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Beyond the Sea

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  51 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
The second novel from Melissa Bailey, author of The Medici Mirror...

One summer's day, Freya's husband and son vanish at sea.

A year on, and struggling to cope, Freya returns to the lighthouse-keeper's cottage on a remote Hebridean island, where she and her family spent so many happy times.

Haunted by visions of her old life, Freya's dreams are dark and disturbed. And when a
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 16th 2015 by Arrow (first published October 23rd 2014)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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This is a beautiful story, its well written and easy on the eye as well as not too deep.

We get to meet Freya. She is devastated, her husband and son are lost at sea. She doesn't know how to cope or how to move on.

She feels that returning to the Lighthouse cottage they used to stay in will help her, so that is where she goes to stay.
Her memories are poignant and emotional.

This author really can write clear emotions, grief as it comes to you from the written word.

Freya's mind has 'flashbacks' whic
Philomena Callan Cheekypee
Jul 22, 2015 Philomena Callan Cheekypee rated it it was amazing
This is a truly beautiful read. I've not read anything by this author before so I wasn't sure what I was expecting. I certainly wasn't expecting such a heartfelt story.

Freya's husband and son are lost at sea. Freya returns to her lighthouse cottage a year after their disappearance. She's hoping that returning home will help her move on and cope with her grief.
The author did a wonderful job of portraying the raw pain that Freya was going through with her grief. I felt as if I was going through t
Jul 30, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Freya returns to the lighthouse-keeper’s cottage that she shared with her husband and son, her grief at their loss is still overwhelming, however she feels that she has to return to the cottage to try and find some peace. She still has so many questions as to what happened and hopes that by coming back, she would somehow find some answers.

The story is set around the islands of the Hebrides and the writing is beautifully descriptive. The beauty and bleakness of the islands, the power of the
Jul 30, 2015 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beyond the Sea is Melissa Bailey's second novel and is published by Arrow in paperback and ebook on 16 July 2015. Melissa Bailey's first novel is The Medici Mirror which was published in 2013.

I really didn't know what to expect from Beyond the Sea, I haven't read the author's first book, so this was my first taste of her work. I have really enjoyed the story, and whilst at times it was just a little bit slow, the detail and mystery is very beautifully crafted.

Freya is a tragic figure. She has re
Jul 17, 2015 Sophie rated it really liked it
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The first thing I noticed about Beyond the Sea was how very atmospheric it was. Every sentence appeared to be beautifully written with emotion and energy and it felt like the kind of book that just one more page was never going to be enough. The writing style was wonderfully entrancing. As for the story itself, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from it. The blurb hints at all sorts but it’s left open for us to make our own int
Literary Relish
Jul 30, 2015 Literary Relish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beyond the Sea is Melissa Bailey‘s second novel and her deft pen flourishes in this thoughtful, atmospheric tale of grief, love and loss.

Freya, a tragically widowed young woman is finally returning home to Ailsa Cleit; the remote Hebridean island where she lived in a lighthouse with her husband and son; both tragically killed in a boating accident. Escaping the inevitable fuss of her family (but not the attentions of her tireless sister Martha) Freya’s seafaring world is peopled by down-to-earth
Novel set in the Hebrides (“.. haunting portrayal of grief and its cruel processes”)

Freya returns to the lighthouse-keeper’s cottage on a remote Hebridean island one year after her husband and son vanished at sea. She has found it nigh impossible to move on with her life and her return to their much-loved holiday home is an attempt to finally purge the pain of the loss. She is tortured by visions of their former happy family life and she is further plagued by dreams featuring her son, in which s
Jul 30, 2015 Joanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a beautifully written book that will stay with me for some time. As I am familiar with many of the islands, I was able to picture the windswept beautiful Hebridean locations where Melissa Bailey has set her novel. The beauty and the wilderness were captured perfectly, reflecting the loneliness and grief felt by Freya, the main character. I felt the author expressed Freya's sadness at the unexplained loss of her son and husband so well that I felt quite emotional myself reading about it. ...more
Victoria Goldman
Jul 12, 2015 Victoria Goldman rated it really liked it
Beyond the Sea is an emotional story about coming to terms with the past.

A year after her husband and son disappeared at sea, Freya remains haunted by her memories and struggles to cope with her loss. She feels guilty for leaving her family for a few days to go on a work trip just before they vanished. Their boat was found battered and bruised, but their bodies were never found.

