Book Review: Submerged

Submerged by Dani Pettrey toggles between a plot to steal ancient Russian artifacts and the main character, Bailey’s fear of the past when Bailey returns to Yancy, Alaska after her Aunt’s death.

Lots of things change with the passing of time. People change and people forget. Bailey Craig has lived in Oregon, teaching Russian history when a phone call from Yancy, Alaska disrupts her life. Her Aunt has been more of a mother to her than her own mother and Bailey reluctantly returns to go through her Aunt’s things and sell the trading post, but there are people there who know her by a less than complimentary name: Easy Lay Bay. Yancy is a small, tourist town; a place people grow up in and die. Old stories are rarely forgotten, but unbeknownst to Bailey a lot has been forgiven. Change didn’t happen just to Bailey’s life.

Cole McKenna, her high school love, is older now and still unmarried. He runs a dive school and volunteers as a rescue diver. Bailey still loves him. Cole still loves her. Yet, Bailey hears her nickname in her mind and runs from any intimacy Cole may offer. Through break-ins, disguised bad guys, and danger, Cole and Bailey grow close. Cole helps Bailey understand that at some point she’s got to stop running from the past.

Submerged is surprisingly deep and effectively emotional. There’s so much Russian history in the novel that questions arose in my mind. Does the author, Dani, also have a degree in Russian history much like Bailey’s character? What is true in the fiction novel and what history is tweaked for the sake of plot? I love how Dani uses history to create a complicated story where money and power go international.

I gave this book four stars. There’s a lot of detail that’s needed for the plot which makes it for a slow read, but it’s a great novel. Bailey exercises fear and self-control in the face of her attraction to Cole. Dani shows the struggles of one girl who doesn’t want to repeat her past mistakes, and through forgiveness grows close to Yancy’s community again.

*Book given by the publisher to review.