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Sea of Memories

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  34,577 ratings  ·  2,060 reviews
When Kendra first visits her ailing grandmother, Ella has only one request: that Kendra write her story down, before she forgets…

In 1937, seventeen-year-old Ella’s life changes forever when she is sent to spend the summer on the beautiful Île de Ré and meets the charismatic, creative Christophe. They spend the summer together, exploring the island’s sandy beaches and cryst
Kindle Edition, 273 pages
Published March 1st 2018 by Lake Union Publishing
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Judith Watkinson I loved this book, I don’t usually cry, when reading, but I did with this book. Beautifully written, lovely characters, as I have lived in France for …moreI loved this book, I don’t usually cry, when reading, but I did with this book. Beautifully written, lovely characters, as I have lived in France for 2 years, and also go back a lot, I could understand and picture how she felt, (less)
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Yuliana Yuliana the sea of memorise.
the sea of memorise.

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Average rating 4.37  · 
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 ·  34,577 ratings  ·  2,060 reviews

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Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Sea of memories
This book is a good example of how a very beautifully written novel can also be very shallow and trivial.
How can I describe it? Like a good-looking cake (very classy, stunning and lovely decoration), but without any distinctive taste (as if you are eating a honeycomb.).
I really, really liked the descriptions in the book – a fine mixture of beautifully written words. I felt however that the author tried too hard to draw an impressive mesmerizing picture, forgetting to put some
Renita D'Silva
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this author's books - she is one of my favourite authors - and so I was eagerly awaiting this book. And what an amazing read! Gorgeous evocative writing that spills from the page transporting the reader to another place and time. Every character came alive for me and I felt for Ella but my favourites were Finn and Christophe. Another absolutely fabulous story from an incredibly talented author. A spell binding tale that will stay with me for a long time.
Nancy Baker
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Perception is everything. An adult looks at a pebble on the sidewalk and sees just that -- a pebble. A child looks at that same pebble and sees a sizable rock. Another person looking through a magnifying glass looks at that pebble and sees a huge boulder. All perceptions feel right to each person, and as much as their views differ, they are all looking at the same thing. So it is with human relationships. We have an innate ability to read what we want into a conversation, a human gesture or a pe ...more
Greta Halliday
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book and did not put it down until the last page had been read. This poignant and beautifully written story really tugs at the heart strings and totally immerses you. It is one of the best books I have read for a while and one that I will be re- reading in the near future. A story of lives, love and loss is a must read., the writing is superb.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have waited a long time for a new release from Fiona, her previous three novels, set among the Bordeaux vineyards, were great reads so I was initially a little worried about the possibility of disappointment, if this new novel didn’t live up to my expectations. Thankfully Sea of Memories, although totally different to her previous books, didn’t disappoint in the slightest.

Set partially among the sand dunes and Atlantic coast beaches of the Ile de Ré, just off the coast from La Rochelle, this b
Sea of Memories by Fiona Valpy was the first book in quite some time that made me ugly cry myself into quite the intense headache, but despite that (or maybe because of that) I found it to be an absolutely lovely reading experience. Much of the novel takes place on the Île de Ré island off the shore of France, which is about as picturesque and serene as a setting can possibly be; however, the tranquility of the island (like all of Europe) was disrupted by the bombs and violence of World War II. ...more
caroline Sowersby
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The right time to read a story

I have lost my little brother ( He was 75!! but still my little brother) So many things touched me in the book We were brought up in Edinburgh My brother was a patient in Princess Margaret Rose Hospital Lots of things and places spoke to me.He died while I was reading your story this week . I am not sad as I have faith Thank you for your sensitive writing
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
I’m a sucker for WWII novels, especially ones featuring life on the homefront. I’m intrigued by generational tales, where the young adults realize, with jaw-dropping surprise, that their elders actually had interesting lives – lives that featured sex and risk and purpose outside the family structure. So naturally I was drawn to Sea of Memories. Alas, I was disappointed. Although some of the narrative felt overblown, there were also times when the wordsmithing was absolutely lovely, especially th ...more
Little My
Apr 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Whilst I did really enjoy this novel and the descriptions of France I felt in trying to cover the entirety of one person's life meant that the characters became somewhat diluted. At times I felt disappointed that some of the main character's experiences were dealt with in a chapter when they could in fact have been books in their own right. But still a very enjoyable read.
Jane Watson
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My, this was a lovely book - well written, good story, great characters, beautiful descriptions, emotional and heart-tugging, but realistic as well. Set in France and Edinburgh, the story moves on through the main character, Ella's life, as told through the setting of her granddaughter writing her story. The whole thing just worked beautifully. I even felt moved to leave a message for the author, who is a friend of a friend of mine, just because I enjoyed it so much. Definitely would recommend i ...more
Christine-Maria Nagy
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Am i so jaded as to be bored by the love story in this book? I found this novel to be superficial and predictable. World War II is the backdrop, but only a backdrop, to losing love and finding love again, and again...... I was hugely disappointed having read the rave reviews before buying the book.
Amy Mcpike
Just wow! What a beautiful and meaningful story. My poor heart broke numerous times throughout (absolutely sobbed on a few occasions) but it equally filled with joy and love. Such a special read which will stay in my heart for a long time, along with Christophe who I adored.
Would make a wonderful film!
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love is an everyday occurrence.