Freya returns to the remote island where her family spent their last few days, believing that this could be the key to
Jul 14, 2015 Anne rated it it was amazing
When I started reading this one, I was rather expecting a psychological thriller, based on the emphasis on Daniel in the book's description - but this book wasn't really that. Or more precisely, it was actually a lot more than that. I wasn't expecting the rawness of emotion around Freya's loss of her husband and son, sensitively written and achingly real. There's a point in the book where Freya explodes in anger for her husband's part in her son's death, harrowing to read, full of passion, ...more
Martine Bailey
Nov 28, 2015 Martine Bailey rated it it was amazing
Set in the Hebrides, this is a fine and sensitive novel about loss and redemption. Freya has lost her husband and young son to the sea, but is drawn back to the isolated lighthouse cottage close to where they died. From a slow and nuanced opening, depicting the damp cottage and hypnotic attraction of the lighthouse, the story builds as Freya is joined firstly, by her sharp and acutely drawn sister, and then mysterious Daniel, cast up one night in a storm. Counterpoints are provided in the diary ...more
Lisa Hall
Jul 30, 2015 Lisa Hall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really good read, although a little slow to start. It's an emotional story, the story of Freya and the loss of her husband and son at sea - we join Freya after she has suffered her loss and see how she is coming to terms with it. The story is really very emotional but handled week - there were tears, especially when Freya comes across items from her son that she wasn't expecting.

I found the story that runs parallel to Freya's story very intriguing - the tales of mermaids, sailors and
Rebecca McNutt
Jun 20, 2016 Rebecca McNutt rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, death, fiction
This book was very eerie, but what really made it stand out was how realistic the characters and their plight were.
Fleur Smithwick
Oct 03, 2016 Fleur Smithwick rated it really liked it
Freya has come to the lighthouse to grieve for her husband Jack and son Sam, an enthusiastic and adventurous little boy lost at sea a year ago, and in the process finds herself under threat. It is told through Freya's point of view but woven in are Sam's diary, local tall-tales of mermaid sightings and the letters of a shipwrecked sailor. I found myself drawn into this novel by the atmosphere as much as the story. Melissa Bailey's descriptions of the sea and the weather round it are incredibly ...more
Lucy Catten
‘The power of the sea always prevails...’

Once in a while, the right book comes along at just the right time. On holiday in the South of Wales surrounded by stunning countryside and views of the sea was the perfect setting in which to lose myself in this wonderful novel.

So what’s it about?

One summer's day, Freya's husband and son vanish at sea.

A year on, and struggling to cope, Freya returns to the lighthouse-keeper's cottage on a remote Hebridean island, where she and her family spent so many h
Jo Barton
Sep 24, 2015 Jo Barton rated it really liked it
Freya McPherson’s husband and young son disappear at sea in what looks like a freak accident. A year later, Freya returns to their light-house keeper’s cottage on a remote Hebridean island to try to pick up the pieces of her life again. But the cottage is filled with memories of happier times and Freya is haunted by dark and disturbing dreams, which blend, both her present and her past, and where she experiences such a huge sense of loss, that her life, on waking, is filled with despair.

This is
Sep 24, 2015 Suze rated it it was amazing
Freya has lost her husband and son. Their boat has been found empty, so they probably died at sea. She's heartbroken and she's a mess. After a while she returns to their cottage on a remote island, which is next to a lighthouse. There she finds her son's diary. She starts to retrace his last days. She also receives an envelope with letters from centuries ago that have been found by her son. They are about myths and every day life at sea. The diary and letters are giving her a little bit of ...more
Oct 10, 2015 djpaterson rated it it was amazing
Popular writing advice says never start a book with a prologue. Melissa Bailey ignores that advice with Beyond the Sea, and that decision works fantastically well, as it sets up perfectly the mystery underlying the rest of the book.

Freya’s husband, Jack, and son, Sam, are lost at sea, and one year on, Freya returns to the remote Hebridean lighthouse keeper’s cottage she shared with them. Struggling to cope with her loss and the haunting dreams that invade her sleep, things turn a shade sinister
Jul 20, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Beyond The Sea is a great title for this book, not only does the sea play an important part in this beautifully written story, but I almost felt like the tide whilst reading it. The author through her writing lulled me into the book and it felt almost like she was gently swaying me back and forth between present day and parts of the past. The story gently goes along but builds up towards the end, which by the end it is like when the waves crash against the shore as all my emotions just came to a ...more
Gordon Mcghie
Aug 31, 2015 Gordon Mcghie rated it really liked it
Beyond The Sea is a tale of loss set in one of the remotest outreaches of the wilds of Scotland. It will transport the reader to a beautiful wilderness where lead character, Freya, is on a personal journey to rebuild her life after the loss of her husband and son 12 months earlier.

