A friend, who knows the author suggested I purchase this book as I was interested in seeing how dialogue rich stories could be formatted. Never did I think I would be so captivated, so charmed or ever smile so much by reading about children and their families on holiday in Cornwall. This is pure story telling, so good it really should become a film, to warm your heart, to simply make you feel good. Lovely is not a word I use much, but it really is the word for this apparently effortless writing. The author has real talent, a gift, I hope there is much more to come, of Martha as she continues to grow and find her way, with her amazingly real family, friends to make, boys to meet, or, has she found the one? Why only 4 instead of 5 stars then? Picky yes I know but the formatting of this e-book does leave a lot to be desired, but the story is perfection!
Sea Stirred is a beautifully written coming of age story. Set in the rugged north of Cornwall, we join this lively and close-knit family on their annual summer holiday. The young protagonist, Martha, is devoted to her books and something of a loner, happily lost in the magic of literature and aspiring to be a writer one day herself. Although she fits in comfortably with her family and loves to join in with their activities, she is fiercely independent and is just as content to wander along the beach alone, looking for treasures. It is during one of these forays that she bumps into a boy coming in the opposite direction, clearly enjoying exactly the same occupation. Martha's life is about to change....
Caroline Williams is a talented writer, vividly capturing the turbulent emotions of first love - the excitement and angst; the joys of shared adventure; the secretive hoarding of personal treasures, be it a pebble found on the beach offered in friendship or the loan of a much loved book. The development of Martha and Alaric's relationship is not over romanticised but a gentle and realistic portrayal of a preteen friendship between like minded people. I enjoyed the effect of the dual first person narrative - though Martha herself and also by Cassie, her mother, who provides perspective and distance to Martha's story as it unfolds. Cassie watches the blossoming friendship with a mixture of motherly angst and approval. She gives support and advice when needed and learns to let go, allowing her daughter to grow. The evocative descriptions of Martha's family life through these two narrative voices are amusing, keenly observed and comforting. Their family unity and strength is juxtaposed, however, by the portrayal of Alaric's dysfunctional family, who have a very different set of values.
The characters in the novel are rounded and believable which, coupled with the author's empathy and eye for detail, transports the reader into living, albeit vicariously, alongside them.
I particularly loved the clever ending whereby the author succinctly brings us back to the beginning. A terrific read and I'm looking forward to the sequel!
A delightful and very readable novel about the transition from childhood to preteen first love. Many readers will quickly identify with and believe in the young Martha, happier with her own thoughts and bookish interests than with her less cerebral but more popular schoolgirl contemporaries, and her jolly, loving and supportive family, busy enjoying their annual holiday in Cornwall. Caroline Williams is absolutely at home with this background and writes with great affection and confidence, drawing us in so that we savour the days on the beach and the family games and squabbles which form the backdrop to Martha's intoxicating discovery of a kindred spirit in the shape of the boy next door.
The book becomes like a holiday one doesn't want to end, and is a light, happy, absorbing read.
I really loved this book. I wasn't sure what to expect at first, and it took me a couple of chapters to really get into it, but once I was, I couldn't put it down. Although the story is a good one, it was the characters that really drew me in - I thought the personalities of Cassie, Alaric and twelve year old Martha were beautifully captured in that deceptively simple way that good authors demonstrate - a clear picture emerging from just a few words or phrases. You really care about them and want to find out how the story will end. The same goes for the descriptions of Cornwall. I know the area well and I got so engrossed in the book that I sometimes felt surprised when I looked up and wasn't on the beach! If you're looking for a thoroughly enjoyable, well-written story about families, relationships, and growing up, and if you've ever had a great holiday in Cornwall (or anywhere else beachy for that matter!), then this is for you.
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. Not only is it very well written ,but it manages to explore both the normality and complexity of family life and the relationships within it. As a mum with a teenaged daughter I was able to relate to it on so many different levels. It also makes you feel that you are having a holiday yourself, so evocative are the scenes described. Having passed it on to my fourteen year old daughter I wondered if she would lose interest, as she normally loves action and adventure stories. But she finished it in a matter of days and we have had several discussions about the characters and the parts we best enjoyed. I think it's helped us both see things from each other's perspective better.
This book involves you in a great familyholiday to Cornwall. A heartwarming story that relives the ups and downs of early teenage years and young love, it brings a tear to the eye and also a warm feeling to your heart as you are engrossed in the lives of Martha and Alaric's very different families. A must read for any mother young or old.
I really enjoyed this book. It evokes memories of familyholidays and learning about life. Told through the eyes of a girl and her mother it is a warm and engaging read with gentle humour and starring roles for both Cornwall and the British weather.