“Full Circle” by Richard Ellis Shaw


Richard Ellis Shaw
Outskirts Press (2019)
ISBN 9781977204622
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (11/19)

“Full Circle” by Richard Ellis Shaw is a touching story about love, loss, secrets, and how the choices we make can impact us for the rest of our lives.

Maggie and Pike have enjoyed a loving, committed relationship ever since they met at Bolton College. As they each navigate through coming of age, planning their futures and reaching their goals, behind all of their individual motivations is the knowledge they will spend their lives together. On the cusp of fulfilling their dreams, a misunderstanding, instigated by a vindictive young girl, devastates the ties that bind Maggie and Pike together, and forever alters the course of their journey. Pike’s betrayal cuts deep through Maggie’s heart, and she is carrying a secret of her own. Maggie and Pike’s paths cross again years later as fate gives them another chance, but can they get past the obstacles they faced decades ago?

“Full Circle” is a tender read for those who enjoy a bittersweet story of love and life. I love the premise of the story, including the classic boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-finds-girl-again narrative and letting the words invoke nostalgic feelings as I read. The setting around Pelican Island and the Atlantic Ocean stirred up vivid pictures of a time in my own life long passed, the small-town everyone-knows-everyone vibe strong throughout the pages.

The characters range from quirky to traditional.  The most amusing cast of characters in the story are the “regulars,” a group of islanders – those who grew up on Pelican Island, now in their early sixties.  The behavior patterns of the “regulars,” their gossip and speculation about any newcomers to the island made for a fun side story. All towns have “regulars” and it was entertaining to get a glimpse into the lives of this group.

I would like to have seen more depth in the main characters. Both Maggie and Pike are likable and relatable, I just wanted to know them better. I often felt like I needed a bit more vulnerability from them in order to connect. For me the detachment came from some of the dialogue, which felt stilted at times.

Overall, “Full Circle” by Richard Ellis Shaw is a read that will spark the interest of those who love a good beach read, and a timeless coming of age romance that truly comes full circle.

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