Beyond the Bright Sea — Review & Giveaway

Thought for the Day:

”There’s a phrase I use called ‘The Valley Full of Clouds.’ Writing a novel is as if you are going off on a journey across a valley. The valley is full of mist, but you can see the top of a tree here and the top of another tree over there. And with any luck you can see the other side of the valley. But you cannot see down into the mist. Nevertheless, you head for the first tree.”

~ Terry Pratchett ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

As writers, we all love words. HERE is an article about some 1920s slang we should bring back in 2020. Enjoy!

The Writer’s Digest article HERE will give you 15 Things a Writer Should Never Do. I am particularly enamored with number 8.

Do you ever lose your passion for writing, feel like you just want to throw in the towel? Most writers have that moment. Janice Hardy at Fiction University even had it and has some ideas HERE about what to do when that happens.

The best thing of the week for me was all the Bernie memes. There were so many clever ones, it was awfully hard to choose my favorite, so you will get two memes for the price of one this week. I could have put fifty up here and still not be done! I love them. Life seems to be calming down in politics. Wish I could say the same about Covid. It is raging so badly now, and the numbers are truly frightening. But now we have someone in charge who has the best interest of the country in mind, so hopefully the vaccines will be distributed more quickly and get to people in a timely manner. I had my first shot this week. I got the Moderna (not a choice — that is what my provider had.) I personally don’t think it makes a whit of difference. Whatever they had, I was taking. I had no problems, no soreness; I didn’t even feel the needle. I will get my second shot mid-February, and then soon after I will feel more comfortable going to the store and doing other errands, but I will still wear a mask. There are a lot of good reasons to do that. I doubt we should give up our masks until flu season is over next year. My sister posted a good article from PBS on that topic. It’s worth reading. HERE is the link.

Sometime in the past, I made mention of a marvelous adult book, News of the World by Paulette Jiles. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that book. The writing was spectacular and the story really moved me. I was excited to see the new movie with Tom Hanks, and last night we ponied up the money and rented it. It does not disappoint. Hanks is solid, of course, giving an understated but perfect performance. Helena Zengel plays the little girl Johanna in the film and she was great. I think the book was richer and more nuanced, but the film is definitely worth your time.

I have been digging in to my TBR pile lately and will talk about a book that came out three years ago, but it’s never to late to review a good book. The book is Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk. I had read and loved Wolf Hollow some time ago, and put this one on my list because I had liked it so much. Beyond the Bright Sea was as good as I could have expected. The writing is simply beautiful. What I mean is things like this: “…one day that fall, when the sky was the color of forget-me-nots and the sea wanted to play…” or this: “The breeze curtsied as it passed by. A chimney swift sketched a curlicue overhead. If there had been music, it might have been too much to bear.” Wow. So good. Anyway, here are my thoughts on the book.

Crow is twelve now and has lived on a small island with Osh, who took her in when she was tiny and showed up tied into a skiff that floated ashore shortly after she was born. Crow was something of an outcast in the Elizabeth islands because it was suspected she had come from Penikese, a tiny island nearby that had been home to a leper colony. No one in nearby Cuttyhunk would touch her for fear she carried leprosy. No one except Miss Maggie, a sweet woman who was a good friend to both Crow and Osh. They all have a pretty simple existence, living mostly off Miss Maggie’s garden and the seafood Osh caught. By the time Crow is twelve, she has become very curious about where she came from and what there is on Penikese Island that might answer her questions. All she had when she landed, was a ring and a letter that had gotten wet and was just scraps. When she spots a fire at night that seems to be on Penikese, she really pushes Osh to take her. He tells her there is a scientist living on the island now and that it is probably him, but Crow insists. Miss Maggie goes with them, and when they arrive they someone has been digging holes all over the island. They knock on the locked door of the old hospital building, and no one answers, but Crow thinks she hears something inside. Shortly after, the scientist shows up and tells them there are no records and nothing for them there. He seems anxious to have them leave. They leave, but Crow is far from satisfied. She wonders what the noise was she heard in the hospital and why the scientist was so anxious to have them leave. She is far from satisfied, and her search from answers is far from over.

Lauren Wolk

Lauren Wolk has written a charming story with fascinating characters and a great premise. There is plenty of mystery and intrigue to keep pages turning. The writing is so beautiful, I can’t say enough about it. The characters are fully realized and will stay with readers long after they close the book. Not every question is answered, but that’s okay. It’s good to leave some things to our imaginations. I hope if you haven’t read this wonderful book, you will find a copy and get to it. You won’t regret it.

I have a gently-read paperback for one of you. All you need do is be a follower or subscriber (it’s free!), have a U.S. address, and leave a comment below. If you would like extra chances, please share the link to this post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media outlet and let me know you have done that. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

31 thoughts on “Beyond the Bright Sea — Review & Giveaway”

  1. #6 in the list of what writers shouldn’t do resonated with me. I chose a BETA reader family for my MG family mystery novel. This grandmother has pre-teen grands she encourages to read. She agreed to read with them and answer just 7 questions about plot, relatability and clues. After printing out hard copies for each of them of my draft of 90 pages…nothing until I gently nudged this friend from book club. Did I end up hating her? You guessed it. She red penciled my novel, disagreed with one main trope (pen pal letters) and never answered the questions until months later. I was hurt. Later I looked over some of the grammar issues and agreed. I learned from this experience. No more hate.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m loving the Bernie memes, too. Who would have thought that Bernie Sanders would be the politician to unite my friends across the political spectrum in a moment (or week) of joy? 🙂
    No need to enter me in the giveaway–I have this wonderful book on my shelf already! Lovely review; I completely agree.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have read this wonderful book so please let someone else win the giveaway. Crow was such a strong character and it would be great to see her in another story.
    They should put all those Bernie memes in a book. It would be a best seller.
    Love the list of what writers should never do. Very affirming.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have this book on my wish list. This author is so talented. Thank you for the review and for sharing it with one of us. I shared on Facebook, twitter, and tumblr.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love Lauren Wolk’s work, and I enjoyed this book immensely. {Please don’t enter me in the giveaway.} This is an exceptionally moving story where the setting becomes a strong character in the book. Thanks for sharing this for MMGM. :0}

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I had a copy of this book, but I have zero clue where I put it. Hopefully I still have it, because you make it sound excellent, especially considering the beautiful quotes! I’m glad you got your first dose of the vaccine—that’s awesome! I also love the quote—and the Bernie memes, of course! I’ll pass on the giveaway, but thanks for the great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for the article on slang. While writing my historical novels I dug into a few slang dictionaries to make the dialogs sound authentic. It was great fun as well. And yes, News of the World was an amazing novel. Can’t wait to see the movie.


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