Yup we are back with another book review today! This one, By The Sea, was written by a friend of mine and fellow blogger, Zoe Jackson. I was so excited to read Zoe’s first published piece of work, and now I am delighted to share my thoughts on By The Sea with you.
Zoe, her partner, and their 2 children live in Cornwall. Writing her first story at the age of 10, Zoe has always found release in writing fiction – a passion that continues to flow now whether she’s writing her next story or working on another creative outlet.
By the Sea is her first self-published book, and tells the story of young Alex’s first return home in a number of years after a traumatic incident caused her to flee from her past. Returning home, to the place where all her dreams – and nightmares – are brought to the forefront of her thoughts. Alex begins to realise that by leaving her childhood home she opened herself up to more pain than had she stayed there in the long run. Through the hurt and anger Alex experiences, she also learns that she needed to return home to begin the healing process, and to rebuild those relationships she once ran from.
By the Sea was the tale Zoe needed to pen before she could commence writing her true genre – supernatural/dystopian fiction.
The official blurb for the book can be found below.
Alex once lived by the sea, but after her best friend’s death she left never looking back, seeing no happiness there for her any more. When she arrives the memories that had been haunting her start coming back, having her only relive those memories she left to avoid. Those seven years and three-hundred miles put between her and Cornwall seemed to be the best thing that she ever did, but with the arrival of an old friend and a summer she could never have expected, maybe she was realising that by the sea was where she was always meant to be.
I was enthralled by the plot of By The Sea. The mystery of what happened all those years ago to make Alex run. Whether or not she’ll stay. And whether her old friends will still want to know her when they learn the truth.
For her first published work, I have to admit I was in awe of how Zoe managed to write and publish By The Sea while caring for her two young girls and keeping on top of everything else a full time mum has to cope with – I can barely manage to keep up my blog when I have a busy week, never mind fitting in caring for children and running a house! As well as self-publishing, Zoe relied on those she refers to as BETA readers who helped her make corrections and and some changes where they felt necessary. Her readers also asked her some questions regarding the writing of By The Sea. You can check out those questions and answers here!
There were times in the book that I got distracted, still thinking about something that happened a few pages back, to the point that I had to re-read a paragraph once or twice so that I could stay on top of what was happening. However, I’m glad I did this because I thoroughly enjoyed the story!
From what I’ve gathered, Zoe is currently working on her next story, and I for one cannot wait for it to be published.
So to recap – I would recommend By The Sea as I simply loved the plot and found myself relating to Alex. Zoe’s writing style isn’t like anything I’ve read recently, and it was good to finally get reading her work in a longer format than a blog!