Cover Image: Far Across the Ocean

Far Across the Ocean

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Member Reviews

It's a well written and detailed story, put together beautifully. I definitely enjoyed it. 4 shiny stars from me.

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Epic, dramatic and emotional, Far Across the Ocean is a heart-wrenching historical romance from fast-rising star Suzie Hull.

December 1913 and a determined Clara Thornton vows not to allow the fact that she’s been jilted at the altar to quell her adventurous spirit and condemn her to a lonely future. Having always been determined to uncover the secrets behind the shipwreck that had taken the lives of her missionary family, Clara decides to go against her aunt and uncle’s wishes and to travel to Madagascar where she will leave no stone unturned in her quest for the truth. However, is Clara ready for what she’s about to discover?

Escorted abroad by handsome merchant Xavier Mourain, Clara immediately clashes with the enigmatic Frenchman, however, she cannot deny that she finds herself drawn to him. Yet, Xavier is a man who has his fair share of secrets he is keeping very close to his chest. With the two of them having been thrown together by fate, Clara and Xavier begin uncovering clues to help them solve the mystery behind her parents’ deaths – whilst also trying to keep their feelings for one another under wraps…

However, as their attraction for one another intensifies and their love blossoms, Clara and Xavier’s burgeoning relationship is threatened by the gathering clouds of war. With the future bleak and uncertain and their happiness in jeopardy, dare the two of them dream of brighter days ahead? Or is their love doomed?

Suzie Hull has the storyteller’s gift and in Far Across the Ocean has written a gorgeously romantic, highly immersive and wholly mesmerizing historical tale that sweeps readers away into a world of danger, emotion and passion. Far Across the Ocean is a splendidly told historical tale that tugs at the heartstrings and effortlessly breathes life into the past making the reader feel as if they are part of the story alongside Clara and Xavier.

Hard to put down and impossible to forget, Far Across the Ocean firmly cements Suzie Hull’s position as a writer to watch out for – I cannot wait for her next book.

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It is a well written novel, with punchy dialogue that rings true, and the descriptive writing brings the scenes to life.

A book that stands out from the crowd. The characters and the setting are written exceptionally well.

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Far Across the Ocean is a detailed fast paced story that is slow to start, and has great potential.

Hull has created an engaging plot by using vivid scenes and imagery to put the reader into the action. Hull has researched the invasion of France by the Germans and the impact it had on the people and unified forces. The writing style is good with a mixture of description and dialogue, however I noticed a few typos and that there was some repetition, and rushed scenes. I also found that the changes in the timeline were a little distracting.

The character development of Far Across the Ocean has a mixture of background and flashbacks. The characters are relatable and it is easy to empathise and sympathise with them, but I struggled to form a lasting connection with them, and felt that the viewpoints in the past that were in the middle of the story were lost within the events that were happening currently…

Clara is a strong and independent person. She is horrified when she jilted at her own wedding by her fiancé Robert Headley. She has been left disfigured by a tragic shipwreck that left her orphaned and lives with her Aunt Alice, who is very overbearing and her Uncle Charles. Her life has been very sheltered, but she is often pitied and gossiped about. Clara deals with feelings of self-loathing….She makes plans to return to Madagascar and find out what really happened to her family. She firstly decides to go with missionaries of the Unitarian Church, but when their trip is cancelled she has to make arrangements.

Xavier is an honest and sometimes charismatic person. He works as a trader of silks & haberdashery goods, and is a business associate of Clara's uncle Charles. He has been paid to escort Clara on her journey. He is a very private person and often comes across as quite rude…
I would suggest reading Far Across the Ocean to people who enjoy historical romance based in WW1, as it is an emotive character driven story about drama, family and loss...

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Right now we seem to be going through a golden age for historical fiction set during WWII. Now, I am still more than happy to read it, but I know that there are plenty of people for whom there is such a thing of too much of a good thing. I therefore bring you a review of Far Across the Ocean by Suzie Hull which brings us some of the familiar themes such as the struggle of surviving war but this time it is the late 1900s through to WWI. And whilst a portion of the book is set in France, the rest of it is set in Madagascar and Bradford in England. I am not sure I have every read a book set in Madagascar.

