Sea of Memories
When Kendra first visits her ailing grandmother, Ella has only one request: that Kendra write her story down, before she forgets… In 1937, seventeen-year-old Ella’s life changes forever when she is sent to spend the summer on the beautiful Île de Ré and meets the charismatic, creative Christophe. They spend the summer together, exploring the island’s sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, and, for the first time in her life, Ella feels truly free.But the outbreak of war casts everything in a new light. Ella is forced to return to Scotland, where she volunteers for the war effort alongside the dashing Angus. In this new world, Ella feels herself drifting further and further from who she was on the Île de Ré. Can she ever find her way back? And does she want to?From the windswept Île de Ré to the rugged hills of Scotland, Sea of Memories is a spellbinding journey about the power of memory, love and second chances.

Sea of Memories Details

TitleSea of Memories
Author
ReleaseMar 1st, 2018
PublisherLake Union Publishing
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Cultural, France, Romance, Womens Fiction

Sea of Memories Review

  • Renita D'Silva
    January 1, 1970
    I love this author's books - she is one of my favourite authors - and so I was eagerly awaiting this book. And what an amazing read! Gorgeous evocative writing that spills from the page transporting the reader to another place and time. Every character came alive for me and I felt for Ella but my favourites were Finn and Christophe. Another absolutely fabulous story from an incredibly talented author. A spell binding tale that will stay with me for a long time.
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  • Nancy Baker
    January 1, 1970
    Perception is everything. An adult looks at a pebble on the sidewalk and sees just that -- a pebble. A child looks at that same pebble and sees a sizable rock. Another person looking through a magnifying glass looks at that pebble and sees a huge boulder. All perceptions feel right to each person, and as much as their views differ, they are all looking at the same thing. So it is with human relationships. We have an innate ability to read what we want into a conversation, a human gesture or a pe Perception is everything. An adult looks at a pebble on the sidewalk and sees just that -- a pebble. A child looks at that same pebble and sees a sizable rock. Another person looking through a magnifying glass looks at that pebble and sees a huge boulder. All perceptions feel right to each person, and as much as their views differ, they are all looking at the same thing. So it is with human relationships. We have an innate ability to read what we want into a conversation, a human gesture or a person's actions. This was a story of Ella's life - seen from her eyes, seen from her daughter's eyes and seen from her granddaughter's eyes. The story is the same for all, plus or minus a few details, but their perceptions of who Ella is/was all differ. Ella is laying in a nursing home in the much latter part of her life. She has been estranged from her daughter for many years. Her granddaughter visits and Ella asks her to transcribe her recorded life's story. It is a sweet story; it is a sad story; and it is a misunderstood story -- all the same story, but different perceptions. There was much to love and much to learn about Ella's approach to life, happiness and her life's calling. My favorite paragraph in the book talked about the difference in a parent's love for their child and a spouse's love for their partner. It came fairly early in the story, but it spoke volumes and was the resonating voice throughout the pages that followed. "The love that you have for your children, that is the only pure and simple kind. It's overwhelming, instinctive, absolute. But it sits alongside the love that you have for your partner, which is another kind of love entirely. That's anything but simple; it's far more complicated; and yet it's the love that we chose, meaning it should really be the easiest one of all, so why do we make it the hardest?"
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  • Greta Halliday
    January 1, 1970
    I picked up this book and did not put it down until the last page had been read. This poignant and beautifully written story really tugs at the heart strings and totally immerses you. It is one of the best books I have read for a while and one that I will be re- reading in the near future. A story of lives, love and loss is a must read., the writing is superb.