This is a real page turner as it twists and turns it’s way to a wild island just off the French Coast. We follow a young British woman as she visits this magical place that will forever change her life just prior to WW II. The author explores different types of love as our protagonist discovers one must always hope, but not to an extent that you do not recognize the wonderful things already in your life. Later, in a effort to receive forgiveness from a daughter wh
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.75 stars (liked it)

I enjoyed this book. The author did a nice job with setting descriptions and crafting a story that was fulfilling overall. My one main wish was that the time spent on the modern storyline had instead been invested on further developing the older one.
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it

Lovely plot and we'll written characters. Such a beautiful story on love and what it entitles and the sacrifices people make everyday for their families whether it's out of desires of morals. Love it 😍
mindful.librarian ☀️
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ahhhhhh, one of the most soothing audiobook experiences ever. So happy my sister found it in Kindle Unlimited and recommended it to me!
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Kendra writes her grandmother's story and finds healing for her family.
Suze Lavender
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Kendra's grandmother is old and doesn't have long to live anymore, but she has one last wish. She wants Kendra to write down her memories. Kendra has a busy life, being the breadwinner at home and taking care of her autistic son, but she's intrigued by her grandmother's request and decides to give it everything she has. Ella's lead an interesting life and before Kendra knows it she's entirely enthralled by her grandmother's story.

It's 1938 and seventeen-year-old Ella is excited. She's going to F
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 stars

This was actually not a bad romance, i really love ww2 fiction and tho this isnt really completly centered around the war imo i havent read many other ww2 books like it.
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Available on KindleUnlimited.

This novel is a delightful novel of love and the second world war. It’s refreshingly free of swearing and offensive expletives. Ella is in her twilight years and asks her granddaughter, Kendra to write her story for posterity. The imagery swept me away. A love of nature is evident and so beautifully descriptive. It takes you to Ile de Re which sounds idyllic. The era of the 1940s is reflected well contrasting the beauty and tranquillity of the island compared to the
Rebecca Stonehill
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was the first of Fiona Valpy's novels I have read and I was enormously impressed by this evocative and poignant novel. With a strong sense of place and first-rate, believable characterisation, I was swept along by Ella's story from beginning to end, hardly putting the book down. I really enjoyed the dual time scales as well - while at first I was unsure of the relevance of the modern setting, as the story unwound, I could see how Kendra's anxieties with her marriage and mothering gently mir ...more
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fiona Valpy is a new author to me but one I'm so glad I've discovered, I absolutely adored this book. I loved the journey we went on with the characters and I just loved the setting. This was the perfect book to read to escape life, I was fully immersed into the story whilst reading.

This book is emotional, have some tissues at the ready when reading! The characters are so beautifully written and I just loved Fiona's writing style. This is a book where you need to dive in and be prepared to igno
Georgina Roberts
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, the descriptions of France were so well written and really took me there. I loved the story, how it goes back and forth to the past and the present day and just everything about the book in general. I even had a few tears at the end which to me is a sign of how much the book has moved me. First book I’ve read by Fiona and I’ll definitely look for more. Five stars
Gail Atkins
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written book about love, friendship and relationships.
A dying grandmother asks her granddaughter to write her memoirs of her time in France during the early stages of WW2, in a hope that her estranged daughter would read it and their rift would be healed.
Secrets shared and heartache bond the two women, changing their lives forever.
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
This is the life story of Ella as written by her granddaughter Kendra. But wait--It is amazing . Don't question buying this book. It gives you the feels. All of them! It ranks right up there with Lilac Girls and Sarah's Key. I loved it and look forward to more books from this new to me author.

Thank you thank you Goodreads and Lake Union for picking me to review this.
BrittanyElizabeth  Wilson
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing

What a beautiful read!
This story really just grabs you and takes you on its journey with the characters. Such a beautiful story of loss, love, redemption, and hope. So gorgeously written that one can almost smell the salty French sea air, and feel the sunshine on your face. This is a story that won’t leave your mind for a long time. Definitely a Must read.
Jayne Long
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting read about first love, love won, love lost and how you don't always get what you want in life and how sometimes, you have what you need all along, but sometimes you don't always see it, but with maturity and some perspective you realize that what you had all along was exactly what you needed at that exact moment.
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Unexpected delight

I was not expecting this to be the wonderful sorry that ice just finished reading. I have fallen in love with Ella and her life story and have already looked up Il de Re as next year's holiday destination. Fantastic beautify written story x
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I gave this 5 stars and 4 tissues.

This book is about 3 young people that meet in the summer of their 17th year and spend an idyllic time on an island off France. They become friends forever but WWII changes their lives completely... The years that follow are joyful, scary, sad, and sweet.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is beautifully written, and I loved the descriptions of the beach and ocean.
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Fiona Valpy spent seven years living in France, having moved there from the UK in 2007. She and her family renovated an old, rambling farmhouse in the Bordeaux winelands, during which time she developed new-found skills in cement-mixing, interior decorating and wine-tasting.

All of these inspirations, along with a love for the place, the people and their history, have found their way into the book

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9 likes · 8 comments
“So, is it wrong to dream, to want the things we don’t have?’ ‘No, my darling, never give up your dreams. But just make sure they don’t distract you too much from the good things that there are in your day-to-day life, even if that life is by no means perfect. Because there always are good things” 5 likes
“Do you remember what I told you? About the philosophy behind this? That something which is unique has its own beauty that can never be destroyed; that it’s always worth mending, even when it’s broken; and that the fractures and the scars become part of the beauty too, making the piece even more remarkable, even more precious.” And then she said, “Heal your heart, Ella. Let Angus help you. Mend your marriage with veins of the purest gold and remake it, better and stronger than before.” And we did. Because, you see, Kendra, I fell in love with your grandfather all over again. Caroline was right: our love was worth mending. In the end, we made the scars part of the beauty of our marriage.’ She” 3 likes
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