Sea Change

Sea Change

4.1 58
by Karen White
     
 

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For Ava Whalen, a new marriage and a move to St. Simons Island means a new beginning. But what she doesn’t realize is that her marriage will take her on an unexpected journey into the deep recesses of her past that will transform her forever…

 

For as long as she can remember, Ava Whalen has struggled with a sense of not

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Overview

For Ava Whalen, a new marriage and a move to St. Simons Island means a new beginning. But what she doesn’t realize is that her marriage will take her on an unexpected journey into the deep recesses of her past that will transform her forever…

 

For as long as she can remember, Ava Whalen has struggled with a sense of not belonging, and now, at thirty-four, she still feels stymied by her family. Then she meets child psychologist Matthew Frazier, and thinks her days of loneliness are behind her. After a whirlwind romance, they impulsively elope, and Ava moves to Matthew’s ancestral home on St. Simons Island off the coast of Georgia.

But after the initial excitement, Ava is surprised to discover that true happiness continues to elude her. There is much she doesn’t know about Matthew, including the mysterious circumstances surrounding his first wife’s death. And her new home seems to hold as many mysteries and secrets as her new husband. Feeling adrift, Ava throws herself into uncovering Matthew’s family history and that of the island, not realizing that she has a connection of her own to this place—or that her obsession with the past could very well destroy her future.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This latest novel by White (The Beach Trees) interweaves the stories of Ava and Pamela. Ava has just profoundly disappointed her mother by running off to marry Matthew after knowing him for only two months—despite her four-year engagement to Phil. Ava's mother, Gloria, has always been distant, but her refusal even to say good-bye rattles Ava to the core. Two hundred years in the past, during James Madison's War (or the War of 1812 as we now know it), we meet Pamela and her family. As a midwife and one of the few with medical/herbal knowledge on St. Simon's Island, GA, Pamela works not only to bring the children of St. Simons safely into the world but also to combat malaria. She befriends a British doctor occupying the island to obtain the medicine she needs to treat her family; however, their friendship becomes the undoing of her tenuous life. How these stories intersect, as surely they must, unnerves not only the characters but the reader as well. VERDICT White entwines historical fact and research seamlessly through the lives of these strong and intriguing women. Although Sea Change is not as compelling as Anita Shreve's The Weight of Water, fans of the latter will be drawn to this story. [National tour.]—Heather Lisa Maneiro, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Moorhead
Kirkus Reviews
A new bride who moves to St. Simons, a Georgia barrier island, finds that she has deeper ties to her home than she ever suspected. Ava, the only daughter of a funeral director, shocks her family, especially her mother, Gloria, with her whirlwind marriage to Matthew Frazier, whom she met at a medical conference (she's a midwife, he's a pediatric psychologist) only months before. Gloria can't bring herself to speak to her daughter, much to the chagrin of Ava's 90-plus grandmother Mimi. The marriage is especially baffling to Gloria because Ava, with her lifelong water phobia and persistent nightmares of drowning, will be living in the seaside house which has been in the Frazier family for centuries. Once she's carried over the threshold, the mysteries of the old, though immaculately renovated, house, and the island it's on, crowd in on Ava. Among them: Why didn't Matthew ever mention his first wife, Adrienne, an artist? What did John, Adrienne's brother, mean when he says his family thinks Matthew killed Adrienne, when her death (by drowning after her car went over a bridge) was clearly an accident? Why does Matthew keep hiding Adrienne's papers and memorabilia from Ava? As Tish, a family friend, encourages Ava to do historical research about the Fraziers, Ava begins to suspect that her visceral attraction to Matthew may only be explainable as a carry-over from a former life. But whose? Occasional interspersed chapters, set in the early 1800s, provide a clue, as Matthew's ancestor Geoffrey and his wife Pamela (a midwife herself) deal with sterility, resentful siblings and infidelity. Further perplexing puzzles: How did Ava sustain fractures before the age of two? Why did her family, who once lived on St. Simons, move inland? Who originally owned a music box blown in by a tornado and an ancient wedding band inscribed "Forever?" Although the narrative can be painfully slow, White skillfully juggles the deceptions that nurture the novel's enigmas, until the surprising truth emerges.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451236760
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/05/2012
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
101,436
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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