Celadon White logo

Beyond That, the Sea

By Laura Spence-Ash
Author: Laura Spence-Ash
ISBN: 9781250854377
ON SALE: 03/21/2023

Buy Now

ISBN: 9781250854377

A sweeping, tenderhearted love story, Beyond That, the Sea by Laura Spence-Ash tells the story of two families living through World War II on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, and the shy, irresistible young woman who will call them both her own.

As German bombs fall over London in 1940, working-class parents Millie and Reginald Thompson make an impossible choice: they decide to send their eleven-year-old daughter, Beatrix, to America. There, she’ll live with another family for the duration of the war, where they hope she’ll stay safe.

Scared and angry, feeling lonely and displaced, Bea arrives in Boston to meet the Gregorys. Mr. and Mrs. G, and their sons William and Gerald, fold Bea seamlessly into their world. She becomes part of this lively family, learning their ways and their stories, adjusting to their affluent lifestyle. Bea grows close to both boys, one older and one younger, and fills in the gap between them. Before long, before she even realizes it, life with the Gregorys feels more natural to her than the quiet, spare life with her own parents back in England.

As Bea comes into herself and relaxes into her new life—summers on the coast in Maine, new friends clamoring to hear about life across the sea—the girl she had been begins to fade away, until, abruptly, she is called home to London when the war ends.

Desperate as she is not to leave this life behind, Bea dutifully retraces her trip across the Atlantic back to her new, old world. As she returns to post-war London, the memory of her American family stays with her, never fully letting her go, and always pulling on her heart as she tries to move on and pursue love and a life of her own.

As we follow Bea over time, navigating between her two worlds, Beyond That, the Sea emerges as a beautifully written, absorbing novel, full of grace and heartache, forgiveness and understanding, loss and love.

Laura Spence-Ash by Beowulf Sheehan
Laura Spence-Ash’s fiction has appeared in One Story, New England Review, Crazyhorse, and elsewhere. Her critical essays and book reviews appear regularly in the Ploughshares blog. She received her MFA in Fiction from Rutgers-Newark, and she lives in New Jersey.

Praise for Laura Spence-Ash

"In this beautiful novel, Laura Spence-Ash renders the last century with painterly precision. Beyond That, the Sea tells the story of a British girl taken in by a prosperous New England family in the Second World War, and of the legacy of the intimate relationships that ensue — a story as rich and vital as life."

Claire Messud
Bestselling author of The Emperor's Children and The Woman Upstairs

"This gorgeous novel, about the profound impact on children and families of even the most benign forms of displacement, marks the debut of a very gifted writer.  I adored Laura Spence-Ash's characters and deeply admired her precise, resonant prose.  Beyond That, the Sea is a marvel."

Ann Packer
Author of The Dive from Clausen’s Pier and The Children’s Crusade

"Beyond That, the Sea is a lovely, addictive novel. I was absorbed by the interesting premise—an eleven year old girl arrives to live, temporarily, with a new family—and by the myriad love stories that change and deepen over the decades the novel covers. Laura Spence-Ash has written a gorgeous novel filled with wonderful characters."

Ann Napolitano
Bestselling author of Dear Edward

"What a wonderful novel! I loved Beatrix as a girl, discovering America, and perhaps even more as a young woman, back in post-war London. Spence-Ash writes with such insight about her characters on both sides of the Atlantic and she is a mistress of suspense. I was deeply sorry to reach the last page."

Margot Livesey
author of The Boy in the Field

"In this exquisite novel, Laura Spence-Ash weaves a beautiful mosaic of voices, each a perfect postcard exploring home, love, loss and belonging that will entrance readers until the final, heartwarming page."

Hannah Tinti
Author of The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley and The Good Thief

"I was utterly captivated by this beautiful story from the first page to the last. The characters are so real, their feelings so well portrayed that I had to keep reminding myself that I don’t actually know them. But I do! And I will return to the book to experience the well-wrought details of these lives again. This is a new favorite novel, and I can only hope Laura Spence-Ash has more coming soon."

Alice Elliott Dark
Author of Fellowship Point and In the Gloaming

Connect with

Celadon

Sign up for our newsletter to see book giveaways, news, and more!