Title: Sea of Memories
Author: Fiona Valpy
Length: 275 pages (kindle edition)
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
I am a huge fan of Fiona’s, loving her other book ‘The Beekeepers Promise’ and I had high hopes for this book. Did it live up to my expectations?
When Kendra first visits her ailing grandmother, Ella has only one request: that Kendra write her story down, before she forgets… In 1937, seventeen-year-old Ella’s life changes forever when she is sent to spend the summer on the beautiful Île de Ré and meets the charismatic, creative Christophe. They spend the summer together, exploring the island’s sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, and, for the first time in her life Ella feels truly free. But the outbreak of war casts everything in a new light. Ella is forced to return to Scotland, where she volunteers for the war effort alongside the dashing Angus. In this new world, Ella feels herself drifting further and further from who she was on the Île de Ré. Can she ever find her way back? And does she want to?
‘Never lose hope. Even when everything else is gone. Life without hope is a living death. Hope is what makes us human. Without it, we are in danger of losing touch with what it is to be alive.’
Fiona Valpy is a fantastic author. I could just leave the review there, but then I wouldn’t get to share about this fantastic book. There’s not many writers out there that can get you so emotionally invested in characters that quickly. It amazes me, a few pages in and I’m hooked.
This book is set in two different times. In the tumultuous beginnings of WW1 and in modern day Scotland. Fiona does both seamlessly. While the main focus of the book, in my opinion, is the story that set in the past, I found myself just as excited to read about the present day.
You follow the story of Ella, as she heads to spend the summer in France, with family friends, where she encounters new experiences, first loves and utter happiness until France and England become torn by war.From then on we see how this affects Ella’s love with Christophe and her life after.
Ella is such a likeable character, to follow her story is a real pleasure. To read about her falling in love for the first time is such joy. Fiona writes it so well, they fall in love quickly in the book, yet it’s totally believable. Then it’s fascinating to read what’s happen to Ella as war rages on.
Fiona Valpy really is a master at Historical Fiction. You really get a sense of the atmosphere, the fear, the panic and the fighting spirit of WW1. I found myself desperately wanting to go to Île de Ré because of Fiona’s descriptions. They are so detailed and atmospheric, it’s wonderful.
It’s also great to see a Woman’s side of the war. There aren’t enough books that focus on that, especially smart women like Ella. This story continues after the war, as we read Ella trying to put her life back together, whilst building a new future. This book, at multiple times, is heartbreaking. Don’t read this without some tissues near by. Why did you do that to me, Fiona?
So, if you haven’t read this book. Or any other of Fiona Valpys books, I seriously can’t recommend them enough. It’s Historical Fiction at its finest. Fiona also has a new book coming out later this year. I can’t wait, I’m already excited. Let me know, if you’ve read any or plan to read these books.
Until the next review