I was thrilled to have received a copy of this book for review, as I thought the author's last book, her debut: Life Without Summer was wonderful. Her latest novel: Sea Escape, is based in part on letters discovered about the author's own family. It is also a story about the ties that forever bind mothers and daughters.
Laura Tobin Martinez is a 40 something, working wife and mother of two, who suddenly finds herself being stretched even further. Her mother Helen has had a debilitating stroke, and will require extensive rehabilitation. Laura and her mother have always had a strained relationship, and Laura never understood why she could not seem to please her mother no matter how hard she tried. Despite this Laura is committed to stepping up to the plate to care for her mother. She puts her own life on hold in the process.
Helen's husband Joseph was the love of her life, when he was killed in 1975 while working for the Associated Press during the Vietnam Era. After Joseph's death Helen found solace at Sea Escape, a beautiful beach home the couple built, and Helen painstakingly decorated to perfection. It is here at Sea Escape, that Laura discovers old letters written by her parents, dating back as far as 1951. It is through these old letters that Laura discovers shocking things about her parents that she is learning for the first time. The reader gets insight into why Helen was like she was, and why she rarely showed her feelings. The story alternates between the past (letters) and present, Laura's family life and Helen's stoke and rehabilitation. The writing is good, and the story moved along at a satisfying pace.
Sea Escape is a story that should appeal to lots of women, especially those who enjoy stories about the mother/daughter relationship. In many ways I could relate to Laura and her strained relationship with her mother, as well as her struggles trying to please too many people at the same time. I thought the author did a good job overall with this novel.
RECOMMENDED - 4/5 stars