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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of Beyond That, the Sea by Laura Spence-Ash

Beyond That, the Sea is a lovely character-driven historical fiction story about complicated relationships, found family, growing up, and balancing two lives, all set against the backdrop of World War II.

She had tried, as best she could, to braid her life with theirs. She never thought then that their futures would diverge. That there would be two lines, heading in very different directions... [She was] caught between two old England and one New.

Beyond That, the Sea tells the story of two families on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean during World War II.

British parents Millie and Reginald Thompson make what feels like an impossible choice: to send their eleven-year-old daughter Beatrix to America for her safety.

The Gregorys pull Bea into the heart of their Boston family and their New England life. Bea settles in, and soon her American family and life feel more familiar than the parents she left behind.

Tragedy strikes both of her families, making Bea feel torn between the two lives she's led, each of which have without question shaped her into the person she is.

Beyond That, the Sea follows Beatrix as she struggles to navigate both worlds, returning to postwar London but never forgetting the found family that took her in as one of their own. Her ties to the Gregorys fade in some ways and strengthen and transform her world in others.

The events of the book occur because of World War II, but the story occurs largely outside of World War II tragedy and its life-and-death situations.

The point of view frequently shifts, and many chapters are short, but I felt connected to each of the characters and thought the varied perspectives were one of the book's strengths.

I loved witnessing the growth of each of the relationships in this character-driven historical fiction gem.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Beyond That, the Sea is Laura Spence-Ash's first book.


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