The Sea Gate by Jane Johnson

1. First lines. 2. Book Cover Harper Collins | Simon & Schuster | Head of Zeus 3. Coast, tree, path [Public Domain] via Pxhere 4. Girl – phone [Public Domain] via Pxhere

Published: 2020 Harper Collins | Simon & Schuster | Head of Zeus Genre: Historical fiction. Setting: Cornwall, United Kingdom

  • THE STORY:
    • Told in a dual narrative, World War II and the present-day, the story is set in Cornwall in the same house. In the present-day, Rebecca’s mother has died, and whilst sorting through her things, she discovers a letter from Olivia, an older unknown cousin. Sensing a mystery, Rebecca travels to Olivia’s home in Cornwall , and the family secrets are revealed.
  • QUOTES:
    • “All sorts went on under cover of the war. It was a desperate time and people behaved as if they might die at any minute. But then they didn’t and peace came and somehow society had to get back to being ordered and normal and all those untoward things got swept under the carpet and we weren’t supposed to speak of them.”
    • “Wherever you go in the world, it seems to me, there are gullible people ready to be manipulated by those who are cleverer or more malign.”
  • REVIEWS:
    • Historical Novel Society: “Each strand of the narrative is both a love story and a thriller in its own right. Rebecca is named after the title character in Daphne Du Maurier’s novel, and Johnson’s novel echoes Du Maurier in its strong Cornish sense of place as well as the way it builds the feeling of tension and foreboding. Dual narrative at its very best.”
    • Publishers Weekly: “Johnson’s powers of description evoke the setting’s living history and brings it to brilliant life. This sweeping saga is a must-read.”
  • MY THOUGHTS:
    • Although I enjoyed reading the story, there was nothing really gripping in it for me. All the elements of a historical mystery were there: set in an out-of-the-way place in Cornwall, family secrets, an old house … and more. The story held my interest enough for me to keep reading, the characters were realistic, and the intricacies of the plot were well-executed. A good read.
  • AUTHOR: Jane Johnson

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