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Sea Glass

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  16,957 ratings  ·  1,066 reviews
In the textile-manufacturing region of New Hampshire in 1929, newlyweds Honora and Sexton Beecher wrestle with all the wonders and challenges that young couples have always faced. They've just purchased a house near the ocean that needs a lot of work, but the couple is dedicated to making it a home. When the economy fails and a single unscrupulous act perpetrated by Sexton ...more
Paperback, 374 pages
Published December 1st 2006 by Little Brown and Company (first published 2002)
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60th out of 423 books — 219 voters
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Community Reviews

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I almost passed on this book when I found it at a thrift store. The book's plot looked promising and I wasn't disappointed.

My favorite quaote from the book:
"The only problem with looking for sea glass", Sexton says one day when he and Honora are walking along the beach, "is that you never look up. You never see the view. You never see the houses or the ocean because you're afraid you'll miss something in the sand."
Love this line in the book when the main character Honora meets her prospective husband and is commenting on his less than perfect appearance...."Honora laid these flaws aside as one might overlook a small stain on a beautifully embroidered tablecloth one wanted to buy, only later to discover, when it was on the table and all the guests were seated around it, that the stain had become a beacon, while the beautiful embroidery lay hidden in everybody's laps."
What I liked: The setting - Shreve does a great job evoking the atmosphere of the New England coast/mill town in the Depression era. I liked learning about the mill strikes & plight of the workers & those who led the strikes. I would have liked a lot more detail about that. I liked the interesting rhythm that Shreve has created with the story - a rhythm that echoes the sea itself - the story sort of surges forward & then backs off, surges & backs off. This was a little weird at f ...more
Set in the early depression era somewhere on the East Coast, the novel follows Honora and Sexton Beecher from the beginning of their marriage. They moved into a large deserted old house on the beach and threw themselves into making it habitable with mostly sweat equity and little money. Sexton is away every week because of his job as travelling salesman and Honora lives a quiet but very structured life. She walks frequently on the lonely beach and collects colorful bits of sea glass.

When the ow
No, no, no... Though there were touching moments in this book that I enjoyed, I felt like the plot was SO boring for such an important issue. I really had a hard time finishing this book (which is extremely rare,) until it started picking up a little bit at the end.

I always love the way Anita Shreve writes about character interaction. Using her words, I can always picture exactly the way a person is moving, smiling, speaking, and how they are feeling. Maybe that's why I'm so addicted to her des
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
3.5 stars

Sexton, a fast-talking typewriter salesman, and Honora married after knowing each other for a short time. The newlyweds moved into a large neglected house along the New Hampshire shore in 1929. After the stock market crash, Honora found out her husband was not totally honest in obtaining a loan for the house. Sexton lost his job and his car, and could only find a new job at the mill.

The working conditions at the mill were terrible, and the mill owners decided to reduce the meager wages
I didn't expect terribly much from this book, but I felt the need to read it because, well, someone gave me a copy and it's party about the labor movement during the Depression in a textile mill town. So I had no choice.

I wish it were a better book. It's nice summer reading, if you're not part of the "I only read happy books" crowd. It's not a happy book. But it never reaches tragedy, because, well, Shreve just can't get it there. She relies too much on archetypes to develop true characters for
I liked this book because it draws you in—you care about the characters. And it also gives insight into a tragic part of our country’s history—the Great Depression of the 1920’s. I liked that she used sea glass as a metaphor for the human spirit. No matter how much it is battered by the rough sea, it does not break; it becomes more beautiful. I loved the friendship between Honora and Vivian, women from two different worlds who are drawn together. I didn’t want the story to end. And, it got me i ...more
Alison Morgan
This book is the reason that whenever I walk on the beach, I am walking stooped along the shore, searching for little bits of beach glass in the sand. So far I have collected two bowlfuls. I don't have a big white platter like Honora does in this book, but a bowl full of beach glass is very satisfying to run your hands through (don't worry, it is so dulled by the sand and the waves that it's smooth and curved, not sharp anymore) . . . And although so far I've mostly found green, white, and brown ...more
Donna Johnson
This is one of my favorite books by Anita Shreve. The characters are wonderful, especially Honora. She shows such strength in the middle of the adversity that she faces. Every time I have read this book I find myself wondering how she managed to marry Sexton Beecher (why?) He is incredibly dishosnest and just downright shady. I wish Shreve had spent more time developing some of the other characters and the story about the mill strikes. I also hated the way it ended. I would have loved to know ho ...more
Christina Kirby
A Southwest Airlines flight attendant gave me this book when she saw me reading another Shreve novel and said this was the author's best work yet. She was right!

