Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sea Escape by Lynne Griffin

Sea Escape by Lynne Griffin
Published July 2010 by Simon & Schuster
Source: my copy was sent to me by Michelle of Red Headed Book Child

"When I was a girl, my father's excuses for leaving - providing for his family and changing the world - were as easy to believe in as his adventure stories. He loved the colorful surroundings he wrote about and his familiar home too. What I couldn't comprehend now, as I sat by her bedside for the second night in a row, watching her sleep, was why my mother put up with that kind of marriage. My father's travels took him all over the world to exotic and stimulating cities while she, competent woman that she was, was left to try to express her love for him in fabric."

Laura Martinez  and her mother's relationship has been rocky for years, yet when Helen suffers from a stroke, Laura knows time may be running out for her to make amends.To learn why Helen turned away from Laura and her brother, Holden, when her beloved husband, Joseph, died, Laura turns to the letters Joseph wrote to Helen, letters Helen has never shared. Trying to balance care for her mother and care for her two young children, Holden and Claire, Laura finds that being in the middle place is pulling her apart at the seams. To make matters worse, Laura is having problems accepting help and she doesn't even understand why she has such a bad relationship with her brother, who flits into town on long enough to sign a DNR order when Helen first has her stroke.

Sea Escape moves back and forth in time, from Helen's story to Laura's, revealing secrets to the reader that Laura won't learn until the end of the book - why Holden has so little to do with their mother, why there is such a big age gap between Holden and Laura, and why Helen's beloved home, Sea Escape, to so important to her. 

When I was packing books to take on vacation, I purposefully pulled books that had ties to the water, including this one and Maine, imagining that they would make lighter fare. Neither of them did. Instead both dealt with families, secrets and an appalling lack of communication all tied to a matriarch who makes life difficult for all around her and moving back and forth in time. Unfortunately, Sea Escape didn't work as well for me. I felt like there were parts of the story that were unnecessary, characters that weren't fully developed, too much going on, and story lines that might have been explored more fully. I wanted to find myself caring about Laura and Helen, cheering for them to reconcile, but I just didn't.

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