Across the Formidable Sea

Across the Formidable Sea

Book - 2017
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"Living on a sprawling English estate doesn't change the fact that twenty-year-old Laura Elliot-Stratford feels homeless. The year is 1920, and it has been six years since Laura's beloved father passed away--since Laura's mother married a British Earl and wisked Laura from her home in Virginia to the green expanses of Stratford. Lonely, rebellious, and betterly resentful, Laura is especially vulnerable to the influence of two new people who enter her world: Graham, her stepfather's handsome new accountant, and Sarah, the youngest daughter of one of Birmingham's toughest families. Two sides of Laura are awakened, and they cannot peacefully coexist inside her. Laura is faced with the decision of choosing who she will be, and neither choice is without consequence. Across the Formidable Sea follows one woman's search for home and happiness against the vibrant backdrop of 1920's England--a world whose priorities and values are shifting as quickly as Laura's are. No matter the time or place, we are the masters of our own fate... for better or for worse."--Page 4 of cover.
Publisher: [United States?] : [publisher not identified], [2017]
ISBN: 9781520679242
1520679246
Characteristics: 260 pages ; 23 cm

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j
jarvi207
Sep 19, 2017

5/5 stars!! Reread value is high. For those of you who love reading somewhat varied synopses of books by readers, the book centers on Laura Elliott-Stratford, a girl so proud it often gets her in trouble. Laura loses her father and her mother remarries, which leaves her feeling lost and alone as the world moves on without her. Laura’s grief manifests in a number of ways, but mostly tends to rear its ugly head in the form of isolation and a struggling relationship between her and her parents. After her mother remarries, Laura is uprooted from her childhood home of Virginia, full of memories of her father and life before his death, and sails across the Atlantic to live in England, where she struggles to figure out her worth and purpose. In England she meets Graham, who brings desperately needed lightness and stability to her heart; Sarah, who provides adventure and companionship; and Jeremy, who brings back passion she had lost with her father’s death. These three people help her realize she has two warring sides inside of her that she struggles to deal with throughout the book, as she begins to realize better and better who she is and what she really wants.

I loved the characters in this book. I think the only person I wasn’t super attached to was Laura’s mom, who says she’s trying hard to connect with Laura but none of her actions really seem to show that. Laura’s stepfather, George, and Sarah are my two favorites - I loved their scenes and I especially loved how they interact with Laura.

The plot is rad as heck. I couldn't figure out for the life of me how it was going to end. I think Laminen does a great job at creating a setting and sticking with it. A lot of historical fiction novels struggle to stay in character with their settings much of the time (which can be so hard !!! I get it !!) but Laminen really knows how to write a 1920s backdrop and it shows. The ending of the book was simultaneously dissatisfying (because I want more!!) but also exactly what I wanted, both for myself and for Laura. Without giving anything away, I think what Laura did is the right choice she needed to make for herself given where she is in life.

If I had a gun to my head and was forced to pick something I didn't like out just for the sake of appeasing someone who wants a well-round review, I would say I am not a huge fan of love triangles (which this book does technically involve, although Laminen really turns the trope on its head to make it more refreshing). BUT on the flip side, her relationships with both Graham and Jeremy are not really a love triangle because neither man knows about the other. It's more two love interests at the same time as Laura struggles to figure out which part of her she likes best and which man is right for her given who she is figuring herself to be. Most books with dual love interests make it pretty clear from the first meeting which love interest will get "chosen" in the end, but not Laminen's book. Both Graham and Jeremy have qualities Laura loves and needs in her life. One of my favorite parts about the dynamic of Laminen's writing of Laura's relationships is that both the "good guy" and the "bad boy" get her love in equal amounts. So often we see that the "good guy"doesn't receive as much love as he gives - he's often portrayed as less exciting and even more pathetic but not in ATFS, which I really appreciated!! I really appreciated that you can tell the "good guy" loves Laura and she reciprocates his love just as fully. Basically like I said, it's just really refreshing to see both the "good guy" and the "bad boy" get equal love :)

SO overall I definitely recommend this book if you like historical fiction, strong female leads, coming of age themes, as well as some good love :) A great debut novel for Laminen, I can't give it high enough praise - I hope you love it as much as I did!

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j
jarvi207
Sep 19, 2017

Living on a sprawling English estate doesn’t change the fact that twenty-year-old Laura Elliott-Stratford feels homeless.

The year is 1920, and it has been six years since Laura’s beloved father passed away – since Laura’s mother married a British Earl and whisked Laura from her home in Virginia to the green expanses of Stratford. Lonely, rebellious, and bitterly resentful, Laura is especially vulnerable to the influence of two new people who enter her world: Graham, her stepfather’s handsome new accountant, and Sarah, the youngest daughter of one of Birmingham’s toughest families. Two sides of Laura are awakened, and they cannot peacefully coexist inside her. Laura is faced with the decision of choosing who she will be, and neither choice is without consequence.

Across the Formidable Sea follows one woman’s search for home and happiness against the vibrant backdrop of 1920’s England – a world whose priorities and values are shifting as quickly as Laura’s are. No matter the time or place, we are the masters of our own fate… for better or for worse.

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j
jarvi207
Sep 19, 2017

"She had grown fond of him too, and she should have admitted it; but there her pride was still too vast, and her heart too hard to give in just yet."
"I think you know how to handle this better than what you're blustering on about. Don't give him the satisfaction of your anger when your intelligence will do more damage."
"Laura squinted as she studied him. He was lying. In someone so honest, it was like a too-small shirt. She could see him struggling and failing to get comfortable in it."

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