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  • Jacqueline
    January 1, 1970
    I have waited a long time for a new release from Fiona, her previous three novels, set among the Bordeaux vineyards, were great reads so I was initially a little worried about the possibility of disappointment, if this new novel didn’t live up to my expectations. Thankfully Sea of Memories, although totally different to her previous books, didn’t disappoint in the slightest.Set partially among the sand dunes and Atlantic coast beaches of the Ile de Ré, just off the coast from La Rochelle, this b I have waited a long time for a new release from Fiona, her previous three novels, set among the Bordeaux vineyards, were great reads so I was initially a little worried about the possibility of disappointment, if this new novel didn’t live up to my expectations. Thankfully Sea of Memories, although totally different to her previous books, didn’t disappoint in the slightest.Set partially among the sand dunes and Atlantic coast beaches of the Ile de Ré, just off the coast from La Rochelle, this book also takes us to Paris and Scotland as it covers the years when Europe was torn apart by war and the lives of three young friends Ella, Caroline and Christophe were changed forever. This is a story of love in its many different forms, including grief and pain, and of the realisation of what love truly means, that only comes with age and wisdom. It is so beautifully written you will cry.Art is a big theme running through this book and we meet artists whose creations are brought to life through Fiona’s words, but woven cleverly throughout are also the topics of women at war, the SOE missions into Occupied France, works of art being hidden during the war years, the plight of the Jews, childhood polio, family feuds and autism. This may sound like a lot of things to pack into one book, but it works, as each theme is treated with respect and sensitivity.I consumed every page, always hungry for more; more of Ella’s story set in the past, more from the beautiful Ile de Ré and more of Kendra’s story today, as she painstakingly sorts through her grandmother’s memories and pieces together a life that is filled with love and loss, all the while living with her own troubled emotions.Writing this review in those mushy emotional hours that sometimes hit you when you have just finished a great book, I would go so far as to say this book is a work of art in its own right and must be added to your reading list.
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  • Little My
    January 1, 1970
    Whilst I did really enjoy this novel and the descriptions of France I felt in trying to cover the entirety of one person's life meant that the characters became somewhat diluted. At times I felt disappointed that some of the main character's experiences were dealt with in a chapter when they could in fact have been books in their own right. But still a very enjoyable read.
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  • Suze Lavender
    January 1, 1970
    Kendra's grandmother is old and doesn't have long to live anymore, but she has one last wish. She wants Kendra to write down her memories. Kendra has a busy life, being the breadwinner at home and taking care of her autistic son, but she's intrigued by her grandmother's request and decides to give it everything she has. Ella's lead an interesting life and before Kendra knows it she's entirely enthralled by her grandmother's story.It's 1938 and seventeen-year-old Ella is excited. She's going to F Kendra's grandmother is old and doesn't have long to live anymore, but she has one last wish. She wants Kendra to write down her memories. Kendra has a busy life, being the breadwinner at home and taking care of her autistic son, but she's intrigued by her grandmother's request and decides to give it everything she has. Ella's lead an interesting life and before Kendra knows it she's entirely enthralled by her grandmother's story.It's 1938 and seventeen-year-old Ella is excited. She's going to France for the summer. On Île de Ré she can improve her French by spending time with twins her own age. She immediately falls in love with Christophe, who teaches Ella about beauty, freedom and art. He's a brilliant artist, but his father has other plans for him. The weeks they have together are glorious and Ella's sad when she has to go home and promises she will return to him next summer, which is exactly what she does. Their time together is precious, as Europe is on the brink of war and Ella has no idea what will happen to them in the future.Ella can't stay in France and Christophe joins the army. There's no way for them to be together and they lose contact. Ella can't sit still and do nothing, she wants to contribute and joins the WAAF. There she meets Angus, a man who would do anything to keep her safe. Ella's life with Christophe seems like a dream, a memory she will cherish forever and due to the war she will never get it back. She has to move on and look at the future, but will she be able to do it? Can she ever leave Île de Ré and everything it meant behind her?Sea of Memory is a beautiful poignant story. I was greatly impressed by this deep and multilayered love story. Because of the war Ella loses the love of her life and this is something she will never completely get over. She isn't complete when she's in Scotland, even though there's a lot of love in her life. Her time on Île de Ré has left a lasting impression. It was truly special and these memories made me smile and brought tears to my eyes at the same time, because there was so much to lose. The war has brought misery and unrest, but there was also bravery, selflessness and community spirit and Fiona Valpy has perfectly translated these subjects into a fantastic story.Sea of Memory is tragic and sad, but also hopeful and filled with unconditional love, miracles and friendship. It's a bittersweet story that immediately found its way into my heart. Fiona Valpy's gorgeous descriptive writing style makes the story come to life in an amazing way. She effortlessly captures the magic of Île de Ré and I love how she skillfully creates her atmospheres. She combines this with a perfect thorough exploration of emotions. That makes Sea of Memory a terrific heart-rending story, it's a book that will stay with me for a very long time.
