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on 25 May 2008
Like others who have reviewed this book before me I too am a huge fan of Sarah Mason's earlier work. I was therefore very excited when I read that she had a new book coming out so much so that I hastily purchased the book on pre-order without even stopping to read the synopsis! When the book arrived I read the back and honestly wondered what I had done the world of yacht racing had never intrigued me and so the book was shelved for about 9 months. Then with a week off work looming and the promise of long lazy afternoons in the garden soaking up what will probably be the best of this year's summer I dusted Sea Fever off and decided to give it a chance and I have to say I am so glad I did. I personally found the storylines surrounding the round robin races and the final gripping - I found myself routing for Excalibur and its crew as Sarah Mason completely captured the essence of the patriotism and the anguish that comes out whenever this country gets behind its sporting representatives and I am shocked others did not find this coming across. I also enjoyed the sub plots of the various romantic trysts amongst the characters all of which grow gradually as each chapter unfolds. I agree that the glossary of terms at the back is a must have reference list whilst reading the racing chapters however I did not find this boring at all and thought it was a thoroughly gripping and mature read and although Sarah has strayed dramatically from her earlier style I think she has done tremendously well.
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on 12 June 2008
This was my first Sarah Mason book. I picked it up because my husband is a dinghy sailor and I know a bit about the basic stuff. I struggled to start with but kept going. When I came to a really interesting bit I told my husband what was going on and half way through he thought he would like to read it so I had to keep it to myself. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and loved the characters. I could identify with the highs and lows and the build up and pressure before each race started. It made me cry.

When I had finished I passed it over and my husband loved this book. He kept asking me what was going to happen. He usually says I read girlie rubbish (Jodi Picoult is my favourite author!) but he was really surprised and couldn't put it down. He cried loads!!!!

When he had finished we had loads to talk about.
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on 30 October 2007
I have absolutely loved reading this book except that I have struggled to keep myself working and not returning to the book to see what was going to happen next!

This is a much more intelligent read than the one other of Sarah's books I have read and therefore has been totally engrossing. For someone who knew nothing about the America's cup it has been fascinating but the technical info doesn't get in the way of some excellent characters and story line's attached to each.

I wish I had taken it on holiday so that I could have read it uninterrupted. The way it is laid out though means if you have the self control to put it down to start with you can pick it up and get straight back in to it.

I am desperate for the next one, please don't let it be 2 years!
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on 28 September 2008
OK, I'll put my hand up now and admit to being a yotty! This was the first of Sarah Mason's books that I have read and it wont be the last. Its a superb blend of people and boats and picks up the strange world of the America's Cup very well. Right to the end you were still guessing and the matter of Inky's future was a surprise. The sailing info was as good as in the Warwick Collins novels about the America's Cup without being heavy and detailed and the pace never slowed up. Even if she never mentions boats again I will still be reading her books, and, I expect still enjoying them.
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on 16 June 2010
This book tells the story of three young sailors as they challenge for the America's Cup. Inky, Rafe and Fabian are part of a British underdog crew bought together by the mighty Mack - British sailor extraordinaire - in order to try and beat Henry Luter.

It is written very much like Jilly Cooper - choosing a little-known competitive sport known for its glamour and peopling the story with larger-than-life caricatures in a rambling plot where the underdog triumphs. The difference is that Mason seemed unable to sustain her novel over the fairly hefty 600 pages - towards the end it was clearly sign-posted who would pair off with whom and of course we all knew that the Brits would triumph in the America's Cup.

Mason's strength is in introducing her characters (although they all seem to have ridiculous names - as well as the three main characters, there is also Milly, Bee, Hattie, Custard, Ava and a number of others). I enjoyed the story right up to the point that they went to Valencia to challenge for the Cup. Each new character was given life and I felt invested in all of them. However, when they reached Valencia everything became about the races and the characters seemed incidental.

The action of the races was a little boring to read - I don't have a huge interest in sailing and this book did little to change that. I was confused by a number of the sailing references and mixed up my minor characters, not remembering who was a grinder and who was a trimmer.

I would also criticise Mason's efforts to pair up simply everybody. Even the two oldies ended up getting married. Some of the love stories were far-fetched as well, including Custard and Saffron (where Mason threw in an incident of child abuse in an ill-conceived attempt to de-fluff the story).

I did find Rafe and Hattie very sweet, and enjoyed how their story progressed, and Milly was a lovely character who deserved the happy ending.

Altogether, nothing more than a competent effort, but not a book I shall hurry back to read again (unlike my Jilly Coopers).
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on 29 October 2007
When I started this book I found all the sailing terminology completely baffling and wasn't sure if i was going to be able to finish the book but I am so glad i persevered because I ended up loving this book. I actually found that by the end the team racing was thoroughly engrossing (I wasn't cheering out loud for the excalibur team but i was getting close!)and I was loving all the various characters (apart from the leader of the rival syndicate that is!). I have loved all of Sarah Masons previous novels and this one is no exception.
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on 15 October 2007
Having read several of Sarah Mason's previous novels, I think "Sea Fever" is her best book to date. It is a perfect holiday read - engaging, funny and informative. It reminded me of Jilly Cooper's early books. Although certain reviewers have expressed disappointment that "Sea Fever" is not a romantic comedy, I think that Sarah Mason's latest book demonstrates that she is no one-trick pony. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next!
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on 8 April 2008
I thought that this book was fantastic.

The storyline was gripping and you start to feel like you almost know the characters as the book is so well written.

You don't have to know anything about sailing to enjoy the book. The sailing competition is the main storyline, but you also read about the lives of all of the characters.

Definately worth a read!
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on 16 September 2008
Having never read a Sarah Mason book before, I have to admit I chose this one for the cover. As soon as I started reading I was hooked and had trouble putting it down. There is a lot of sailing talk but this gives some depth to the book rather than being a bit insubstantial. Highly recommended.
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on 26 August 2011
As I have read Sarah Mason's other books, I was really looking forward to reading this book, but it has proved a big disappointment. As soon as I opened the book and saw the three page character list I heaved a large sigh. I think its never a good sign if there are so many characters that there needs to be an itemised list, and so it has proven. Not only is the story a bit depressing, totally unlike Sarah's previous books which manage to be both humerous and emotional, it is very heavily involved in the yachting world. I realise the basis of the story is in the yachting world but I think there are just too many characters therefore you don't get the emotional attachment that is needed to enjoy a book. I will tread very carefully before I buy another Sarah Mason book.
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