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The House By the Sea
 
 

The House By the Sea [Kindle Edition]

Santa Montefiore
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (177 customer reviews)

Print List Price: 7.99
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Product Description

Review

This novel has it all: secrets, mystery, passionate love affairs… Unforgettable --Adriana Trigiani

Santa Montefiore does sweeping canvases of luxury life to a T --The Daily Mail

Product Description

An irresistibly compelling from the internationally bestselling author
Ten-year-old Floriana is captivated by the beauty of the magnificent Tuscan villa that overlooks the sea just outside her small village. She likes to spy from the crumbling wall into the gardens, and imagine that one day she'll escape her meagre existence and live there. One day, Dante, the son of the villa's powerful industrialist owner, invites her inside. From that moment on Floriana knows that her destiny is there, with him. But as they grow up they cross an unseen line, jeopardising the very thing they hold most dear.
Decades later and hundreds of miles away, a beautiful old country house hotel on England's Devon coast has fallen on hard times. Its owner, Marina, advertises for an artist-in-residence to stay the summer and teach the guests how to paint. Rafael Santoro is charismatic and wise, and soon begins to pacify the discord in her family. However, Rafa is not who he seems. He has his own agenda. Whether to destroy, to seduce, or to heal, it is certain to affect them all.
Spanning four decades and sweeping from the Italian countryside to the English coast, this new story by Santa Montefiore is a moving and mysterious tale of love, forgiveness and the past revealed.
This book has been published in the US under the title The Mermaid Garden.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 665 KB
  • Print Length: 14 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (21 July 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0054ORT7Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (177 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,495 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Santa Montefiore was born in England in 1970 on a beautiful farm in Hampshire. After Sherborne School for Girls she read Spanish and Italian at Exeter University. She spent much of the 90s in Buenos Aires. Her love for Argentina inspired her first four novels, but her American publisher wasn't interested in Argentina as a setting so she based her fifth novel in Italy - America came on board at that point but have not published her first four. Her novels take place in France, South Africa as well as Ireland and England and have been translated into over 25 languages and sold over 2 million copies worldwide. She has just completed her 14th title for 2014, The Beekeeper's Daughter. She lives in London with her husband, the historian Simon Sebag Montefiore, and their two children. Visit Santa's website at www.santamontefiore.com. Follow her on twitter at santamontefiore.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
154 of 160 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, magical summer read 25 July 2011
By Boof TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
The House by the Sea is a lovely tale that follows two stories - one set in the present in Devon and the other in 1966 Tuscany. I can sometimes have a problem with these types of books where the narrative isn't linear as I have found that I end up enjoying one story more than the other. Not the case with The House by the Sea though - not only does each segment last for about 100 pages, giving the reader ample time to become emmersed in that part, but both the present and past are equally wonderful.

The prologe starts in Tuscany in 1966 and sets the scene perfectly for what is to come. Ten year old Floriana lives with her alcoholic father and no mother and spends her summer wandering up to the huge beautiful house and peering longingly through the wall at the gardens she aches to be in. One day she is spotted by 16 year old Dante who brings her inside and there begins a friendship that will last for years.

The story then shifts to Devon in 2009 and Mariana and her husband Grey are gearing up for the summer at their hotel on the cliff by trying to find an artist in residence to help entice guests to earn enough money to prevent them having to sell the hotel. Enter Rafa, a gorgeous 37 year old Argentinian who wows everyone he meets.

As both stories develop we begin to get hints and clues as to how both stories may interwine and to what secret Rafa may be hiding. The cast of characters is varied and vibrant and and I loved getting to know them all (even the brattish Clementine) and following their stories.

I have never read any books by Santa Montefiore before but I will be on the hunt for more now. She has actually written eleven, I believe, and if they are anything like The House by the Sea I cannot wait to hunt them down and get stuck in.

