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Sea Change

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  6,970 ratings  ·  712 reviews
For Ava Whalen, a new marriage and a move to St. Simons Island means a new beginning. But what she doesn’t realize is that her marriage will take her on an unexpected journey into the deep recesses of her past that will transform her forever…

For as long as she can remember, Ava Whalen has struggled with a sense of not belonging, and now, at thirty-four, she still feels sty
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by NAL (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  6,970 ratings  ·  712 reviews

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Jun 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Karen White's Sea Change is a welcome and pleasant departure from the books that I have read in the past few months. I equate it to eating fast food for a week and then getting a home-cooked meal. The fast food is sustaining and tastes good at the time, but it doesn't compare to your grandmother's Sunday dinner. The same can go for books (OK, maybe I'm stretching it a bit with my analogy here but I think you get my point.) I have enjoyed the recent books that I have read (I am not referring to a ...more
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of beautifully written Historical Fiction.
“Some are called to be gardeners of souls, and she'd tended hers with the blind dedication that accepted the floods and famine along with the sunshine.”
― Karen White, Sea Change

Beautifully told Southern Historical (and present day) Fiction.

This was my first experience with a Karen White book. My thoughts? I have read a soaring, hauntingly lovely 5 star novel!

Ava has moved, with her new husband Mathew to a small island off the coast of Georgia. But she expected to feel at peace and she doesn't.
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Nice try! The title of this book is accurate and reflects the action in the story. Plus, Karen White is a seasoned author who has written at least twelve novels. This tepid account which takes place on an island off the coast of Georgia appears to be her most current work. And, although I wanted to see what the resolution was to the choppy misleading plot, I really did not enjoy reading the book. There were some finely wrought phrases and some sympathetic characters, but overall I felt like the ...more
3.5 stars.

I have read several Karen White books and usually I am totally absorbed from the beginning. For whatever reason I had a lot of trouble getting into this one. I am not sure it was the writing....think it may have been my frame of mind, but I am glad I stuck with it.

This is a bit different as it is not just a women's story, about becoming strong, finding love, finding yourself etc...there is a bit of a "supernatural" element to this story which I actually liked. This is told by 3 diff
Sep 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
Looks like I'm in the minority here in my feelings about this novel, which I found maudlin and trite in tone and scattered in its focus. The dialogue was stilted...hate when an author gives characters lines that aren't normally spoken because the sentences are either too long or poorly constructed. I like reality. Another thing I didn't like were the overabundance of stupid similes. And if I had to read about the 'odd look in someone's eyes' one more time I was about ready to toss the book acros ...more
Jun 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Ava Whalen falls in love with Matthew Frazier and quickly picks up her life and moves to St Simons, GA. A town with a history just waiting to be discovered. She soon discovers that maybe she rushed into this marriage a little too quickly, and doesn't really know the man that she married.

It took the first whole half of the book before I was connected into the book, and wanted to continue to pick it up and read. I couldn't put the second half down. I think the book and the writing was too wordy f
Jun 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
I thought this was a very interesting, rather unique story and enjoyed how it was presented by alternating voices, two in the present day St. Simon's Island, GA, and one from the early 1800's. There were ghostly presences, trust issues, elusive memories, and lots of secrets (of course) as the mystery surrounding the main character's past slowly comes to light. It was when the writing became so flowery I could smell it that I thought the flow of the book was hindered.

But overall I would say that
Donna Radcliff
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was a perfect summer read. I couldn't put it down. A little bit Rebecca, a little bit Phyllis Whitney, and don't forget Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt. I'll have to read more by Karen White. ...more
Jul 16, 2012 rated it liked it
To the Point: Beautifully descriptive language that helps you feel the story. White does a nice job of describing the present and the past and takes you on an interesting journey that vines in and out of several family relationships. It holds you in until the end.

In More Detail: (Spoilers) Overall I enjoyed reading this novel. I like that there were several mysteries to solve and that there were clues given along the way but most of the answers didn’t come until the end. I believe that White did
Jul 16, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars...
I purchased this book with the anticipation of reading it on my beach trip this summer. Unfortunately, I am not going to make it to the beach this year, so I took the plunge and read it anyway. But, I do think this would make a good beach read! It would add even more ambience to the writing:)

Sea Change was my first Karen White book, and I look forward to reading others by her. This is a slow moving, slow revealing book, but I enjoyed the descriptive writing. The characters though, es
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: women-s-fiction
This is the 15th book that I've read by this author. I like her writing so much. For the most part, she is usually a solid 4 stars for me. Some have been 3 and one, A Long Time Gone, was 5 stars.