Clara Haycroft was just a young girl when she and her missionary parents fled the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar due to an uprising against French colonial rule. When the boat sinks, Clara is separated from her younger sister and her parents and she is the only one to survive. Sent to recover from her injuries to her extended family in Bradford, Clara really isn't sure exactly what happened to her family. Clara's surname is changed to Thornton and she is bought up by her protective guardians, but she is reminded of her past every time she looks in the mirror and sees her scars.

When she is jilted at the altar, Clara decides that the time is right to find the truth, but her strict aunt is against the idea. Luckily, through business connections, she is able to arrange her journey accompanied by her maid. If only it wasn't also with an irritating, uptight and arrogant French man named Xavier Mourain.

Clara returns to Madagascar, but it does seem as though revisiting the past is raising more questions than answers. What did happen to her mother and younger sister? The trip does also bring some answers though, particularly as she warms to Xavier and soon they fall in love. They return to Xavier's home in France and settled down in married bliss, until reality interupts in the form of the German invasion of France.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved that the settings were out of the ordinary. I also enjoyed reading as Clara and her family overcame the challenges that were put in front of them through their tenacity and resourcefulness.

I hadn't heard of Suzie Hull before I was offered this blog tour. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for her next book which will be partially set in Malta, and her debut novel, In This Foreign Land sounds good too!

Rating 4/5

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I don’t often review historical romances, but I loved the sound of this. The characters were well created and Madagascar is somewhere enjoyed learning about. Clara is very resilient and I liked her. I loved going on her journey with her and watching the romance unfold.

Thanks to Suzie Hull, Orion Dash and Rachel’s Random Resources for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

4 stars

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Far Across The Ocean is an epic romantic tale set in the early twentieth century with flashbacks to the end of the nineteenth century. It's a story of family, love, loss, wartime, and sacrifices and is full of emotion that keeps you turning the pages. Clara is a courageous woman, determined and resourceful and willing to fight for the truth. Her relationship with Xavier is an enemies-to-lovers trope full of conflicts and tragedy. It's an immersive read with a vivid historical setting and vibrant characters you care about. It would make a great film.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

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It’s been quite a while since I last read a sweeping historical romance, and this lovely book reminded me how wonderful the genre could be – and not “just” a romance, but crossing continents and filled with drama, with the compelling story of a search for family at its centre.

The prologue sets the scene, and drew me in immediately – 1895, and the Haycroft family fleeing from their missionary life in Madagascar amid the uprising against the French (a slice of history I hadn’t come across before), and the dramatic shipwreck that tore the family apart. We rejoin the elder of their two daughters, Clara, in 1913 Bradford – having been adopted by a mill owner and his wife, protected from any reminders of her past, pushed into a marriage that doesn’t make it to the altar. It proves to be the impetus she needs to find out more about what happened to her family – to heal herself, damaged (and physically scarred) by the experience, and to escape the constraints of society’s expectations – and to travel back to Madagascar.

A suitable travel companion appears, the enigmatic (and distinctly spiky) merchant Xavier Mourain, planning his own trip to the area – and on the long sea journey, their initial enmity changes, and a powerful love affair develops. But these are difficult times – what should have been a happy time on their return to France is overshadowed by the beginning of the war, Clara’s discoveries about her family set aside for a while, as their story becomes one of survival in the most difficult of circumstances, their lives and future happiness in the balance.

This really was one of those superbly told stories that had me entirely immersed from its beginning to its very end, and that was largely because of the strength of the characterisation. Clara entirely won my heart – her dogged determination, her dedication and her bravery were all exceptional, and I loved the way that every fresh challenge only made her stronger. The supporting cast are equally well drawn – I’ll refrain from mentioning characters lest I spoil the story for others – but so are all the settings, showing the quality of the research and the deftness with which the author recreates them. The romance at the book’s core was everything I wanted it to be – it was a love that I could feel. And all the book’s emotional content is extremely well handled – the story becomes particularly harrowing at times, but I always felt I was in a safe pair of hands.

