Saturday, August 31, 2019

Surf Smugglers by Melody Carlson: Review and Giveaway!

About the Book

Book: Surf Smugglers

Author: Melody Carlson

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: August 15, 2019

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.

Click here to grab your copy.
Cape Perpetua, Oregon

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.
Prohibition 1920-1933

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!
themusicalpotterhead: “ Why women ought to vote. ”
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.
Tailleur 1917                                                                                                                                                                                 Plus
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.
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of citizens for military service. On April 17th, 1942 conscription was passed in Canada. Over 80% of English Canadians voted for and over 70% of French Canadians voted against. It was a political and military crisis that caused a division among Canada and its people.
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.
Mariées vintage - 1917

My Thoughts

Surf Smugglers by Melody Carlson is the third novel The Legacy of Sunset Cove series.  This series needs to be read in order as each book builds upon the previous one.  It is May of 1917 in Sunset Cove, Oregon where Anna McDowell is the editor-in-chief of Sunset Times.  Her father, Mac is doing recovering nicely from his stroke and Anna’s daughter, Katy is busy with Kathleen’s Dress Shop.  Katy is still dating Jim Stafford, a newspaper reporter and second in command at the Sunset Times.  Katy has invited Sarah Rose Lewis, her childhood caretaker, to come to Sunset Cove when she learns of the difficulty the woman is experiencing in Portland.  Katy has a big heart, but she failed to take into consideration that Sarah Rose will be the only woman of color in their town.  Anna does not want Sarah Rose hurt by small minded people.  Dr. Daniel Hollister is upset over losing a patient and learns that his father is ill.  Anna believes the town needs its own hospital and wonders if she can rally the support needed for the project. I thought Surf Smugglers was well-written and it proceeded at a thoughtful pace.  I have enjoyed this series with its heartwarming characters from multiple generations which provides different perspectives.  I like the dialogue between the characters as well as the interactions.  The author captured the time period with references to events taking place at that time as well as the clothing, conveyances and attitudes.  The Conscription Act has been passed, war is waging in Europe, Woodrow Wilson is president, the change in clothing styles, women’s right to vote, and prohibition are all included in Surf Smugglers.  Local men will be heading off to war and one woman makes an impulsive decision.  I am eager to read the final book in The Legacy of Sunset Cove series to find out what happens next in Sunset Cove.  They have endured so much in their little town, but now their men are off at war and those at home must hope they will return safely.  Hope and forgiveness are two of the themes present in the story.  Surf Smugglers is a lovely historical novel with illegal hooch, express enlistment, hasty nuptials, fluctuating fashions, and worried women.  
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 (schedule below) for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the here to enter.  Harbor Secrets, Riptide Rumors and Surf Smugglers are available at Amazon (Amazon UK). Christmas at Winter Hill by Melody Carlson comes out on September 3.  I will be reviewing Fatal Promise by Angela Marsons tomorrow.   It is the ninth D.I. Kim Stone Novel. On Sunday's, I feature a book that I was unable to when it was released. May you have an enchanting day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

They were the original typewriters, not just the machines.

Blog Stops

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
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
Joseph Farquharson | Victorian Landscape painter | Tutt'Art@ | Pittura * Scultura * Poesia * Musica |


  1. Thanks so much for the interesting review! Looking forward to reading these books!
    Thanks so much for the chance to win!
    faithdcreech at gmail dot com

  2. Wonderful review! Thank you for being part of the tour.

  3. I really enjoyed the description of the book. Looking forward to reading the series, love historical fiction.