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  • Mircina
    January 1, 1970
    Unexpected delightI was not expecting this to be the wonderful sorry that ice just finished reading. I have fallen in love with Ella and her life story and have already looked up Il de Re as next year's holiday destination. Fantastic beautify written story x
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  • caroline Sowersby
    January 1, 1970
    The right time to read a storyI have lost my little brother ( He was 75!! but still my little brother) So many things touched me in the book We were brought up in Edinburgh My brother was a patient in Princess Margaret Rose Hospital Lots of things and places spoke to me.He died while I was reading your story this week . I am not sad as I have faith Thank you for your sensitive writing
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    Fiona Valpy is a new author to me but one I'm so glad I've discovered, I absolutely adored this book. I loved the journey we went on with the characters and I just loved the setting. This was the perfect book to read to escape life, I was fully immersed into the story whilst reading. This book is emotional, have some tissues at the ready when reading! The characters are so beautifully written and I just loved Fiona's writing style. This is a book where you need to dive in and be prepared to igno Fiona Valpy is a new author to me but one I'm so glad I've discovered, I absolutely adored this book. I loved the journey we went on with the characters and I just loved the setting. This was the perfect book to read to escape life, I was fully immersed into the story whilst reading. This book is emotional, have some tissues at the ready when reading! The characters are so beautifully written and I just loved Fiona's writing style. This is a book where you need to dive in and be prepared to ignore everyone and everything until you've read the last page. I will re-read this book in the future and I'm happy I've discovered Fiona's books - I will devour them in the future!
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  • Gail Atkins
    January 1, 1970
    A beautifully written book about love, friendship and relationships.A dying grandmother asks her granddaughter to write her memoirs of her time in France during the early stages of WW2, in a hope that her estranged daughter would read it and their rift would be healed.Secrets shared and heartache bond the two women, changing their lives forever.
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  • Georgina Roberts
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book, the descriptions of France were so well written and really took me there. I loved the story, how it goes back and forth to the past and the present day and just everything about the book in general. I even had a few tears at the end which to me is a sign of how much the book has moved me. First book I’ve read by Fiona and I’ll definitely look for more. Five stars
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  • Jackie Hawes
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful page turner.Fantastic. First book I have read by Fiona Valpy but definitely won't be my last. I did not want the story to end. Full of love, hope and seeing things from a different perspective, it transports the reader across the years, showing how time and circumstances change things but also intertwine in life's tapestries. I could literally feel the emotions and feelings of the characters come alive from the pages. A gripping love story which isn't all about hearts and flowers but a Wonderful page turner.Fantastic. First book I have read by Fiona Valpy but definitely won't be my last. I did not want the story to end. Full of love, hope and seeing things from a different perspective, it transports the reader across the years, showing how time and circumstances change things but also intertwine in life's tapestries. I could literally feel the emotions and feelings of the characters come alive from the pages. A gripping love story which isn't all about hearts and flowers but about life and the challenges people face when in love with not one but two special people. Mostly though it's about bravery and facing challenges head on. Definitely worth reading and I will be looking to read more books by this author.
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  • Teresa
    January 1, 1970
    Sea of Memories is a beautiful love story. It is the love story between Ella and Angus, Ella and Christophe and ultimately between Kendra and Dan. It is also a love story between Ella and Kendra.Ella asks her granddaughter, Kendra, to write her story before she becomes so frail that she can no longer remember it. Through tapes, letters and conversations, Kendra learns the story of Ella and Christophe, and in doing so, learns who her grandmother really was, something we would all be privileged to Sea of Memories is a beautiful love story. It is the love story between Ella and Angus, Ella and Christophe and ultimately between Kendra and Dan. It is also a love story between Ella and Kendra.Ella asks her granddaughter, Kendra, to write her story before she becomes so frail that she can no longer remember it. Through tapes, letters and conversations, Kendra learns the story of Ella and Christophe, and in doing so, learns who her grandmother really was, something we would all be privileged to have been able to do. Without giving too much away, Ella's story teaches us that lasting love is the one that counts and second chances are often offered, just maybe not the one you thought you wanted.
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  • Sally Mcdonagh
    January 1, 1970
    Kendra visits her elderly grandmother, who she doesn’t really know that well, in a nursing home, begrudgingly and out of guilt. There her grandmother asks her if she would write her memoirs before she forgets her life. Ella starts off her story with her first trip to île de ré in France and the friendship that she has with Christophe and Caroline. The book starts in 2014 and from there we get glimpses of Ella’s life from 1938 to 2014. We see how the war impacted on her life and the way that she Kendra visits her elderly grandmother, who she doesn’t really know that well, in a nursing home, begrudgingly and out of guilt. There her grandmother asks her if she would write her memoirs before she forgets her life. Ella starts off her story with her first trip to île de ré in France and the friendship that she has with Christophe and Caroline. The book starts in 2014 and from there we get glimpses of Ella’s life from 1938 to 2014. We see how the war impacted on her life and the way that she reacted to everything that life threw at her. It also tells kendra’s story and how she relates to Ella. There is a strained relationship between kendra’s mother and Ella and we don’t find out why until the end of the book. This is a beautiful book that brought all the emotions. Really loved it.
