Aug 17, 2015

Sea Weekend Book Review: Beyond the Sea by Melissa Bailey

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Review by Suze

Freya has lost her husband and son. Their boat has been found empty, so they probably died at sea. She's heartbroken and she's a mess. After a while she returns to their cottage on a remote island, which is next to a lighthouse. There she finds her son's diary. She starts to retrace his last days. She also receives an envelope with letters from centuries ago that have been found by her son. They are about myths and every day life at sea. The diary and letters are giving her a little bit of purpose.

Slowly Freya is starting to find herself again. The hurt will never go away, but she manages to be able to think a bit more clearly from time to time. She discovers something beautiful among her son's things and even though she receives a warning about the danger of this mythical item she decides to keep it and treasure it as it brings her son a little closer. She goes through various stages of grief, but she isn't the only one who's hurt. A remote island is a dangerous place to be when someone means you harm...

Beyond the Sea is a beautiful story about love and loss. Freya has lost the two people who were the most dear to her, her husband and son. She has disturbing dreams about them and about their last day. Every time she unravels a bit of what must have happened to them. The question is if it brings more problems or if it only brings her acceptance. I love how Melissa Bailey dealt with this sensitive topic. She beautifully describes the grief. It's raw, honest and lonely. While it's overwhelming for Freya I felt like it never became too much for me as a reader.

I liked the myths that surround the islands. It was great to read about tales of mermaids and I loved reading the letters that Freya's son found at sea. The sea plays a big role in this book, both in mythical sense and in reality. It's never entirely clear where one ends and the other begins. It's fascinating, I was gripped, enthralled and moved. I couldn't stop reading. Fortunately Melissa Bailey knows how to write and the story keeps its high quality from beginning to end. The finale is really strong and unexpected. I highly recommend this book, it's really, really good.

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