Beyond the Ripples

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message in a bottle in a blue water Dede Montgomery

Bink Books
220 pp. ● 5.5×8.5
$14.95 (pb) ● $9.99 (eb)
ISBN 978-1-945805-96-7 (pb)

FICTION / Literary

Publication date: May 2019

About the Book

How might a small decision you make, an action you take, a phone call you initiate–change your path? Impact other lives? Months after spying a bottle wedged into a fallen cottonwood snag in the Columbia River, Ernest pulls it from the river. The bottle’s note connects Ernest, an old man living in a tiny Oregon town, to teenage Annie, provoking a mysterious and sudden friendship between Ernest’s daughter Amelia with Sarah, the daughter of the most recent resident of the home Annie once occupied. The two middle-aged women’s quest to learn more about Annie and her secret introduces readers to stories about family members through backstory, and introduces new characters, all connected through the finding of the bottle. Together, Amelia and Sarah explore their unfinished business with their mothers, intimate relationships, and regrets over life choices as they embark on their personal searches for something bigger in their very different lives.


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In the Media

Author Interview: Dede Montgomery” — Interview, Rose City Reader


With great and detailed backstories that bring these characters to life, Montgomery sends the universal message that we cannot live a full and contented life in isolation. We need each other — people to witness us, to help us, to guide us, and sometimes, these people are not our closest friends or family. It’s people outside of our circle looking for the same things we’re looking for: human connection. This is a warm and well-structured novel with a life-affirming message worth the read.” — Feminist Book Review

Memoirist Dede Montgomery has the uncanny ability to create the quality of presence inside story. This time, it’s through her fiction. Whether at the Columbia River shoreline with a man struggling to gather up a bottle with a note inside or in a restaurant with a waitress witnessing a meeting that will change lives, we are there, moved by these characters, cheering them on and celebrating how interconnected we humans are. Beyond the Ripples will capture your heart.” — Jane Kirkpatrick, Award-winning author of Everything She Didn’t Say

A moving, heartfelt journey through the lives of a cast of characters fatefully joined by a note in a bottle set adrift in the Willamette River. The characters — the young girl who launched the bottle, a kind octogenarian who finds it, his successful daughter who feels inexplicably unfulfilled, a salesclerk struggling to rise above an abusive partner and a controlling mother, and a burned-out teacher searching for meaning –all live and breathe with human authenticity. This beautiful book is a story of love, friendship, and growth, and a meditation on the abiding need we all have for human connection.” —- Warren C. Easley, author of Moving Targets, book 6 in the Cal Claxton Oregon Mysteries

An old fisherman, a letter, an unlikely friendship and the big rivers of Oregon-the Willamette and Columbia, inspired this fictionalized multi-story, threaded from the stories of a bygone era and rippling with the power of synchronicity that occurs whenever someone finds a message in a bottle. An enduring, reflective, and soulful read for a winter’s night.” – Jenny Forrester, author of Narrow River, Wide Sky: A Memoir