Book review: Somewhere Beyond the Sea by Miranda Dickinson
Seren MacArthur's dad used to tell her that magic is everywhere if you look hard enough for it'¦ and she needs to believe that now more than ever before.
Still grieving after the sudden death of the father she adored, and desperately trying to save his precious Cornish arts and craft gallery, Seren is looking to the ‘stars’ for a sea change in her life.
If you can’t make it to Cornwall this summer, hitch a ride to the beautiful coastal town of St Ives in the company of bestselling author Miranda Dickinson, a born storyteller who knows how to get to the heart of just what makes the world go round.
In her warm, wise and winsome new tale of life and love, heartbreak and hope, the author who lives in Dudley in the West Midlands but regards Cornwall as her ‘happy place,’ whisks us away to stunning Gwithian Beach and into the troubled lives of two lost souls in search of a little bit of magic.
Many of Dickinson’s sparkling romantic comedies have been painted against a seductive backdrop of sea, sand and sunshine, and here she finds her inspiration in seaglass, the tiny pieces of multi-coloured glass worn smooth by waves and time, and hidden among the shoreline’s shingle, seaweed and driftwood.
Seren is living a life she never intended. Since her father died three months ago, she has been putting all her energies into making his small St Ives art shop self-sufficient so that she can sell it on, but it has meant putting her own dream of creating a jewellery-making business on hold.
Life is proving a struggle until she discovers a seaglass star – with just one point missing – on her favourite Gwithian Beach during an early morning walk. When she completes the star, she feels an instant sense of well-being, as if the star is ‘an outstretched hand,’ a friend she hasn’t yet met. But what she doesn’t know is that it has set in motion a chain of events that will steal her heart and challenge everything she believes.
Jack Dixon, meanwhile, is trying to secure a better life for his seven-year-old daughter Nessie and himself. Jack was left a widower and homeless when his wife died seven months ago and he is only just keeping their heads above water.
When they find Nessie’s seaglass star completed on Gwithian Beach, the little girl is convinced that magical mermaids have been at work and for Jack, it acts as a bright spark that slowly rekindles his optimism.
It seems Seren and Jack are both searching for their missing pieces but when they meet in real life, it’s on the opposing sides of a battle. Jack is managing the redevelopment of an old parsonage, an important St Ives landmark, and Seren is leading the community campaign to save it.
They both have good reasons to fight… Seren for the cause her father passionately believed in, and Jack for his livelihood and Nessie’s future. But only one can win and with so much at stake, will they ever find what they are really looking for?
Somewhere Beyond the Sea sees Dickinson on top form in an acutely observed and intensely human story about two seemingly ‘star-crossed’ people finding love in the most unexpected places… and against all the odds.
Written through the dual narratives of Seren and Jack, their delightful, slow-simmering relationship unfolds amidst a barrage of misunderstandings and misjudgments, and under the watchful eyes of an entertaining cast of friends, family and townsfolk.
Imbued with Dickinson’s trademark wit, rich characterisation and dazzling scene-setting, this is the perfect Cornish escape for all true romantics!
(Pan, paperback, £7.99)