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  • Rebecca Stonehill
    January 1, 1970
    This was the first of Fiona Valpy's novels I have read and I was enormously impressed by this evocative and poignant novel. With a strong sense of place and first-rate, believable characterisation, I was swept along by Ella's story from beginning to end, hardly putting the book down. I really enjoyed the dual time scales as well - while at first I was unsure of the relevance of the modern setting, as the story unwound, I could see how Kendra's anxieties with her marriage and mothering gently mir This was the first of Fiona Valpy's novels I have read and I was enormously impressed by this evocative and poignant novel. With a strong sense of place and first-rate, believable characterisation, I was swept along by Ella's story from beginning to end, hardly putting the book down. I really enjoyed the dual time scales as well - while at first I was unsure of the relevance of the modern setting, as the story unwound, I could see how Kendra's anxieties with her marriage and mothering gently mirrored, in many ways, the experience of her grandmother many years before, helping to make the ending of the novel that bit more satisfying. Well done to Fiona Valpy and I look forward to reading many more of her books.
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  • A Book Lover's Emporium Book Blog
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this story, it was well written and enthralling. I had a feeling where the story was going but that didn't detract from my enjoyment at all. I liked the way it swapped from present day to the past, giving you the story from two perspectives.The characters were all very likeable and relatable to, and I loved them all. I really began feeling their love and pain as I read and I desperately want them to find love and peace, in their own way. By the end I have to admit I was in tears, the sto I loved this story, it was well written and enthralling. I had a feeling where the story was going but that didn't detract from my enjoyment at all. I liked the way it swapped from present day to the past, giving you the story from two perspectives.The characters were all very likeable and relatable to, and I loved them all. I really began feeling their love and pain as I read and I desperately want them to find love and peace, in their own way. By the end I have to admit I was in tears, the story was so well written and I was both happy and sad for the final outcome. A book that you should make time to read in peace and thoroughly enjoy.
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  • Carrie Echols
    January 1, 1970
    Heavenly BookI received this kindle version from a Goodreads Giveaway. I absolutely loved this book! The authors descriptions are so lyrical, I could just envision the surroundings so clearly. I loved the storyline, and was so moved by Ella's torment and struggles, the emotions of her love for Christophe and Angus also. Ella learned so much through her life and was able to give sound advice to Kendra from it. Delightful book, I look forward to reading more from this author!
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  • Emma Summers
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful story of a lifetime of love and loss. Ella desperately wants to tell her story through her granddaughter Kendra in the hopes that it will reunite her with her estranged daughter. It's the story of first love and lasting love from before the Second World War and beyond. Set on Il de Re, which is a place I've been to and love and I could picture it's idyllic beauty throughout this story. I've not read a Fiona Valpy book before but I shall look out for other titles by her in the future.
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  • Linda A Fletcher
    January 1, 1970
    MovingA book to read on so many levels.Firstly the joy of your first love, the one that you think is for ever, and it might be! Then the interruption of WW2 and the lives of what seemed to be ordinary men and women, who where extraordinary and a love forged on the back of these exploits.And not to forget the love of parents juggling with a handicapped child that without that all consuming love will break families or forge them if the signs are tread right.A joy to read and look forward to my nex MovingA book to read on so many levels.Firstly the joy of your first love, the one that you think is for ever, and it might be! Then the interruption of WW2 and the lives of what seemed to be ordinary men and women, who where extraordinary and a love forged on the back of these exploits.And not to forget the love of parents juggling with a handicapped child that without that all consuming love will break families or forge them if the signs are tread right.A joy to read and look forward to my next one.
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  • Jody
    January 1, 1970
    Perfect Summer ReadI can't remember the last time a book made me cry, but this one did. I don't think younger generations appreciate what it was like to live through WWII, especially in Great Britain and France. Ms. Valpy makes you feel as though you are there in the story with her characters. You feel their angst, their heartbreak, their joy, their every emotion. It was a roller coaster ride that I didn't want to get off of. I couldn't put it down. I read it straight through in a day.
