Novel relates charming story of adventure | Jacksonville News, Sports and Entertainment

St. Johns author Mark Griffis’ debut novel “Coastal Treasure,” takes you on the journey of two spunky adolescent boys growing up in a quaint North Florida beach town at the dawn of the Vietnam/Civil Rights era.

He opens with a quote from the Charles Dickens’ novel “A Tale of Two Cities,” but continues with a writing style all his own.

Although the book goes back and forth from past to present day, it is primarily told from the perspective of a teenage protagonist named Jake. The novel is an engaging account of young adults taking hold of the mysteries and naiveté of adolescence and how the influence of Amos George, an elderly African-American man living in a shack, on the salt marsh, assisted them in dealing with death, bullying, first love, and racial strife.

This story also looks at gerontology with some aspects of the story being reminiscent of Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and The Sea.”

The pace of the book is good and the lyrical prose, as well as the diverse personalities of the townspeople, kept us engaged.

Our book club members agreed that once Amos George’s character was introduced, this charming story began to rise and reveal itself, like a pound cake rising in the oven! Amos’ likable personality, wit and relationships with characters, Rory and Jake, captured our hearts and held our interest.

The story takes place in Fernandina Beach; however, Griffis took creative license to change some elements of this beautiful city to enhance his story.

“Coastal Treasure” is just that … an impressive first novel to
be treasured that we enjoyed reading.


The U.S. Girls (Unique, Sophisticated Girlfriends Inspirational Reading and Literary Society) Book Club of Jacksonville was founded in 2004 and, according to its website, currently has 12 members. Founding Members include Karen H. Lewis, Jennie Blue, Valerie Jefferson and Ardee Harris. See for more…

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