Book Title: The Last Treasure
Author: Erika Marks
Genres: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction, Chick Lit, Historical Fiction, Southern Fiction
Date Read: 09/02/16
Pub Date: 08/02/16
As students with a shared passion for shipwrecks, Liv, Sam, and Whit formed a close bond searching for the mysterious Patriot, a schooner that disappeared off the Carolina Coast in 1812 with Aaron Burr’s daughter Theodosia aboard. But as the elusive ship drew them together, love would bring them even closer—and ultimately tear them apart.
It’s been seven years since Liv left Sam to be with Whit, and the once close-knit triowent their separate ways. Liv has given up her obsession with Theodosia Burr to focus on her career as a salvage diver and her passionate but troubled marriage to the reckless and hedonistic Whit. But when a diary of Theodosia’s is discovered in a collector’s estate, she is pulled back to the world of the Patriot, this time with startling new clues to what might have really happened.
Diving back into the lost history of the Patriot could be just what Liv needs to find closure to a mystery that still haunts her. But when she and Whit reunite with Sam for one last salvage in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, buried romantic tensions begin to resurface, and once again Liv must choose between two men with very different hearts.
I will hastily be filing this under “all the feels”, because it gave me just that. I am a hardcore sucker for southern fiction, and if you throw in a historical (fictional) mystery, you officially own me. Who doesn’t love a story involving the ocean and treasure hunters? I was lucky enough to win this off a fabulous author’s Facebook giveaway (thanks Kerry!) and knew between the cover and the blurb that I’d found a fantastic summer read. I had just finished a heavy, dark story at the beach and was craving something to cleanse the palate and make me want to get out of bed again; this was perfect! The romance thing is growing on me (although you’ll never see me pick up one of those books with a cowboy and pregnant bride on the cover), and I thoroughly enjoyed this little love triangle (another thing I typically despise).
The book almost has a feel of being split into two plots; on one hand we have Liv and her modern day life, and on the other we have the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Theodosia Burr (pet name Theo) and the trio’s obsession to find out the truth regarding such. This really worked well as it kept me in suspense for nearly the entire book. We would flip back and forth between present day and past, trying to piece together why Liv and Sam broke up and what drew her and Whit together, and along the way had pieces of Theo’s story thrown in as well. One of my favorite chapters was the one including Theo’s found diary and the journal entries. I’m one of the millions of people obsessed with all things Hamilton at the moment, and this book includes a fictionalized account of Aaron Burr’s duel with Alexander Hamilton and what happened to his family following such trauma.
The characters were well developed; I would go as far as saying this book could well be categorized as a character study with a side of historical fiction. I really enjoyed getting to know Liv and was Team Whit all the way. Even from the beginning, he could basically do no wrong in my eyes. I found myself torn on my feelings for Sam, but I won’t go into that as you should read and decide for yourself. My heart truly broke for the relationship between Liv and her father, and I thought that aspect was a nice touch to the story. I grew attached to these characters and was sad to see them go once the story was over; I still am thinking of them from time to time 4 days after finishing the novel. Erika Mark’s writing reminds me of a female Nicholas Sparks; she clearly knows the south well and writes about her surroundings with ease. The whole book just flowed exceptionally well and drew me in, so much so that I immediately checked my library upon finishing for more of her books! Highly recommended to lovers of southern fiction/women’s fiction/historical fiction mixed with romance (not the graphic or cheesy kind)! Truly adored this book and can’t wait to read more from Ms. Marks!