an understanding of events in one’s life, as well as the acceptance and understanding of children that can leave an adult reeling when they make decisions and act on them without really thinking of the consequence. The author has written a book giving understanding, faith, and the realization that unconditional love is something that everyone craves, even adults who have never had the luxury. This book is a keeper, especially for anyone who has children or adopted children; it helps anyone who has gone through something like this in the best possible way. It was a great read. Thank you, Jennifer, for allowing me to read this wonderful book that helped me understand and accept certain things that have happened in my life and to realize that nobody was to blame. Life happens and what we do with it and how we deal with it is up to us. Wonders in the Waves is a book well worth keeping on your bookshelf and reading not once but more than once.

K.C. Finn

Wonders in the Waves: A Novel Inspired by Love That Does Not Die is a work in the interpersonal drama and family saga subgenres. It is a standalone novel but features the same central character as Comfort in the Wings and is penned by Jennifer Collins for the general adult reading audience. In this engaging and heartfelt tale of love, loss, heartache, and overcoming obstacles, we find ourselves back with Larissa Whitcomb after the unimaginable losses that she has suffered have settled. However, she still has a long way to go toward healing. A trip to a beach house on Hutchinson Island, Florida, leads her to new contemplations and the possibility of finding new ways to move on.

Jennifer Collins takes contemporary drama in a heartfelt direction with this tender and profoundly engaging read. The balance of this novel bowled me over because it does an excellent job of portraying deeply complex emotions and psychological states in such an accessible, easy-to-follow narrative style. The descriptive work and character journey are so well-plotted that we understand how Larissa feels at any given moment. In addition, the subtle beauty of the metaphors around her in nature and the life lessons she learns enriches the tale's atmosphere. While grief and difficult loss might not be an instant appeal to everyone, I’d recommend Wonders in the Waves to readers seeking an accomplished and emotive work of fiction that will move you to tears yet still provide hope.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Wonders in the Waves by Jennifer Collins takes you on a journey through bereavement. Larissa is a chaotic mess. Mixed tumultuous emotions flood her heart, soul, and brain. You never really get over the loss of a child. It has been almost a year since the tragic death of her daughter Emma. However, there is a lifeline of hope; her son Eric who had disappeared before Emma’s death has now returned. There is joy in reconciliation, but emptiness continues to haunt them both. Emma is not the only child lost to Larissa. When she was a teenager, she was forced to give up her baby boy for adoption. Larissa and Eric go on a quest to find him. Leaving home, trying to find comfort and the will to cherish the good moments, Larissa and Eric escape to the beach in Florida. Their beach retreat gifts them with treasures, signs, and wonders beyond belief. Just “when you think something beautiful is about to end, there is more.” Love never dies. Life goes on.

Jennifer Collins pens an incredible story in Wonders in the Waves. I was drawn to this story simply by its title; I adore the beach. The awe-inspiring power of the waves and the mesmerizing serenity of their ebb and flow is a divine paradox. There is nothing else in nature quite like it. This story also ebbs and flows, crashes, and overwhelms. The narrative is a journey of hope and discovery through heartache, weaving a tapestry of family devotion. Loss battles love. Belief wages war on doubt, promising victory in taking one more step. Collins reveals an abundance of signs to keep her characters engaged in their quest. The cast of characters is intricately connected. She takes the theory of six degrees of separation to a whole new level. Furthermore, there are some intriguing aha moments as the plot climaxes and ultimately finds its conclusion. The aspect I enjoyed the most was the inclusion of quotes at the beginning of each chapter. These set the stage wonderfully for what is about to happen. Collins reveals that love doesn’t die after someone passes; it lingers in our memories. They remain forever in our hearts.

Edith Wairimu

The poignant and moving Wonders in the Waves: A Novel Inspired by Love That Does Not Die by Jennifer Collins chronicles a mother’s journey through grief and hope after suffering unimaginable losses. Following her daughter's death, Larissa struggles to face each day while surrounded by Emma’s absence. Her son, Eric, tries to adjust to a world without his sister with the help of his father. With Eric’s encouragement and support, Larissa looks for her son, whom she gave up for adoption years ago. During the search, Eric and Larissa go to a beach retreat in Florida. Though the process of looking for her son is slowed down by protocol and missing details, Larissa remains resolute. Through her search, she encounters other people who become like family.

Led by compelling main characters, the story accurately captures the pain and disillusionment that arises from loss. It is a beautiful portrait of the security that the love of family and friends provides, especially during grief. Other characters, including Larissa’s close friends, are intriguing, likable, and complex with heart-rending stories. The search for Everett leads down different exciting paths. It is also emotional, and Jennifer Collins beautifully expresses Larissa’s emotions throughout the journey. I loved Wonders in the Waves’ authentic depiction of loss and its aftermath. This heartfelt story about familial love, friendship, grief, and hope showcases moving, authentic characters and a hopeful, rewarding ending.

Jamie Michele

Wonders in the Waves: A Novel Inspired by Love That Does Not Die by Jennifer Collins is the sequel to its predecessor, Comfort in the Wings, and reads perfectly well as a stand-alone. The book begins in the aftermath of the most horrific loss a parent could face. Larissa Whitcomb has lost her daughter Emma to a drug overdose. After some lengthy soul-searching, a bit of guidance, and decision-making, Larissa rents a house for herself and her son Eric by the ocean so they can both work toward healing, whatever it is that healing looks like in the face of such loss. Larissa also struggles with being coerced in her youth to give an infant she bore up for adoption. She thinks of him often, especially as she now feels she has lost two children. When a DNA registry pings Larissa and Eric to a very close unknown relative, the wheel of time once more begins to turn, although which direction it goes in is completely out of Larissa's hands.

First lesson learned in Wonders in the Waves by Jennifer Collins: do not start a conversation with someone you've known for a few minutes by asking them all about their children. The story has a few different angles if I had to pin down a genre it would be literary women's fiction. There are quite a few spiritual elements, although they are primarily in reference to what the universe wants, what nature provides, and what is sometimes viewed as messages from beyond, in the same sense that a butterfly might make someone feel it is a sign from a loved one who adored them. As someone who personally knows a man who discovered he had a sister when he was an adult, I was a little conflicted on the lengths Larissa was willing to go to find Everett, the son she gave up. A match on a registry and an unsolicited email could derail a person's life and at this stage, Everett and his family are complete strangers who could be on the verge of exposure to an information bomb nobody but Larissa wants. This is addressed and made compassionately believable as the dots begin to connect. I like the bits of mystery and some twists that are really good. Grief is an extraordinary emotion that runs the full course as Collins paints Larissa's grief fantastically. Overall, a slow-moving and thoughtful novel with an unexpected ending. Recommended.