Beyond the Sea

you me and the seaYou, Me, and The Sea: A Novel by Meg Donohue (William Morrow, $15.99, 368 pages)

Author Meg Donohue opens You, Me, and The Sea with a rainy morning in Sea Cliff, an exclusive residential neighborhood in San Francisco.  Will Langford and Merrow Shawe have carefully planned their engagement party in their home and surrounding garden.  They hope for better weather later in the day.  What transpires is the beginning of the real story.

Merrow is the narrator for the entire two-part novel.  Ms. Donohue gives her a singsong voice when Merrow describes her early childhood on a dirt poor farm.  There are warning signs mixed in with a few pleasant events.  To make matters worse, older brother, Bear, constantly torments Merrow.  There is a bit too much anxiety, anticipation and pain for this reviewer.  Unlike How to Eat a Cupcake, a prior work by Ms. Donohue, You, Me, and The Sea lacks balance with its overwhelming tension.

you me rear cover

Readers can be sure of Ms. Donohue’s knowledge of the Bay Area.  She sets up striking contrasts between wealth and poverty using detailed descriptions of the locales where the action takes place.  Although the Pacific Coast is the overall setting, this is not a beach novel.

It’s a shame that the read is far from being as engaging and fun as Donohue’s delightful debut, How to Eat a Cupcake.

Ruta Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher.  This book was released in trade paperback and hardbound and other versions on May 7, 2019.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Beyond the Sea

  1. Paul Matthew St. Pierre

    Good review. Although you have reservations about the novel, you do credit Donohue for her knowledge of the Bay Area and caution hers is not a beach novel.

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