A sweeping, tenderhearted love story, Beyond That, the Sea by Laura Spence-Ash tells the story of two families living through World War II on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, and the shy, irresistible young woman who will call them both her own.
As German bombs fall over London in 1940, working-class parents Millie and Reginald Thompson make an impossible choice: they decide to send their eleven-year-old daughter, Beatrix, to America. There, she’ll live with another family for the duration of the war, where they hope she’ll stay safe.
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.
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(3 / 5) Beatrix is sent from her home in London to America to wait out the duration of the war. Her parents hope this is where she will be safe.
I picked up this book purely based on that synopsis. I’ve heard there were kids shipped off to other countries to avoid the war, but I hadn’t heard enough to quell my curiosity. I love that there were POV from America but also London. There were adult POV but also some from the kids. The emotional toll this arrangement had on everyone was extreme but it was also such a happy time. Beatrix starts to feel more comfortable with this foster family than with her own.
Historical fiction tends to be a slower read and I think I needed something faster paced. While it was interesting, I don’t feel it quelled my curiosity. So much of the book was set after the war that I felt disappointed I didn’t get more during the war. It was quite a sad story after the war and it got long and hard to endure because there was so much sadness. I enjoyed this one but it left me wanting more.
AUDIO REVIEW: Ell Potter was the narrator and she did well! She has a soft, soothing voice that was great for the subject. She did tend to speak slowly, so much so that I increased the audio speed much more than I tend to listen. Once I found that speed it went smoother.
General content summary: F words= 1, previous miscarriages (few), bombs and fires and chaos (few details), references to rape, alcohol (some underage), pipe smoking, heart attack and coma and parental death, funeral and grief, talk of god and the afterlife, references and contemplation about intimacy and bodies, cigarettes (underage), m/f kisses, heart attack and parental death, pregnancy and engagement, skinny dipping, intimacy (few details), infidelity, previous stillborn child, car accident death (grief, spouse/parental death), baths (adult washing an 11yo child as she grows).
Thank you to MacMillan Audio for the gifted copy!
The book releases March 21, 2023.
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