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  • Maureen Moffat
    January 1, 1970
    Gripping from first to last pages.Here there are several stories in one, the possibilities for each strand to become a book of its own. I can still feel the joy of scudding over foam topped waves, the bottomless grief of lost loveUnlike many authors, Fiona contrives to bring her story to a considered conclusion rather than leaving the reader with the feeling that she "can't be bothered anymore" A bit like Bronte 's Villette, the future of the characters is yours to decide.
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  • Melinda M
    January 1, 1970
    Sea of Memories by Fiona Valpy is the story of Ella as told to her granddaughter. Ella wants her granddaughter to write her story down before she forgets. It is a story of challenges, love and second changes. Fiona Valpy does a wonderful job of describing the scenes and you feel if you are there. The descriptions are wonderful. Makes you realize that a story needs to be told to be helpful. I received a copy thru a Goodreads Giveaway.
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  • Beth Sammons
    January 1, 1970
    An amazing story of loveI love stories in this period of time, the greatest generation. They lived, loved in a period of such darkness and hardship. They lived a nd survived a period of such evil, and yet when it was over they thrived and survived. I loved the back And forth of this story. Both grandma and granddaughter struggled with their marriage, yet both succeeded in the end.
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  • Nicola Jane Hudson
    January 1, 1970
    Enjoyable readI really enjoyed reading this book.Based partly in Scotland & France and spanning between present day & the world war 2 I felt the author really brought the characters to life. I did feel it ended a little abruptly and would have liked to know if forgiveness had been granted to Ella by her daughter, however the story did make me cry always a good sign of a good love story.I would definitely recommend & will read about book by this author.
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  • JAY BRASSELL
    January 1, 1970
    Sea of memoriesWhen I started this book, it did not grab me right off, then I kept going and could not stop. The story is captivating and you can feel truth in the words. The real story of loves lost and found. I fell in love with Ella and her journey. The author did a wonderful job intertwining the past and present. (This is not an easy task) I believe that she truly grasped the feelings of wanting to be in the moment, yet sometimes drifting away to the past.
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  • Sally Rogers
    January 1, 1970
    A Truly Beautiful StorySo lovely that I didn't want it to end. It included the past and the present, melding it into one to create a real page turner. Ella went through what a lot of women did during wars; losing a love, moving on, but never really forgetting. Also a good portrayal of autism, a condition not often understood by those that don't encounter it. Well done Fiona - another favourite author to add to my list
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  • Betty
    January 1, 1970
    I adored this beautifully written novel about the memoirs of an aging woman. The choices she made in life destroyed her relationship with her only daughter. As she nears the end of her life, she asks her granddaughter to write a novel from those memoirs so that the daughter may read them and understand those choices. It is a poignant tale set in both England and France in the 2nd world war. Both the narrative and dialogue are exceptionally well done and if you don't mind a good cry, I highly rec I adored this beautifully written novel about the memoirs of an aging woman. The choices she made in life destroyed her relationship with her only daughter. As she nears the end of her life, she asks her granddaughter to write a novel from those memoirs so that the daughter may read them and understand those choices. It is a poignant tale set in both England and France in the 2nd world war. Both the narrative and dialogue are exceptionally well done and if you don't mind a good cry, I highly recommend this one.
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  • Natasha Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    Don’t normally write reviews but the story drew me in very quickly. Beautiful story about one woman who was a daughter/lover/mother/wife/grandmother. What are our grandparents stories? Mine have now passed away but I wish I’d asked them about their life and the war. Got through 5 tissues at the end of this book, something else I don’t normally do and that’s cry! The character of Ella had obviously got to me. Great book.
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  • G Bolter
    January 1, 1970
    A fabulous bookChose this for my bookclub choice from the reviews it had... and I wasn’t sorry ... the characters are all very believable and I fell in love with them all.. tissues at the ready towards the end. I have been to the isle de Re and it is a very special place brought alive in this lovely book. Don’t yet know the feelings of my fellow bookclub members .. will have to wait until our next big meet to find out!!
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  • Fátima
    January 1, 1970
    Lovely readI've really enjoyed reading this book, getting transported in to Ella's life and understanding all that happened to her. It's a beautiful love story that tells the life of a woman since she's young all through the years, including the World War II. All very well explained, lots of descriptions without making it too annoying and that really takes you to Ella's world. First time I read this author and not the last one!
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