Sea Creatures by Val Harris

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Sea Creatures by Val Harris

Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A gentle, absorbing read about how three adults cope with the fact that their mother deserted them twenty two years previously - and then returns. If you want a holiday read then you could do a lot worse.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 325 Date: October 2009
Publisher: Cava Books
ISBN: 978-0955599743

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Rowena Moon and her husband Brendan lived on the Cornish coast with their three children, Jenna, Charlie and Olivia. Brendan was an artist – and a reasonably successful one. Rowena ran a local café and the children had the freedom of the local beach. It sounds like, and probably was, an idyllic childhood until one day Rowena disappeared without warning and without explanation. It was devastating and affected each of the children in different ways as they grew up. Twenty two years later the five are reunited and the mystery of their past unravels.

This is only incidentally the story of how three children cope when their mother suddenly disappears. Their father wasn't without help either from the lady down the road, who was sharing his bed before his wife disappeared, or from the au pair who was a lasting support to the children. No – this is the story of what happens when Rowena reappeared in their lives after an absence of twenty two years. Jenna, the eldest child, who's still living at home with their father, embraces the situation but Charlie and Olivia are far from pleased about the idea.

Charlie has difficulties of his own. He's been doing some drug dealing and he's in trouble; the law is probably the least of his problems. He doesn't need a mother at this stage in his life. Olivia is cool, almost cold, in her relationships. She's married, but like her home it's a minimalist relationship. She was little more than a baby when her mother left and she wants nothing to do with her now. And Brendan – well Brendan doesn't seem quite as surprised as one might have expected.

It's a gentle, absorbing read with some characters you'll warm to. I loved Jenna. She's open-hearted and generous despite circumstances which might have made her otherwise. Over the days since I've finished reading Sea Creatures I've found myself thinking about her, wondering how she was getting on in the wake of some momentous events. The person who intrigued me most was Olivia with her ability to close her heart to anything which might hurt, to cut problems out with surgical precision. She's at home in London – and always has been – whilst Jenna longs for her beloved Cornwall when she's away. And Charlie – well, Charlie's just lost, even after all this time.

There's a subtle message in the book. We all make mistakes but there is redemption. It's a heart-warming, feel-good book despite dealing with some difficult topics.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals to you then you might also enjoy The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton and Under a Sapphire Sky by Susannah Bates.

Buy Sea Creatures by Val Harris at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sea Creatures by Val Harris at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Sea Creatures by Val Harris at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sea Creatures by Val Harris at Amazon.com.


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Diane Hughes said:

Hi,

Have just finished reading Sea Creatures by Val Harris.

You are right - a lovely gentle ‘feel good’ read.

Couldn’t put it down!

Val Harris is definitely an author watch.

I look forward to her next book.

Diane Hughes I