Karen White does southern charm and relationships well. She can also develop the main characters with the detail that makes me believe them. Even when I don't like them, I like to feel I understand them. With that said, there were a lot of characters in this one and some were not as detailed. The time l
(Lonestarlibrarian) Keddy Ann Outlaw
I found this novel somewhat formulaic. Perhaps the suspense factor kept me reading. I wish the novel ahd either stayed in the present or past. I did find the historical flashback story interesting, but the novel tried too hard to keep the spooky reincarnation undercurrent running, along with Gothic elements of a woman marrying a man whose first wife died mysteriously. There were too many coincidences for me, with both wives being midwifes, etc. I cared about Ava, especially after she learned she ...more
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Add this book to your summer reading list. Seriously. Do it! Sea Change by Karen White is a mixture of mystery, romance, and history. Ava Whalen has been afraid of water since she was a baby. Nobody knows or understands why. Ava's mom, Gloria, loves her but has always been standoffish towards Ava. Pamela lived 200 years before in the same St. Simons Island house as Ava and her new husband, Matthew Frazier. The story is told from all three women's point of view.
Ava and Matthew married after a whi
Dec 28, 2014 rated it did not like it
Okay I wrote a review a few minutes ago on progress and it's not here. Bummer. Well I did not finish this book. I hated it. I feel that I should slap myself across the face for even reading it to page 278. I lost how many hours of my life in this novel. Ugh! Okay, Again-Ava is annoying as hell. How old is she again? How can any man put up with her? Ava acts like a dense-jealous ding bat. Also this novel is too wordy. Do you really need to go into that much depth about making a glass of sweet tea ...more
Jun 06, 2012 rated it liked it
I like this one better than The House on Tradd Street. However, it is still not great. I would charge this one with a lack of subtlety and a repetiveness of certain details which leads the reader to feel she is being beaten over the head with a "this is important...I'm giving you a hint...IMPORTANT!" hammer. Also, how many time is she White going to use the "seeminly devoted wife and mother abandons husband and son for another man" thread? Bit of a lack of inventiveness, no?

Need mind candy wit
Jackie Jameson
Mar 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
Ok read. Just repetitive in prose so much I wanted to chuck it at times. The author really likes the word "tabby" (apparently a style of house building material). The 1st person perspective from the 1800's and modern day were too similar. Nobody talks like that. Guess I'm just being pissy. Was glad when I finished it. ...more
Jul 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
I like Ms. White's prose, but I just did not care for the main character of Ava. I thought she was a bit of a whiner and a little childish at times. Ava's mother was hard to connect to and when I "discovered" the reason why she was so disconnected to her daughter, that was just lame. Not my favorite of Ms. White's books, but a decent read. ...more
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read most of White’s books, this one by far is my favourite. The main character, Ava, her story is layered with mystery, ghostly spirits, love, forgiveness, and the possibility that two souls can be forever intertwined. The authors vivid detail of the sights and smells are so real it makes the story so much more exciting. Sea Change is an enchanting story, opening your mind and heart to the possibility that the universe is bigger than we know it. This is a must read!
Paperback Dolls
Originally posted at

When the author asked Paperback Dolls if we would review SEA Change by Karen White I immediately jumped on the opportunity based on the synopsis I couldn’t wait to read it and wow am I glad I did. It was by far one of the best books I have read in a while.

SEA CHANGE is a story of what it means to be a family. It’s a heartwarming story of how our families past affects our future and how misunderstood events in the past flavor the way we view ourselves today
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What a delightful surprise! I loved Karen White's Sea Change and highly recommend it as the perfect book to read this summer. An intriguing blend of secrets, mysteries, and relationships from the past linked to the present, all set in the beautiful southern setting of St. Simons Island. Three narrators each tell their own threads of the story, revealing layer upon layer of their story as their secrets unfold and the past and present become connected in a stunning conclusion. A little history and ...more
Bernadette Walsh
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
When I packed this book for a recent vacation I was soooo looking forward to reading it. Past lives, current love story -- what's not to like? I really wanted to sink my teeth into a meaty women's fiction book but instead of steak I got soggy pizza. The voice of the main character Ava was whiny to me, I just couldn't connect with her. And the plot seemed plodding more than anything else. Even in a story with paranormal elements you need a character's motivations to make some sense and connect wi ...more
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Could have been much shorter. And the running message of "wherever you go, I will find you" is not romantic. The love depicted was equal parts nauseatingly sachrinne and controlling/obsessive. I'd hoped from the start that Ava would leave Matthew and couple up with John.