Clara’s search for her family continues throughout – in fact, family and its meaning is a consistent wider theme – with some fascinating twists and turns, and the occasional “flashback” to the time of the shipwreck. Its outcome perhaps wasn’t entirely a surprise, and there were some happy accidents along the way, but I very much enjoyed the journey to its conclusion. And I loved the glimmer of hope that drove the story – very moving, and ultimately particularly uplifting.

Quite a story, and wonderfully told – and a book I’d most definitely recommend to others. I’ll look forward to seeing what Suzie Hull does next…

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I found. This novel quite interesting. I know very little about Madagascar so when Clara travels there to investigate the truth of behind the tragedy that robbed her of her entire family and left her scarred.
I also appreciated the perspective of WWI from France, early on. That’s an angle that I am not well versed in so it made for interesting reading.
I had worked part of the plot out but there were still plenty of bends and twists in the story to keep me intrigued.

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Such a fabulous story, with characters I cared about from the get go.

Full disclosure, I read and loved Ms Hull's debut Far Across the Ocean and so couldn't wait to get my hands on her next book - it did not disappoint.

Beautifully written, heart wrenching and #NoSpoilers but the ending made the journey with Clara all the more worth it.

A wonderful story, I absolutely devoured it.

Highly recommend

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A really enjoyable read that just kept getting better with every page. Well written with a storyline that gripped me from the start and didn't let me go and characters that were rtelatable and believeable and some of which I loved. A great read.

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This felt like an epic story. Clara is left at the alter and decides to leave in search of answers to her parents and sister’s demise years earlier. She’s escorted on her journey by Xavier. At first they seem at odds but eventually love happens. Just when Clara has all she could hope for war happens and turmoil begins. Will she ever find out what happened to her family or is it all lost to the past?
While I did like the story I felt like it went on forever.
Thanks to the publisher and Rachel’s Random Resources for the early copy

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You will know by now how much I absolutely adored In This Foreign Land by Suzie Hull. The vividness and brightness of the setting, the richness of it all, how much I believed in the characters and wanted all to be okay ... and so I jumped for this, not least because Ms. Hull is one of the nicest most supportive people out there in bookland!

The opener was a stunner and I was absolutely floored as I read of a selfless act, long, long ago, that resulted in an amazing man moving swiftly to help others without a thought for his own safety. After this tragedy it was the most fab surprise (bear with me here!) to see a character from a historical fiction book jilted at the author (wait!) and not let it get to her one little bit (see, I'm not so mean!). From page one I was one hundred percent invested and ready to support Clara as she decided to take things into her own hands and go travelling despite being told she couldn't.

This was some book. From tragedy to hope to horrors of war and starvation that actually made me wonder could I continue-this is a book with death, despair but so much hope and warmth that had me sobbing but smiling and hoping against hope that all would end well for the lovely Clara and Xavier. So recommended I can't even! Thanks so much to Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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I’m not huge into period piece reads but this was one gorgeous book.I don’t know why but I got titanic vibes, I always love reading about books that deal with shipwrecks ect, and I was so excited to follow Clara’s journey to gain answers into what happened to the lives of her missionary family. Enter Xavier who works with her uncle and helps Clara unravel the mystery that haunts her dreams. And with a war beginning that throws extra fire into the situation as well. I was so intrigued to read this book and see how it all turns out and I found it to be very gripping and suspenseful. Highly recommend. I know our readers especially our historical ones will love this one as well!

December 1913. Clara Thornton won't allow being jilted at the altar to squash her spirit. Against the wishes of her aunt and uncle, Clara decides to travel to Madagascar to learn more about the tragic shipwreck that took the lives of her missionary family, and marked her forever.

Clara is escorted abroad by Xavier Mourain, a handsome young merchant who works with her uncle. The two of them start off on the wrong foot, but Clara can't help but be drawn to the mysterious Frenchman who helps her unravel the mystery that has always haunted her. But as their love blossoms, war begins. And the world will never be the same again.

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