Some Anita Shreve novels grab you from the start and don't let you go, while others are nearly impossible to get into. Sea Glass is the former.

The plot and the characters are captivating, and the book provides a great history lesson on the early years of the labor movement in New England. I must say, I didn't know much about that topic
I had a hard time getting started on the first section of the book. Toward the end of the first section I was intrigued. By the second section I couldn't put the book down. And reading the third part broke my heart. What an amazing tale, marvelously told!!
***1/2. Set along the eastern coast of Canada (near Halifax, N.S.) and coastal New England during the Depression, this is the story of a newlywed couple, Sexton, a typewriter salesman, and his young wife, Honora, who struggled to build a life together in the midst of horrendous economic times in a mill town. Some of his decisions were risky and ill-fated, but she carried on, long-suffering and loyal. When things spun out of control, as they were bound to do, I found myself less emotionally invol ...more
Carolyn F.
Audiobook. This book starts out about a budding romance, moves on to marriage and how you see things in your spouse you never paid attention before and then moves onto survival, both of marriage and your way of life.

Honora meets and marries Sexton, learning to love him. He's a salesman willing to do whatever it takes for his ego or to get what he wants. He loses his job not only because of the Depression but because of him lying to a bank. He then somehow turns this into Honora expecting too mu
This is a fast and easy read set in 1929 New England during the start of the depression. Our characters including a young newlywed couple, an 11 year old boy, a young 20-something man who has worked in the mills all his life, a 30-something wealthy woman, and a few communists to round out the group. The very unlikely people come together and their lives change forever.

It was a bit confusing getting in to the book because each chapter (maybe only a page or two long) switches between characters a
This book was a huge disapppointment when it comes to an Anita Shreve book.
I always love the way Anita Shreve writes about character interaction. Using her words, I can always picture exactly the way a person is moving, smiling, speaking, and how they are feeling. Maybe that's why I'm so addicted to her despite the fact that half of her books are disappointing.
Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character, and eventually their lives begin to intersect. It begins in the su
This book took place during the depression on the east coast of New England. It is a story of a handful of characters. Honora who just got married to Sexton, a typewriter salesman. They buy an old convent on the water. Honora is adjusting to married life and likes to walk the beach and collect sea-glass. Vivian is a rich lady from Boston who is bored. She comes to the ocean to waste time with her rich friends. She meets Honora on the beach one day and they become friends. She buys her friend Dic ...more
Blah, another dated book that was just kind of lame. And dated. On all accounts. No only did it take place like 100 years ago, the writing style was dated too, which didn't help. But if you like that olde timey writing, then pick it up. Otherwise, I'll say right now, don't bother. So as you can tell, I didn't like that book all that much. In contained a cluster of characters that didn't do anything, but annoyed me. Took awhile to straighten everyone out. Typical, New England 1920's life. Some ri ...more
Phyllis Sommers
Although I always find Anita Shreve's novels somewhat depressing, there's no denying that she produces extremely well-written and, in this and many other instances, mesmerizing stories. The year is 1929 as Honora and Sexton Beecher begin their life together as husband and wife. The home Sexton sets out to buy is somewhat beyond his means, but through a clever deception, he manages to secure a mortgage for the home, which is situated directly on the beach of a small New England town. In the town ...more
I loved this book, and the ending would have had me bawling like a baby had I not been on a train ride surrounded by strangers. From the moment we meet Honora (on-NOR-a), to her marriage to the creepy Sexton, to her walks on the oceanfront looking for sea glass, meeting her vibrant and very wealthy neighbor Vivian, and then came the millworkers’ labor strike of 1929 just when everything else in the world (stock market crash) went to hell. Honora and Sexton are paying a mortgage on a house (which ...more
Lena Wright
Lena Wright

