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Lost at Sea

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  140 ratings  ·  51 reviews
When beloved local fisherman John Staybrook is lost at sea his death stirs up more than grief. Hidden secrets throughout the small community begin to bubble to the surface, and everyone from the local librarian to the nurses at the hospital are swept up in the storm.

For fans of Kerry Lonsdale and Emily Bleeker, LOST AT SEA is a mysterious yet uplifting family drama with u
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by Sourcebooks Landmark
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Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  140 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Being a fisherman’s wife in a small town has its advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages include support from all of the families living in the town when a fisherman goes missing or when he dies at sea.

The disadvantages include everyone knowing everything about every family including secrets.

When John Staybrook goes missing, his daughter doesn’t believe he is gone because he promised to come home after each trip.

Ella was determined that her father didn’t go out to sea on that stormy day and
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-copies
A truly beautiful read.

Lost At Sea is set in a small fishing village of Devils Purse. The main focus is the disappearance of beloved fisherman John Staybrook who vanishes in the night. Ella, Johns daughter is distraught, convinced he's still alive and sets her sights on bringing her father home. Though, within her search secrets start to come to light and many truths are exposed.

It was a bit of a slow start, getting to know many characters, remembering names, etc. I found a rhythm fairly quickl
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book, slow to start, with characters dispersed in the fishing town, hiding their deepest secrets. Until a fisherman John was lost at sea, the town and its members unraveled. The story dealt with the repercussions of losing a loved one and revealing the secrets.

My first book by author Erica Boyce, the story pulled me in one chapter at a time until I was completely immersed in its characters. The writing felt dismembered initially until the author craftily joined all the connections to
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, arc
This book! First off, the setting is so fascinating. I don't think I've read a book set in a small fishing town that I loved - this book changed that opinion for me! I loved all the characters, and how they seemed so REAL. They have real life struggles, from drug addiction to financial troubles. Erica Boyce wrote such an amazing cast of characters that will stick with me for a while!

I liked how interconnected the characters are, too. Everyone knows everyone in little towns like this, but it's th
Andrea Bartz
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
With beautiful, tender prose and a captivating web of characters, LOST AT SEA is a masterful portrait of a fishing village marked by tragedy—and all the secrets therein. Boyce has crafted a poignant and thought-provoking narrative that stuck with me long after I read the final page.
Ashley *Booksbrewsandbarks*
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book has reassured my faith in the more character driven, family based novel. This book is propelled forward with the disappearance of a local fisherman which is a common occurrence in this fictional seaside New England town. How the plot branches off to address how this affects his direct family as well as uncovers the many dramas and intricacies of this blue collar town is accomplished with perfection. The entire book felt so fulfilling to me and leaves the reader with an amount of hope t ...more
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
"She felt she could get up and dance on it when she realized the beetle was silent. In fact, when she prodded at the back of her mind, she realized it was gone. She no longer cared what the others thought or did or what they thought of her. It no longer mattered to her that Amanda and Chloe were being assholes, that she hadn’t started studying for finals yet, or that who-knows-what chemicals were being pumped through her body that very minute. It wasn’t like she always thought it would be: a sha ...more
Barbara LeMere
Jul 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Erica Boyce has written a story about addiction and grief and love and loss that goes across generations. The story revolves around a young high school girl with a promising future who lives in a New England Town called Devils Purse. They are a fishing community of men and women who deal with death more than most should and they carry on as best they can with the support of their friends and family. Boyce weaves a interconnecting web of the lives of several seemingly unrelated characters to a s ...more
Daniela Petrova
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Erica Boyce has crafted a heartfelt, deeply moving novel about identity, friendship and family. Thought-provoking and propulsive, with a strong sense of place and a set of intriguing, complex characters, Lost at Sea is impossible to put down.
May 30, 2020 rated it liked it
I hadn't heard of this book when I got it, so I wasn't even really sure what it was about. But, when a man doesn't come back from fishing, I assumed it was a mystery about what happened to him (especially with the title Lost at Sea). That's really not what it was about, though, which was a little weird. I think I would have liked it better if I knew what to expect. That being said, it was a pretty good story, about a girl who was dealing with mental health issues and addiction. She also has a co ...more
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Living in a small town everyone knows everyone else's business. There is no secret that can be kept quiet for long. Eventually it may not be gossiped about, but its known. The good thing is that there is a line of invisible support and in this small town it is more than most when fishermen's wives are left suddenly bereft with the loss of a husband.

