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4.5 out of 5 stars20
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on 3 June 2003
I thoroughly enjoyed this book right to the last page - written with real feeling and descriptions that made you feel you knew the persons concerned. Also allowing the reader real insight into the Jews plight in Poland during the last World war. Highlighting how barriers can build up around situations in a family that are then very difficult to break down. Held my attention to the last page and apart from enjoying the storyline I felt I had learned a few historical facts too.
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on 19 April 2008
Not your avarage soapy story, but deep, thought provoking story line. I did not find it sad, but rather a reminder of what the human spirit is capable of, good and bad. A good read and as compelling as "Another life".
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on 12 October 2010
I am amazed to read a harsh criticism of of Sea music. My husband was a Polish Squadron commander during the war, and now lives in England. He escaped via Rumania in 1939, flew in France, sailed to England in The Patris and served at Northolt, and elsewhere in squadrons 303, 315, 317. He revisited Poland in 1964 to see his mother, and we both went many times after 1987. He visited a concentration camp during the war in search of a cousin. We have mixed with Poles ever since our marriage, and I have known ladies who survived Auschwitz, and come to England in 1942 from Siberia. The book read very well for us, very well researched.
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on 16 December 2007
i loved this book it was so well crated and the characters were totally believable. i looke forward to her next book. I have just re read this book and find it as believable as before . this book has wonderful memories for me - all good
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 1 December 2011
I couldn't make up my mind about this book - was it high-level chick-lit (as the horrible cover might imply) or attempting to be a serious novel? Certainly the principal subject: the life of a Polish Jewish woman who is sent first to the Warsaw ghetto and later to Auschwitz, becomes pregnant as the result of rape and who later, found in the liberation of Auschwitz by a British soldier, attempts to build a new life for herself and her daughter, pretending that a lot of her past traumas never happened - until her increasing illness from Alzheimers makes this impossible - is a fairly serious topic, much more serious than most chicklit novels would tackle. And Sara Macdonald writes rather movingly about Martha/Marta's experiences in Poland - although this is a much less detailed account of the terrible experiences of the Jews than in much Holocaust literature, she appears to have done her research fairly well. Marta's early friendship with a German boy and its tragic results and her growing hardships in World War II were vividly pictured.

But when we move onto the modern sections of the book (a good two thirds of the novel; the historical bits are spliced in between sections of the main, modern story) I began to feel less convinced by the characters. Everything seemed to have a slight sugar-coating. Martha's Alzheimers, for example, was far less agonizing and messy than this cruel disease is in real life (for a really good account of someone watching a Hitler-victim descend into dementia, read Linda Grant's 'Still Here') - she merely seemed whimsically childlike, rather than confused or frightened. Fred also seemed to cope with his illness much better than many cancer victims (and I somehow felt that making him a disinherited aristocrat really was a bit chick-litty!). Barnaby was simply too good to be true, and Sara Macdonald missed out on all sorts of interesting possiblities of describing his faith, and the struggles he might have had (believing in a benificent God when your parents are both dying of horrible diseases, for examples). Still, his relationship with Kate was quite movingly depicted, even though we never got to know quite enough about Kate, and again her job as a carer seemed easier than it probably would have been. Anna, Barnaby's sister, came across as too stereotypically nasty in the early sections of the book, though Macdonald did write fairly interestingly about why she had become as she had. Worst of all were the descriptions of Lucy, her daughter, who mostly seemed like an self-righteous immature spoilt brat. Would any daughter really say to her mother 'You're a real little facist, aren't you? I feel sorry for you'. If Lucy had really been damaged by Anna's treatment of her she'd have been far more vulnerable as a person; as it was, she came across as quite cruel towards her mother, and horribly sure of herself. And if Anna found Lucy so difficult to deal with, would she have ever had a child in the first place? I didn't feel the relationship between the two was ever properly explored. Neither was the former Nazi's guilt at his past, a very complex subject. The army sections were well-written (Macdonald has first-hand experience as an army wife) but I found her automatic assumption that the army is a glorious career slightly irritating, and Tristan (at least in the early stages) rather too hearty. And predictably enough we got a very 'happily-ever-after' final section. Also, why set a novel in beautiful Southern Cornwall and spend so little time describing the landscape? We could have been anywhere in Cornwall or Devon by the sea for the amount of description we got.

Also, there was a problem with the central mystery - I felt Martha's lies about her past would never fully have worked; particularly passing off her daughter as so much younger than she was.

I enjoyed reading this book as a 'low-concentration' but quite gripping read at the end of an evening, but on the whole I think the author was trying to tackle some very big topics in a popular-fiction style that ultimately wasn't appropriate. To really bring this off, Sara Macdonald would have had to write in a much more serious style, and provide less of a sense of 'everyone really being ever so happy'. Certainly a good effort, and much better than your average chicklit, but ultimately a slightly saccharine read.
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on 14 July 2006
Sea Music was a wonderfully written novel with well rounded characters, especially Lucy and Barnaby. Having read a few of Sarah MacDonald's books I can see a Barnaby type character thread running through them but as he is such a warm and gentle person this is no bad thing. However, Sea Music made me weep with shame that such acts of brutality were carried out so indiscriminately, even though I am fully aware of the death camps of WWII. This book made me feel humble - would the human spirit be able to survive such degradation and humiliation today when we are so spoilt and selfish and uncaring of our fellow human beings? Have attitudes changed that much? It raises questions and makes me wonder if we could overcome such difficulties and still be human. I have almost finished another of Sarah MacDonald's books, Another Life, which is quite different but has her marvellously deft touch. I am enjoying it so much I don't want to finish it, anymore than I wanted to finish 'Sea Music'. It is so refreshing to find an author who can tell a story and involve the reader at every stage. I find myself wondering how the tale will develop and actually savour the moment of picking up the book and continuing it. Well done -there are not many authors who have the power to do that and she never disappoints!
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on 8 December 2010
Another wonderful book by Sara MacDonald, this book is so descriptive, we certainly have more insight into how a nation treated another nation during the last world war. I found this book gripping and a brilliant read.
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on 6 April 2016
Sarah MacDonald you are now my favourite author, I'm going straight to order another of your books. This story has absolutely everything to keep me hooked
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on 16 March 2007
Having read "Another Life" by Sara Macdonald and thoroughly enjoyed it I was eager to read another of her novels and started "Sea Music" with a positive outlook. I was, however, very disappointed. I read up to about half way through and found the characters either overly harsh and unfeeling or just too soppy and saintly for words. The subject matter is understandably serious and depressing but there is little in the way of lightness to create any kind of balance, especially when talking about the present day rather than the holocaust. Also the constant swapping of times/character perspectives/locations which was a page turner in "Another Life" felt irritating and didn't quite work in this yarn. I did flick through the rest of the chapters to find out what happened but it was all so predictable and I'm glad I didn't wade through and read it all.

I do respect this author's story telling ability, and intend to read more of her work, but this one was just not my cup of tea.
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on 4 June 2010
This is a really good read about a family and their secrets from the horror of nazi germany to present day,set in cornwall its a good family saga
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