A summer beach house, a summer romance that turns into a marriage, the whole summer of school. Who doesn’t dream of these things? But things don’t always turn put the way were dream of them happening.
“Sea Glass,” by Anita Shreve tells the story of a five very different people, from very different back rounds, all brought together in the most intricate ways, beautifully described in this book. From driving their Buick, to days spent on the beach searching for sea glass, Sex
As with "The Pilot's Wife" by Anita Shreve, "Sea Glass" really resonated with me since I grew up on the coast of Maine and experienced so much of what the protagonist, Honora, experiences. "Sea Glass" takes place in a New Hampshire beach town and actually travels to places familiar to me in Maine - particularly Sanford where I was born and spent my early years! Like Honora, I've walked the beaches and searched for sea glass.

"Sea Glass" takes place in the late 1920s/early 1930s so the characters
I've always enjoyed Anita Shreve's novels, beginning with "The Pilot's Wife," and through "Where or When," which haunted me for quite some time. And that seems to be the theme of all her novels that I've read so far: a passionate love, in some form, which is allowed to spark and maybe blossom for a very short period of time, and which is then thwarted either by death or other impossible circumstances. Which of course is very sad and moving, but leaves you wanting more. Which I suppose is how her ...more
Kirsty Darbyshire

Anita Shreve is one of those authors who I love to pick up and ponder over in the bookshop. I love to buy her books and have them sitting waiting to be read. But for no good reason it seems to take me ages to get around to actually reading the books. It feels like the books will be work to read. I don't know where I get this from because when I do eventually pick the books up to read I find them absorbing and fascinating reads. This one was no exception.

I was surprised to find the story set in

Another great book! I was hooked within a few pages and didn't want to put it down. The characters are likeable and the plot and pace are perfect!
I read this as a part of a book club I am a member of. This was my second Anita Shreve read, the first being The Pilot's Wife. Perhaps the rating would be different if I had read these two books in reverse order, but I just found this book to be okay. It is quite slow in the beginning but I will say, I learned a lot about the Great Depression and that it was a timely read given then state of our economy! I felt the characters had depth and really enjoyed the sassy female character, Vivian as wel ...more
I was totally hooked on this story from the beginning. A captivating story line made rich with recognizable personalities, this story is a journey of recognition. We easily recognize our youth with its hasty decisions and some of the struggles that accompany those decisions. Ms. Shreve has taken those elements and placed them in a historical situation and added enough intrigue and additional perceptions to give the story, and its characters, a bit of mystery. A quick story to read but one that l ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I have read other books by Anita Shreve but this was perhaps my favorite. Thanks to the book drop at the lab school on campus! Such a great idea that the teachers and students in grade five built a book birdhouse where you can leave and take books. (I will share a picture soon.) So I borrowed this book for the weekend; it was a perfect beach read. The story, set in New England, starts in 1929, and is a more than a love story. Honora marries Sexton, the typewriter salesman, and their journey abou ...more
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USA Geography Cha...: Sea Glass by Anita Shreve 1 1 Dec 29, 2014 06:25AM  
Anachronism? 2 19 Nov 01, 2013 03:41PM  
Sea Glass character and setting 7 32 May 28, 2012 02:02PM  
Andrea Murch (week 2) 2 11 Nov 21, 2011 08:37AM  
Amurch 1st blog 1 12 Sep 14, 2011 04:04PM  
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Anita Shreve grew up in Dedham, Massachusetts (just outside Boston), the eldest of three daughters. Early literary influences include having read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton when she was a junior in high school (a short novel she still claims as one of her favorites) and everything Eugene O'Neill ever wrote while she was a senior (to which she attributes a somewhat dark streak in her own work). A ...more
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