Sunday 19 August 2018

Along the Infinite Sea

Finished August 14
Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams, tread by Kathleen McInerney

This engrossing novel follows two timelines. The first we see is in 1966, when Pepper Schuyler has just sold a car that she found in her sister's barn, and fixed back to new with the help of a friend. She has been looking for a way to ensure that she and her unborn child have enough to survive on without the help of the child's father, and now she feels she has succeeded. Except that the father still wants something from her, and all she wants is for him to stay out of her life forever. She can't believe how naive she was, falling for the moves of a well-known, and married, politician. Only one of her sister's knows her circumstances, and Pepper is too embarrassed to tell the rest of the family. But she does know that she wants this child.
But the new owner of the car, Annabelle Dommerich, has taken an interest in her, and wants to help, even though she doesn't even know her. Annabelle has her own secrets, and it is those that the other storyline reveals. That storyline begins in 1936, when Annabelle is 19, and living with her father in Paris and on the Riviera. Her father's wild life isn't hers, and she mostly keeps to herself, playing her cello, and enjoying her surroundings. She has spent the years since her mother's death in boarding school, learning from nuns, a much different life than the one she is now exposed to. She knows some of what broke up her parent's marriage, her father's philandering, and has no interest in participating in his parties now.
When her brother calls on her to use the nursing skills she learned in school on an injured friend, she finds herself in close quarters with an attractive young German Jewish man, who she finds herself developing feelings for despite herself. As Annabelle finds herself protected, both from reality, and from information that she should have been told, she finds herself making choices for her future that she may regret. From her marriage to a man who loves her well, but whom she doesn't have passion for, to the recurring appearance of the young man she fell for, she tries to find her way to a happy ending.
As we see Annabelle's and Pepper's stories converge, we see how these very different women have their inner strength in common. I really felt swept away by this novel.

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