Monday, 28 April 2014

Guest Book Review: Amanda James - Somewhere Beyond the Sea

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

When love begins with a lie, where will it end?

Doctor Tristan Ainsworth has returned with his family to the idyllic Cornish village close to where he grew up. The past has taught him some hard lessons, but he'll do anything to make his wife happy - so what's making her so withdrawn?

Karen Ainsworth daren't reveal her true feelings, but knows her husband has put up with her moods for too long. A chance to use her extraordinary singing voice may set her free, so why shouldn't she take it? Surely her past can't hurt her now? 

As a tide of blackmail and betrayal is unleashed to threaten the foundations of their marriage, Karen and Tristan face a difficult question. Is their love strong enough to face the truth when the truth might cost them everything?

Amazon links: Kindle or Paperback

Somewhere Beyond the Sea is the second novel from Amanda James and it does not disappoint. Set in Cornwall and told partly in diary format it is a story of secrets, relationships and overcoming adversity. Amanda has written an engrossing and gripping read which draws you in from the opening scene set on a deserted beach leading to an attempted suicide. From here on in the book moves at a cracking pace as secrets from the past are uncovered. This is 
something I really liked about the novel, Amanda doesn’t mess around dragging the story out it flows along nicely as problems are uncovered and dealt with in a realistic manner and the characters deal with their troubles head on instead of avoiding the issue as in some books where it can endless chapters for a resolution to be found. There are twists and turns aplenty and deep dark issues to deal with but Amanda writes convincingly and builds up plenty of tension and suspension as they mystery unravels. 

Set in Cornwall Somewhere Beyond the Sea tells the story of Karen and Tristan Ainsworth who recently moved to the Cornish countryside where Tristan is the local doctor. Karen is agrophobic and confined to her house with two small children. She loves to sing but is unable to indulge her passion. But what led her to become agrophobic?- Something from her past and is the past coming back to haunt her? Why can she not live the perfect family life which she craves? 

As the novel progress we discover what has led Karen to be in the position she is in today and we start to feel a whole lot more sympathy for her and the situation she finds herself in. Faced with her secret being exposed and subject to blackmail Karen has a choice to make but will it change the perfect family life she so wants that eluded her in her childhood? As Karen’s secret is revealed the character of Tristan really steps up to the plate and becomes the loyal ,caring, 
supportive husband everyone wishes they had. Tristan was a wonderfully written character and dare I say it I preferred him more than Karen even though I felt for her and the awful events she had been through. I just loved how even though he may have doubted Karen’s situation at times he never let her down and stood by her until triumph overcame adversity. Anyone would love a man like this in their life.

The supporting cast play a huge role in the novel as they greatly enhance the rural Cornish setting and add moments of humour and light relief in a novel that does have dark elements and serious issues. Michael and Jenny( the local vicar and his wife) offer Karen a much needed friendship and support system and Harold the butcher made me laugh out loud on several occasions with his quirky observations. 

The novel has a satisfactory conclusion but it’s all about the journey to that conclusion which makes this an absorbing read.I would highly recommend Somewhere Beyond the Sea, at first it appeared when I read the blurb I thought this was a bit dark compared to what I usually read but Amanda James had me enthralled and eager to know what was going on from the very first page and that is the sign of a very good writer. I have her first novel Stitch in Time on my T.B.R pile and will be definitely be reading this soon and I look forward to what Amanda has in store for us next.

I'd like to thank Choc Lit for sending me a copy of this eBook to review and Emma for reviewing it for the blog.  


  1. Thank you very much, Emma! I am so glad you liked it :)

  2. I loved this book too and enjoy a touch of dark undertones mixed in with the romance.
    Angela Britnell