Verdict: A wonderful, magical read. Quite possibly my favourite book of 2011 so far. If you want a great read for this summer then look no further. Highly recommended!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Starts slowly, finshes well 11 May 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having just finished The Affair, which had gripped me from start to finish, I couldn't wait to start this new novel by one of my favourite writers. The initial pages, in Tuscany, whetted my apetite, but oh how I stuggled through the first half of the novel in the hotel in Devon. I found the writing clumsy, the dialogue tedious and long-winded, the characters really hard to warm to and believe in: I felt that the writer was really struggling to put the story together. The section of the initial interviews for the artist in residence were really boring and could have been missed out entirely. It felt to me as if she sat down each day and felt she MUST just write another chapter, or whatever, but wasn't really in the mood. I did persevere, and about half way through the novel gathered pace and towards the end I was gripped, even though the ending was somewhat predictable. Not one of Santa Montefiore's best novels, overall, and not in the same league as The Affair. I hope for better with the next one!
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved The House by the Sea 7 Aug 2011
By Helen S VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
The House by the Sea is the first book I've read by Santa Montefiore. The novel consists of two alternating stories, one set in present day England and the other in Italy several decades earlier. The Italian storyline begins in 1966 with Floriana, a ten-year-old girl who lives with her drunken father in a small village in Tuscany. Looking over the crumbling wall of a beautiful villa by the sea, Floriana comes face to face with seventeen-year-old Dante, whose parents own the house. Floriana dreams of one day marrying Dante and escaping from her lonely, miserable life but unfortunately things don't go exactly as she planned.

In 2009 we meet Marina, a woman in her fifties who runs a hotel on the Devon coast. The hotel is in financial difficulties and in an attempt to save her struggling business, Marina advertises for an 'artist-in-residence' to spend the summer at the hotel teaching guests to paint. And so Rafa Santoro, an artist from Argentina, arrives in Devon and proves to be a big success - particularly with Marina's stepdaughter, Clementine. But as Clementine begins to fall in love with Rafa, she starts to suspect that he may be hiding something.

What is Rafa's secret? And what is the link between Floriana's story and Marina's? At first I had no idea; I couldn't understand how the two could be connected. Eventually, though, the answers to these questions started to become clear - and there were a few other interesting sub-plots which also kept me guessing. I found myself completely engaged with both threads of the book. We spend quite a lot of time in each period before switching back to the other one, long enough to really get to know the characters and become absorbed in their lives.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the sweeping read I had hoped for. 13 May 2012
By Nina
Format:Kindle Edition
There were charming descriptions of Italy and England in this book. I so wanted to be taken into this world and swept away. But the characters felt like stereotypes - was the Major real or just drawn from characters we have seen on TV time and time again? I can't say that I liked any of them enough to genuinely care about their fate. Mainly though, the outcome was so set up and hard to believe that it left me slightly amazed that the writer hadn't realized it was so contrived. When story twists rely on people having changed their names etc, I find the attempt to foil the reader rather gimmicky. I have read her other books. Some I have enjoyed greatly - The French Gardener was one - but others - her latest contemporary one about an affair - haven't quite done for me what I'd hoped. Yet I will go on reading her and hope for a better one next time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
I truly recommend that you purchase this book. It is a wonderful read and well worth adding to your library.
Published 2 days ago by Country Music Fan
5.0 out of 5 stars pageturner
Having never read anything by santa before, I was pleasantly surprised to find this novel so enjoyable. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Anthony del Porto
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful
beautiful scenery, descriptions and story. Two interrelated stories a generation apart which are both sad and heart warmingly happy at the same time.
Published 1 month ago by Doris
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me.
I didn't even make it to Chapter 4. The start in Italy was promising but I couldn't connect with the Devon characters and found it incredibly tedious and full of cliches.
Published 1 month ago by E Johnston
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I have read a couple of santa Montefiore' s books and I have loved everyone that I've read the stories are so gripping
Published 1 month ago by ashley cook
5.0 out of 5 stars Intruiging interweaving of stories.
Santa Montefiore is a good storyteller, but above all she has the ability to undergird he action and characters with spiritual values which are not out of place.
Published 1 month ago by Barry Rogerson
3.0 out of 5 stars A slow read and a bit shallow
Whilst this book started well and had lovely descriptions of the the Italian house this didn't last. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Cumbrian Carol
5.0 out of 5 stars lovely story well read
lovely romantic story to listen to whilst recovering from an operation, well read, i felt like i was in tuscany and devon!
Published 1 month ago by Lorraine Butcher
5.0 out of 5 stars the house by the sea
love Montefiore books - they are very appealing. Have read all her books so far and cannot find fault with any of them - very enjoyable
Published 2 months ago by marjorie hardy
5.0 out of 5 stars captivating
I was completely captivated by this story. The descriptions so vivid, I too was transported to Italy. Definitely recommend this well written book.
Published 2 months ago by Charlie94
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