It was the night before Christmas in Brisbane, Australia, when the tsunami struck, taking lives and tearing families apart.

Frank Mercy lost his pregnant wife Natalie and several members of her family.

A former cop, Frank is assisting with rescue attempts when he finds two young boys in a purple van, almost submerged by water. The older boy insists that he take the younger one, and he carries him away.

There is something unique about the boy whom he calls Ian. A special gift that calms people down: a kind of telepathy. Has Frank taken him because something in the boy insists on it? Or does he know that he must protect him somehow?

After everything settles down in Brisbane, Frank takes Ian with him to Wisconsin, to his mother, Hope, and his sister Eden. They would settle in at Tenacity Farm and the horses that were part of his life.

At the ranch, Frank helps train the horses…and meets Claudia, a psychiatrist who is also an equestrian. She asks Frank to train her to perform on her horse.

But perhaps Claudia can also help with Ian, whose special gifts may have made him a target for sinister characters.

Two If by Sea was a book that captured my interest, for the most part, although it rambled on for longer than I would have liked, and there were sections, mostly those involving horse training, that I slogged through.

However, I had to keep reading, because I wanted to know what would happen to Frank, to Claudia, and to Ian and his brother Colin, who came to them from an orphanage in Australia.

There were surprises along the way, and a sense of dark foreboding that never lessened. And then, finally, after the whole family moved to England to start over once again, and in the face of a new form of the recurring danger, something truly mystical and triumphant would bring the story to its conclusion. 4 stars.

ratings worms 4-cropped***