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The Sea Change Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
In 1971 Alice was travelling across Asia to India with her new boyfriend. When they reached India they married, but the very next day they were separated by a tsunami. As Alice desperately searched for James she had she thought about their past, their relationship, their journey. And she thought about her mother. Her instinct was to turn to her mother, Violet, but they had parted on bad terms.
In 1943 Violet's home, and the whole Wiltshire village of Imber, was requisitioned by the army. She had never returned but she had never forgotten her home and the people who were lost to her now: her sensitive, caring father; her practical mother; her spirited sister, Freda; and Pete, the troubled young man she had been drawn to. They were all lost to her now.
The same themes - home, love, loss, misunderstanding - are threaded through both strands of the story.
Joanna Rossiter writes quite beautifully, in fluid, graceful prose, and she illuminates characters, places, relationships, in all of their complexity, so very well. And she writes with such intelligence and understanding, leaving space for her readers to wonder, to interpret, to think, to react.
I was completely caught up, though I was torn between wanting to rush forward with the story and wanting to linger to appreciate so much that was wonderful.
The movement between 1940s England and 1970s India felt quite natural, and the two places were brought together by recurring themes and images.Read more ›
It's a rare book that can absorb me so completely on such a short train ride that I really do forget where I am. Joanna Rossiter's rich, compelling story, and her intriguing word-choices, her wonderful sense of place and her complex - and often frustrating - characters creep up on you like, well, like the tidal wave she describes. Then, like the wave, they swamp you, taking you captive, and leaving their mark long after you've closed the cover for the last time.
I spent much of the book wanting to bash the main characters' heads together. True to their time, they held so much inside, when actually talking to each other could have solved so many problems, and eased the grief that they carried like a second skin, seething and groaning beneath the surface of their quiet, dutiful lives.
But that is a criticism of the time, not of the book. Their reticence is a significant part of what compels you to keep reading - every snippet they give away is a tasty morsel, awakening your appetite for more.
This is an excellent, and really accomplished debut novel and I can't wait to read more from Joanna, or to visit the places I already feel I know so well.
Her book, you see, is about lost landscapes. She bases her story on two real events: the appropriation of Imber, a Wiltshire village, by the War Office in 1943; and a coastal community in India crushed by tsunami in 1971.
In each case there is destruction, the residents are displaced, their homes are robbed and the familiar environment scarred and garrotted. War and wave bring death to families caught up in them - and yet there are survivors too, left to mourn, recover and possibly to rebuild.
Rossiter gives us one family touched by both incidents. In 1971 (`the present'), Alice is travelling overland through the Middle East to India with her spur-of-the-moment husband, having left her mother, Violet, in England on bad terms.
Meanwhile, her mother's Imber upbringing forms the other portion of the story three decades earlier. She is the daughter of a parson, and Pete is the object of her teenage infatuation.
When catastrophe comes, personal loyalties are tested: the roots to the past that hold you back; the excitement and appeal of new experiences pulling you forward.
Violet's love for Pete is intriguing. He is a wanderer without sentiment for any specific location, whereas Vi harbours a deep desire to `go home', though war games have rendered Imber unrecognisable.
Her relationship with her daughter is equally complex. Alice's adventuring hurts Violet, is intended to spite her, perhaps. The strings of affection tug, knot and unravel.
Rossiter has a gift for bringing geography to life, her descriptive passages are some of the loveliest and most effective I can recall reading.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved the idea of this book but the reality didn't quite work for me.
It is very descriptive which I think the author was striving to achieve but I found that that style... Read more
I really enjoyed this book (the only thing I don't like about it is the cover!). Set in the UK and India, the story is well written and thoughtfully told. Read morePublished 5 months ago by DANIEL WRIGHT
This is a quick and easy read. The storyline is engaging and the characters are likeable and believable, but I did guess the main plot twist well in advance.Published 12 months ago by Michelle Thompson
An interesting book about a village not far from where I live. Set in two eras they come together beautifully in the final half hour of reading. Well worth reading.Published 16 months ago by Linda Golding