The story revolves around the sudden disappearance of John Staybrook from his fishing boat and as to why he took the boat out in very difficult circu
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
Dislikes- It was hard to follow the characters and their relationships as they weren’t fully written out or explained. It almost felt like it was a sequel to another book. I thought at first I had skipped some pages. The book's storyline was difficult to follow and jumped from plot to plot. It had me saying “What? Why did it just give me two chapters on a different character and her mental illness and now it’s jumping to a little girl losing her father..” In the very end though, it added up. I w ...more
Maggie Nichols
May 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book was not good, I have no idea how it has such good reviews. What seems to be the driving plot point is not really a main focus of the book. There are sub plots that don’t go anywhere, and what ends up being the main storyline wasn’t all that interesting. The writing was good, but the story just didn’t have enough meat to make it a good read. I would pass on this one.
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed another book by this author, The Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green mostly for the uniqueness of the storyline. I saw this coming out and was intrigued enough to pick it up!

This title is symbolic in some ways, there is the actual sea, and the metaphorical one as people contemplate their roles in daily life. The actual sea is the life and blood of the small town, and a lot of families who depend on it are struggling to stay afloat (here in terms of finding enough money to go around)
Mar 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook, library
When I first decided to read this book it was because of the summary. Ella's dad dies and she thinks he is alive. Except that was not even close to the main plot. In fact, Ella isn't even really a main character. There are plenty others we get to hear from and see more of. That really threw me off the entire book and kind of made me ??? most of the time. A lot of the main themes actually happen before he's even properly missing. (The Goodreads description is a bit different but I still think tha ...more
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Title: Lost at Sea
Author: Erica Boyce
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5

When fisherman John Staybrook vanishes one night during a storm, his disappearance raises questions. His daughter, Ella, is convinced he’s still alive and someone in the town is hiding secrets—and the key to his disappearance.

Her friend and former babysitter, Lacey, helps Ella investigate her father’s disappearance. Lacey is struggling with her own demons—her addition to painkillers after a knee injury, the “beetle” in her brai
Virginia Morris
Nov 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2019
From Netgalley

The summary appealed to me on several levels: I love any family drama, any book that promises to reveal a secret, a small town setting, and the disappearance intrigued me.

A man has disappeared from a fishing town while on a boat during the storm. The story is told from the perspective of several people including his fishing partner, wife, daughter, and the former babysitter for his daughter. The book covers hard topics - infertility, adoption, and drug use. People aren’t always w
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the small fishing village of Devil's Purse, John Staybrook is a well liked neighbor and respected local fisherman.
He goes out fishing in terrible weather conditions and is lost at sea.
His young daughter Ella doesn't believe he is dead. She heard her parents fighting earlier and she thinks her dad just wanted to get away from her mom.
She enlists the help of her teenage friend Lacey, to look for her dad.
Lacey has problems of her own. Suffering opioid addiction and anxiety, she is trying to rema
Megan Dowell
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I hastily grabbed this book off the shelf when my library was closing during the Covid-19 quarantine. I had grabbed a bunch and left the bag sitting around, since it was hard to focus on reading there for a little bit. One day, I perused over my library choices and grabbed this book. I’m so glad I did.