On top of that, the mysteries surrounding Ava's, Pamela's, and Adrienne's lives were, on the whole, pretty predictable. The annoying personalities of most of the characters, however, made it hard to really care about any of them
Nov 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
Whenever I find myself in a book I am not enjoying my reading slows down, I end up finding other things to do (like Facebooking or staring at the wall). But I don't start something new, I pick up the book once in awhile and muddle through. I shouldn't do this, I should just cut my losses, because yes, I'll eventually finish, maybe three months later, but--

But I shouldn't finish. Life is too short to read Sea Change.
Doreen Chancellor
May 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Storyline was ok, but the writing was melodramatic, wordy, and had terribly constructed similes: "...[sound of a giggle] was like pollen to her heart." What ??? She ran into his arms like "...wind through water." When I repeated this last simile to a friend of mine, she asked if that was like farting in a bathtub. Ava shivered and had the chills so frequently I thought she might have Malaria.
Jennifer V.
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Karen White is a wonderful storyteller. Loved this book and the mystery, complexity, and intertwining of characters and history.
Jun 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Some believe that the soul doesn’t die with the body, that it’s often given second chances to right wrongs and fulfill destinies and for Ava Whalen that destiny was Matthew Frazier. From the moment she met him she felt a belonging that had eluded her, her entire life and their courtship as fast as it was felt like coming home, so much so that even to the dismay of her mother she travels from her home in Antioch to Matthew’s centuries old family home on St. Simons Island Georgia. Yet the fulfillm ...more
Jun 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have found a new favorite author – Karen White. Sea Change is a suspense novel that reminds me of works of some of my favorite authors including Daphne Du Maurier and Mary Stewart.

The novel starts with Ava Whalen, a mid-wife. In her mid-thirties and the youngest child and only girl, Ava has lived most of her life sheltered in her small town. She unexpectedly elopes with a child psychologist, Matthew Frazier, and moves with him to his ancestral home on St. Simons Island (off the coast of Georgi
Samantha March
Jun 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ooh, another Karen White novel! *Rubs hands together with glee* I was excited to tear into this one, and it was classic White style, just what I was hoping for. The story follows Ava Whalen, newly married to Matthew Frazier. They eloped quickly after meeting, and Ava knew with all her heart that he was the only one for her. They decide to live on St. Simons Island, where Matthew’s family has lived for generations. Upon arrival, Ava’s happiness begins to fade. The past starts creeping amongst the ...more
Laura Kay Bolin
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Ava Whalen Frazier has just gotten married. Her mother is none to happy. She barely knows her husband, Matthew and to top it off she is moving to St. Simons Island. And here is the thing, Ava is deathly afraid of the water. Her mother is so upset she won’t even come out to say goodbye to her only daughter. But Ava is in love, feels such a deep strong connection to Matthew. Ava’s family is so tightly knit. She seems to be the adventurous one.

After arriving
Jun 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ava Whalen marries Matthew Frazier. This does not make Ava's mother happy. Especially as Ava and Matthew will be starting their new life on St. Simon's Island. For someone who has a fear of the ocean, Ava is either brave or really in love.

Ava can not explain it but she feels a connection to St. Simon's Island. It is here that she learns about who Matthew really is. Rumor has it that Matthew killed his wife. Could Ava be living with a murderer?

I am a fan of Mrs. White. Her latest book, Sea Chang
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Mansfield Public ...: Sea Change Review by Sharon Wapen 1 8 Aug 09, 2013 08:12AM  

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With more than 1.8 million books in print in eight different languages, Karen White is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 23 novels, including the popular Charleston-set Tradd Street mystery series.

Raised in a house full of brothers, Karen’s love of books and strong female characters first began in the third grade when the local librarian issued her a library card and placed The

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