Member Review

Cover Image: Beyond That, the Sea

Beyond That, the Sea

Pub Date:

Review by

Dawn V, Reviewer

I have to say I was quite an emotional mess when I finished this book. It was a roller coaster ride and I definitely didn’t want to get off. I read it as part of a buddy read group and while my friends sped through it because they couldn’t get enough I actually put it away because I didn’t want it to end. That’s a testament to the beauty, aching tenderness, sadness, and pure heart that went into Laura Spence-Ash’s DEBUT novel, Beyond That, the Sea.

I went into this reading blindly, only knowing it was about WWII and a young girl coming to America. I will try not to give away too much because truly, the story deserves to be read as such.

In 1940, German bombs have been to fall in London. Reggie and Millie make the difficult decision to send 11 year-old Beatrix to America for safety, along with other British children. She comes to live with Ethan and Nancy Gregory, “Mr & Mrs G.”, and their two sons, Gerald and William in Boston.

As the war ends she must return home, but what is home anymore?
“The girl in the tale is different from the girl at home, and this will all become something that once happened to her in a dream.”

The book ranges from 1940 to 1965 (with the epilogue in 1977). The chapters alternate between the POV of the different characters. In my opinion, although it is technically a book that takes place during a historical event I wouldn’t necessarily classify it a historical fiction novel. I mean, technically it is one because it’s about the past (in the same way that Carrie Soto is one) but I’m more apt to classify it as a coming-of-age/Bildungsroman as we see Beatrix go through a huge change from age 11 to 36. (But I’m not a publisher so 😂)

I read this as an immersive read with the digital version and the audiobook. Ell Potter was a delicious narrator. I want her to read absolutely everything to me. She embodies Bea.

I can’t wait to read Laura Spence-Ash for years to come. The debuts this year have been phenomenal!

Thanks to Netgalley, Celadon for the eARC, and Macmillan Audio for the ALC!
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