It is 1940 and eleven-year-old Beatrix (Bea) Thomson is living in London with her hard-working parents. As the war rages on, Millie and Reginald Thomson make the gut-wrenching decision to send Bea to Boston to keep her safe from the bombings. Bea is fortunate to be sent to live with a warm, loving and affluent family and she immediately bonds with Mr. and Mrs. Gregory and their two sons William and Gerald. Life in America is a happy one, especially summers in their house on the coast of Maine. When the war ends, Bea is quickly sent back home. Through the years, Bea tries to find a way to live a fulfilling life in London while missing the life and people she left behind in America.
Beyond That, the Sea by Laura Spence-Ash, is an amazing debut. It is a beautifully written, character-driven story that follows Bea and those she loves through the decades as she tries to look forward while continually looking back. While WWII is the backdrop for the first of the book's three parts, the focus is on the people and does not delve much into the war other than the sad fact of all the devastation caused by the bombings. The story shows how horrible it was for parents in war-torn London who were urged to transport their children to safety, either to the countryside or overseas. As the years pass, the story becomes even more powerful and emotional. Once I turned the final page, I sat still for a while and the tears started to flow. I loved every page and highly recommend it.
Many thanks to Celadon Books for providing an early copy of this enchanting book.
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: March 21, 2023.
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