Freya’s family were lost at sea off the Hebridean coast, she has not returned to the family home since her husband’s boat failed to return from a trip out on the ocean. We are quickly made aware that Freya has not cope
Leah Moyse
Jul 29, 2015 Leah Moyse rated it really liked it
Initially I would just like to say that it took me a few chapters to settle into this book, that happens sometimes doesn't it. A book sometimes isn't a perfect fit straightaway. Maybe that happens only to me?

I am so glad that I continued though because I was richly rewarded with a strong and accomplished story of myths, folklore, legends, families and a unique take on grief. There is also a historical element with the addition of a series of old letters that were found. I was expecting a dramati
Aug 15, 2015 marlin1 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, own, ebook
3.5 stars
Freya's husband Jack and beloved son Sam were lost at sea a year ago and she can't get over the guilt she feels, as she was on a three week business trip in France at the time. Having a hard time moving on, she returns to the island in Scotland where she feels so comfortable.
While there, Freya finds a hidden diary of Sam's and a box of his treasures that he has picked up while beach combing. She becomes especially transfixed by a necklace she finds in the box but ignores warnings from h
Mandy Howes
In the wild and atmospheric setting of a lighthouse on a lonely island off the Scottish Hebridean coast, Melissa Bailey beautifully portrays the fears and uncertainty of a grieving widow. Freya has returned to the lighthouse where she and her family loved spending their holidays, and where her husband and son were killed at sea, to try and come to terms with their deaths and her grief. Determined to prove to family and friends that not only can she handle a stay on the island, but needs some ...more
Dec 11, 2015 Danielle rated it it was amazing
This is a story which is somehow simple and yet emotionally moving at the same time. Bailey imbues it with echoes of the myths which subsist in the Scottish and Norse islands – of shipwrecks, drowned sailors, mermaids and kingdoms beneath the sea – but keeps the fanciful in check through the down-to-earth details of a small Scottish fishing town.

At the heart of the book is Freya, still devastated by the loss of her husband and son at sea, nicely balanced by her London lawyer sister Martha.

Aug 18, 2015 Marie rated it liked it
Thank you for allowing me to read this book for an honest review. I was really excited by the look and the blurb on this book but for me it was only mediocre:( It is the sotry of Freya - a lady who has lost both her son and her husband to the open sea. A year later Freya returns to the lighthouse cottage in the hope of being able to move on with her grief.
i found the story to concentrate more on the surroundings and the myths of the sea and i found it to be slow paced - i did read in the hope t
Hannah Gilman
Aug 21, 2015 Hannah Gilman rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This book follows Freya as she returns to an isolated cottage in the Hebrides after her husband and son are lost at sea. This book really charts multiple stories, when Freya begins to read two uncovered diaries, and is intermixed with tales of mermaids and superstitions held by the inhabitants of nearby islands.

This book makes a perfect holiday read, with a good paced plot, that can be read with ease, though still offers rich description. I think this would be especially poignant for those who
Oct 15, 2015 Irene rated it it was amazing
If you like myths, legends, shipwrecks, tales of lighthouses, then this is definitely the one to choose. It is a fantastic story of love and loss with great descriptions of the scenery and the Hebrides. I couldn't put it down it was so engrossing. Freya's husband and son are lost at sea and a year later she returns to their home on a remote island to try and come to terms with her loss. There are some wonderful characters in this book and one strange and sinister one. It was a great page turner ...more
Aug 11, 2015 Dawn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads-won
I received a copy of this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

"Beyond the Sea" begins with the same feel as countless other stories of tragedy set in the modern age, but goes far beyond.

Melissa Bailey's writing holds you firmly as she starts to peel away the layers as the pages turn.

It's a simple story, simply told, and totally captivating.

A perfect "beach read", I think.
David Crosby
Mar 18, 2016 David Crosby rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This was well written with beautiful imagery. The emotion of grief was portrayed very well too. Overall though it felt like more of a meander through this part of the characters life and the big ending wasn't overly big. Not a bad read though.

I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways.
50 a year
Jul 24, 2015 50 a year rated it liked it
A family tragedy, a mysterious stranger, a missing diary and just a hint of the fantastical: Melissa Bailey’s Beyond the Sea makes for an entertaining read. And if you like a good, tense opening, this book will hook you from the beginning.

Read the rest of my review on my blog:
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I was born in Derbyshire in 1971 but grew up in Lancashire. I read English at Oxford before studying law in London and then pursuing a career in media law.
My first novel, The Medici Mirror, was published in October 2013 by Random House (Arrow). My second novel, Beyond the Sea, was published on 16 July 2015 (Arrow).
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