I am indirectly, and slightly, acquainted with the author, so I bought this book as a courtesy, expecting it to be .... as we say, "sincere". That is, something I would have to work to get through and then think of something nice to say about.
Was I wrong!
This is a gripping novel, the kind that keeps you attached to the book until you finish. And in this case, wanting a sequel.
If you were a slightly quirky teenager, who didn't quite fit in with any social group ... didn't care that much about football, or boys (depending on your sex) or clothes or who was 'seeing' whom, or pleasing the authorities so that you would be able to go into a well-paying job in a few years ... then you will strongly identify with the two young people who are the central characters in this book, and/or with the parents of one of them. (The parents of the other one may sound too ghastly to be true, but sadly they are not. I think I may even know the originals.)
The plot carries you along, and you get those insights into character that confirm, or focus, or extend your own intuitions about people. I was slightly worried that this or that cliche-situation would appear, but that never happened. The central characters are poignantly appealing -- gripping -- but not perfect. Nor is the reality around them. Just like real life.
In short, it's a thoroughly-readable, enjoyable book.
I rarely bother with writing reviews, my poor excuse is I'm usually too busy. But I so loved this book - I agree with most of the other reviews, very highly recommended. I love Cornwall and visited the nearby area this May so it was all very fresh in my mind. The book made me laugh and cry, and I literally couldn't stop reading it. Was tempted to have a day off this morning to complete it! I got home tonight and immediately went on Amazon to check if there were any more books my the same author. Unfortunately not - yet.I feel so sorry it's finished. Well done on such a great first novel
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!
I really enjoyed this. It was light but not frothy and the characters were engaging. The Cornish setting is evocative and the families are people everyone knows. There are no major happenings in the book but one finds it matters what the outcomes will be for the two young people.My favourite character was Cassie, Martha's mum, because she is every mum without losing her own identity as an individual. I hope there will be a sequel to this novel. I want to know what happens next and that is a pretty good recommendation for a book which is essentially a light read.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The description of scene and character are comfortable and comforting, lovely places, lovely lives, rites of passage. It even made me cry, a touching insight into mother and daughter relationships. When I started reading, I arrogantly thought that it didn't follow the conventions of novel writing and wasn't fast paced enough, but soon realised how refreshing this was. It comes to life beautifully. I liked how the author almost discussed this dilemma at the end, clever structure and interesting range of narrative voices. A great book.
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.