CaptivatingLovely plot and we ll written characters Such a beautiful story on love and what it entitles and the sacrifices people make everyday for their families whether it s out of desires of morals Love it 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 R , 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 of Ella s story set in the past, from the beautiful Ile de R and 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. 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 Le De R 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 Le De R Can She Ever Find Her Way Back And Does She Want To From The Windswept Le De R To The Rugged Hills Of Scotland, Sea Of Memories Is A Spellbinding Journey About The Power Of Memory, Love And Second Chances. 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. Sea of Memories by Fiona Valpy was the first book in quite some time that made me ugly cry myself into quite the intense headache, but despite that or maybe because of that I found it to be an absolutely lovely reading experience Much of the novel takes place on the le de R island off the shore of France, which is about as picturesque and serene as a setting can possibly be however, the tranquility of the island like all of Europe was disrupted by the bombs and violence of World War II The story alternates between the past on the le de R as well as Paris and various other European locations during and closely following the war and present day Scotland, where a young woman visits her elderly grandmother in a nursing home Feeling that her death is drawing near, the grandmother begins to record her memories of the time before and after the war so that her granddaughter can transcribe them, which is how we are taken back in time, upon a sea of memories This was a very memorable tale of loss, lasting love, and the power of forgiveness It certainly tugged at my heart strings and reminded me of why I have always loved historical fiction so dearly. 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. 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 My, this was a lovely book well written, good story, great characters, beautiful descriptions, emotional and heart tugging, but realistic as well Set in France and Edinburgh, the story moves on through the main character, Ella s life, as told through the setting of her granddaughter writing her story The whole thing just worked beautifully I even felt moved to leave a message for the author, who is a friend of a friend of mine, just because I enjoyed it so much Definitely would recommend it. 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 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 Sea of memories2.5 This book is a good example of how a very beautifully written novel can also be very shallow and trivial.How can I describe it Like a good looking cake very classy, stunning and lovely decoration , but without any distinctive taste as if you are eating a honeycombI really, really liked the descriptions in the book a fine mixture of beautifully written words I felt however that the author tried too hard to draw an impressive mesmerizing picture, forgetting to put some content on the way On the outside everything was perfect But when it comes down to the emotions, to the turmoil the characters are going through, to the tumultuous undercurrents, swiping away one s soul, there is a long way to go.I couldn t feel the passion For me the characters were a little bit too plastic, too soulless, and vacant.As I was reading through the book, I was thinking that it could be said simply, but in the meanwhile accurate, deeper, cutting edge ly kind of a way.The story is as old as the world one girl, two boys The first love The lasting love The dream The reality The illusion The mundaneness.At the end, I still couldn t relate to the characters, couldn t believe in them.Sorry, but I expected.