Once again Melody Carlson has pulled me into one of her books and held me captive for a few hours that flew by much too quickly. I thoroughly enjoyed Harbor Secrets, a novel set on the Oregon coast during the turbulent era of Prohibition. I particularly enjoyed this story because my daughter now lives on the Oregon coast and it was fun to learn some of its history through the lives of the characters.

Anna McDowell is a strong, single mother who has been estranged from her father for many years. Returning home with her teen daughter after her father suffers a stroke, Anna takes over her father’s newspaper until he can recover. Most residents are not very happy with a woman in charge of the paper and it doesn’t take very long for Anna to realize that something fishy is going on in Sunset Cove. As she investigates, she also finds herself the center of attention of more than one eligible bachelor.

As the title indicates, this suspenseful tale is filled with secrets, some that directly affect Anna’s life. In the midst of all the action, danger, suspense, and romance is a strong story of forgiveness and reconciliation that led to a particularly satisfying ending.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.


A Peaceful Coastal Town…Threatened by a Storm of Secrets

It’s 1916 when newspaper woman Anna McDowell learns her estranged father has suffered a stroke. Deciding it’s time to repair bridges, Anna packs up her precocious adolescent daughter and heads for her hometown in Sunset Cove, Oregon.

Although much has changed since the turn of the century, some things haven’t. Anna finds the staff of her father’s paper not exactly eager to welcome a woman into the editor-in-chief role, but her father insists he wants her at the helm. Anna is quickly pulled into the charming town and her new position…but just as quickly learns this seaside getaway harbors some dark and dangerous secrets.

With Oregon’s new statewide prohibition in effect, crime has crept along the seacoast and invaded even idyllic Sunset Cove. Anna only meant to get to know her father again over the summer, but instead she finds herself rooting out the biggest story the town has ever seen—and trying to keep her daughter safe from it all.


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.