My grateful thanks to Emma Dawson at EDPR for inviting me to participate in the launch celebrations for You, Me & The Sea by Elizabath Haynes. I was so pleased to accept as I have heard Elizabeth speak at a local literary event at which she was sensational so I knew I’d be in for a treat. I’m delighted to share my review of You, Me & The Sea today.
You, Me & The Sea was published by Myriad Editions earlier this month and is available for purchase in all the usual places including here.
You, Me & The Sea
Compelling, moving and teeming with feral desire: contemporary story of love and redemption set on a remote, windswept Scottish island from the bestselling author of Into The Darkest Corner and The Murder of Harriet Monckton.
Rachel is at crisis point. A series of disastrous decisions has left her with no job, no home, and no faith in herself. But an unexpected job offer takes her to a remote Scottish island, and it feels like a chance to recover and mend her battered self-esteem.
The island’s other inhabitants are less than welcoming. Fraser Sutherland is a taciturn loner who is not happy about sharing his lighthouse – or his precious coffee beans – and Lefty, his unofficial assistant, is a scrawny, scared lad who isn’t supposed to be there at all.
Homesick and out of her depth, Rachel wonders whether she’s made another mistake. But, as spring turns to summer, the wild beauty of the island captivates her soul. For the first time in years she sees the hope of a better life – if only she can break the deadlock between two men who are at war with one another, and with themselves.
My Review of You, Me & The Sea
Rachel’s life is a mess.
Oh dear. I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to review You, Me & The Sea because I loved it so much it’ll be difficult to articulate how wonderful it is. You, Me & The Sea is one of those books you can’t put down, but you don’t want to end, because it seeps into your soul and mesmerises you. It’s such a beautiful, emotional and completely satisfying read that I simply want to tell everyone to buy it and read it. When I was made to do other things instead of reading You, Me & The Sea I was so resentful. It consumed all my waking thoughts.
Firstly, there is the totally glorious setting of Must that utterly transported me from the flat fens where I live to the rugged Scottish island. Elizabeth Haynes captures it so vividly, and employs nature and weather to counterbalance and underpin the narrative with such brilliance that the island is every bit as much a character as are Rachel, Fraser and Lefty. Descriptions are evocative and realistic with all the senses catered for in an immersive and convincing way. Frasers cooking in particular is so realistic I was ravenous and I felt as if I were there on the cliffs, breathing in the salt air with the others. You, Me & The Sea is a bewitching maelstrom of sensory delight.
Whilst there are a few minor characters such as the birders staying in the observatory, or Rachel’s Norwich based family, it is Rachel, Lefty and Fraser who hold the reader spellbound. The dynamics of their relationships ensure the reader has no free will of their own but simply has to accept them as the author portrays them. I worried about them the whole time I was reading. They broke my heart and filled it with hope. I absolutely loved the interplay between them and the developing romantic and sexual relationship between Rachel and Fraser. And You, Me & The Sea is surprisingly sexual. Often the physical side of relationships in writing feels contrived, but here it is fabulously created with intimacy and passion. I read You, Me & The Sea rather wishing I could be Rachel!
I thought the plot was wonderful too. There’s drama and tension, quieter moments and heightened emotion so that I finished reading You, Me & The Sea feeling as if I’d experienced every emotion possible. This is such a wonderful love story but it is so much more besides. Elizabeth Haynes explores love, grief, depression, identity, feelings of inadequacy, violence and tenderness with absolute skill. It’s so hard to explain, but I felt I had lived and breathed this book rather than simply read it.
I absolutely adored You, Me & The Sea. It took me out of my own life and consumed me completely. I honestly felt as if I’d been away on the most fabulous adventure, meeting people whom I cared about and leaving the cares of the world behind. Reading You, Me & The Sea brought me utter joy. I cannot recommend Elizabeth Haynes’ You, Me & The Sea strongly enough. It has gone straight on my list of books of the year for 2021. I loved every moment reading it. Just wonderful.
About Elizabeth Haynes
Elizabeth Haynes worked for many years as a police intelligence analyst. Her debut novel, Into the Darkest Corner, won Amazon’s Book of the Year in 2011 and Amazon’s Rising Star Award for debut novels.
Elizabeth grew up in Sussex and studied English, German and Art History at Leicester University. She now lives in North Norfolk. Elizabeth is a regular participant in, and a Municipal Liaison for, National Novel Writing Month – Nanowrimo – an annual challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November.
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