Published: 14th June 2018
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Seren MacArthur is living a life she never intended. Trying to save the Cornish seaside business her late father built – while grieving for his loss – she has put her own dreams on hold and is struggling. Until she discovers a half-finished seaglass star on her favourite beach during an early morning walk. When she completes the star, she sets into motion a chain of events that will steal her heart and challenge everything she believes. Jack Dixon is trying to secure a better life for daughter Nessie and himself. Left a widower and homeless when his wife died, he’s just about keeping their heads above water. Finding seaglass stars completed on Gwithian beach is a bright spark that slowly rekindles his hope. Seren and Jack are searching for their missing pieces. But when they meet in real life, it’s on the opposing sides of a battle. Jack is managing the redevelopment of a local landmark, and Seren is leading the community campaign to save it. Both have reason to fight – Seren for the cause her father believed in, Jack for his livelihood. But only one can win. With so much at stake, will they ever find what they are really looking for?
Thank you to Pan Macmillan for kindly sending me a review copy.
Within the heart of St Ives, Seren and Jack are struggling. Seren is slowly coming to terms with the loss of her Dad whilst desperately trying to get his art shop alive as well as fighting a town battle that she never signed up for. Jack, now a single father to his lively daughter Nessie is also struggling – financially, independently and with the prospect of no work on the horizon, the beach is the only place where his troubles aren’t knocking at the door. The opening few chapters of Somewhere Beyond The Sea provide readers with a true insight into the lives of Seren and Jack; who they are as individuals, the part they play within the community, their crumbling careers, their family lives but most of all, their love for the beach.
“They like what they’re doing. It matters and that means even though we could be walking past one another as strangers every day, down here in this small corner of Gwithian Beach, we are friends. I like having friends who pursue magic. It feels like coming home.”
Each morning as Seren descends down to the beach with the family dog, she completes the final corner of a seaglass star made by the previous person. Readers will automatically know that it is Jack and his daughter Nessie who begin each star as the narrative is divided equally into two points of view, but there was something so magical and mesmerising about the fact that neither of them knew who was making and completing the stars. Along the star making, Seren and Jack are opponents during a town battle regarding a local landmark; on behalf on her late Dad, it is up to Seren to lead the community into saving the place of Elinor Carne and yet, it is Jack’s job to prove to the people of St Ives that a redevelopment is in their best interest. With each meeting, Seren and Jack do a fantastic job of voicing their opinions and ideas amongst the town, but it is only within themselves and the readers that a spark is born between them.
“I just need the people of St Ives to put their faith in me to make it happen.”
Seren has several battles to contend with throughout the duration of the plot; the fight to keep her Dad’s art shop alive, the fight with her Mum not to sell the shop, the fight with the bank to at least provide her with two more months to make a change and the fight to save the local landmark. The plot takes an interesting turn when Seren discovers who her mystery star maker is and every single reader will desperately want her to talk to Jack about it each time they see one another, but of course we’re in a fictional world so things don’t happen as smoothly as we’d like them to.
“It’s our thing now, in our new home, on the beach that has come to mean the world to both of us.”
Towards the end of the plot, I wondered whether Seren would receive her happy ending but bear with her, it all happens in perfect timing. I thought the characters of Seren and Jack were written superbly; Seren was loyal to her Dad in the up-keeping of his art shop and in regards to Jack, his daughter (who was just brilliant) was his main priority and I just know that readers will really enjoy reading about the relationship between the pair. The blossoming love between Seren and Jack focuses mainly upon the making of the stars and once the town vote, they go their separate ways and readers are left wondering whether things between the pair will ever be right. I enjoyed Somewhere Beyond The Sea more than I thought I would; Miranda has a very strong style of writing and despite not having read her books for a few years, it was easy to fall back into step with her captivating chose of setting and lively characters. This is a book that would be perfect to read during a long weekend or a day at the beach if you’re on holiday.