Heart-warming and at time heart-wrenching, Ms. Boyce does a fantastic job of letting the reader feel the characters feelings. The way she writes the dialogue makes it very easy to imagine the conve
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lost at Sea by Erica Boyce, published by Sourcebook Landmark is a full length, stand-alone novel.
I started reading and was right thrown into the story. There is no easying in. And to be honest, it took me some time to get in the story, but then , oh boy, what a ride it was.
The story is told in a multiple pov- including his partner, wife, daughter, and the former babysitter.
The story deals with sensitive subjects and is not for the faint of heart.
Al in all, a fast paced read, well written and be
O Prism
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t read too many seafaring books, but this one intrigued me and I enjoyed it more than I expected. Why would an experienced fisherman 1) go out to sea in inclement weather and 2) what happened and where is he. You have to read the entire book to get the answers. What started out simple became complex very quickly. Add in a small town, gossip, family dynamics, love, devotion and a determination to get to the truth of the matter, I read this book in one sitting, as it became more interesting ...more
Kathleen Gray
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is less about the loss of John, a fisherman, at sea than it is about the women in his life. The main focus is Lacey, a teen who becomes addicted to opioids first because of a knee injury and then to quiet the beetle in her brain. She was adopted as an infant by her mother Maureen, who has moved them to Devil's Purse so that Lacey can find, she hopes, her bio mom. This is also the story of Annie, the bio mom, and Rebecca, the town librarian who desperately wants a child. There's a twist you ...more
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
John Staybrook fishes for scallops. And tuna. He's gone out hundreds of times. But one night, he doesn't come back. His family, his fellow fishermen, and the community of Devil's Purse are absolutely in shock. How could this happen?? He was an accomplished fisherman, never known to take unnecessary chances.

Woven throughout the search for John are a young adopted woman's search for her birth mother, another kind of loss. And John's loss of income, due to an unsuccessful season of fishing. And El
Jan 23, 2020 rated it liked it
In a small fishing town called Devil’s Purse, a well-known fisherman and father goes missing while taking a tuna boat out on rough waters. Initially the focus of the story revolves around loss and each characters grief. What the synopsis doesn’t tell you is the focus shifts to a troubled teenage girl addicted to drugs with a troubling anxiety disorder. So trigger warning to readers who may not know what they signed up for with this book; it heavily tackles issues like drug and alcohol addiction, ...more
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
The cover alone was enough to make me drop everything and start reading. I loved this one, and flew through it in a weekend. I am a sucker for a good changing perspectives/back and forth timeline book- must be the mystery lover in me. Lost at Sea is has all of the best women's fiction elements. It touches on love and loss, self discovery, and a twisted character plot that was so enthralling I literally couldn't put it down. This is one that I know will get a lot of love as I pass it around to my ...more
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was not what I expected after reading the description from the publisher. I expected a book about a town pulling together after fisherman John Staybrook vanishes. To a certain extent, that was what I got. But, I also was rewarded with a thoughtful, intricate novel about adoption, addiction and loss. I came to care about all these characters and the clever way their lives intersected. I found it an eye-opening story abut a fishing town and the effects addiction has on its townspeople. I ...more
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Well written book that flowed nicely. Not a great book, but a good one that I enjoyed. Family drama, addictions both drugs and alcohol, marital breakups, secrets, all descend in a small fishing village. A fisherman goes missing, not returning, but his daughter doesn't believe this is true. She and her friend try to find out what could have happened. The characters were well written, but there might have been the introduction of too many in the beginning. It didn't take long though to get into th ...more
Steffanie Kamper
Apr 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a well-written and compelling look. I really did have a hard time putting it down. But it was by no means a fluffy light-hearted read either. As a mom of three daughters eye felt a personal discomfort as she dealt with very real issues like teen pregnancy and addiction. I appreciate that the author did that with a light touch that did not make me feel beat up as a reader. But it did make it hard to read just before bedtime. That is not a criticism of the book oh, it is more just a heads ...more
Nov 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
Probably ~3.5 stars - I liked the concept of this book, but there were times where parts of the story became a bit too confusing for me - which I think had to do with all of the perspective-switching present in the novel. I think the pacing was a bit too slow, but I do think that the writing is good on a technical level.

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for the chance to read this book.
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Boyce might be the best author I've read at creating real characters whose motivations are believable, who are flawed and imperfect like all of us. Her stories aren't fancy or heavy-handed or thrillers—they're more quiet stories but everyone can identify with what the characters are going through and you become deeply invested in their lives and stories.

*Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC!*
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Erica has been writing since she was in third grade. She wrote an illustrated story about an awkward encounter between a Thanksgiving turkey and a hunter and never looked back. Since then, she's written angsty poetry in high school, angsty short stories as an English/Creative Writing major at Dartmouth College, less-angsty legal memos as a student at Harvard Law School, and her first novel, a spec ...more

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