Book Review #57 – The Sea Sisters

The space was intoxicating, a physical relief after London where she had felt as if she could never quite catch her breath – Lucy Clarke.

There is a story behind how I came to have this book in my hands. Think old school letters, a book exchange (that I haven’t quite done yet) and a surprise. It is a funny thing, having someone else choose a book for you, just as it is having someone pick your next fragrance. It is an intimate thing; it shows how much they know you, and how well too. I guess you could say I had a connection to this book before I read the first page.

The Sea Sisters centres on the relationship between sisters Katie and Mia. They are polar opposites. Katie is a twenty-seven year old woman who has her life in order in every aspect of the word. She has a successful career, is engaged to a handsome, wealthy man and has a thriving social life with her sophisticated friends. Mia, on the other hand, is a tearaway who cannot sit still. She is twenty-four with a string of jobs she has upped and left on a whim with one solid friend in Finn. Sisters have a complicated relationship with Katie and Mia being no different. They both explain – through their alternating chapters – how there is an extremely thin line between love and hate. Sometimes it overlaps and it simply cannot be helped.

Mia’s death comes as a shock to Katie. It turns her inside out, especially when the authorities tell her it is suicide. Katie doesn’t believe it. She can’t. It isn’t possible for her vibrant little sister – who laughed and lived life to the fullest – to want to end her fun-filled adventure. When Mia’s belongings are returned to her, Katie finds her journal which tells a story of its own with gorgeous backdrops of far-flung places: California, Western Australia and Bali; the last place she set foot on.

The diary sets something in motion for Katie. It brings her closer to a sister who was so far away from her, not only physically, but emotionally, that she has a need to follow Mia on her journey across the continents. Following in her younger sister’s footsteps, Katie faces her own fears. She gets on a plane, the second, third, fourth and fifth she has ever gotten on in her entire life. She travels with Mia’s backpack and journal as her only companions. She realises many secrets about her sister that devastate her and enlighten her. Katie, through Mia, finds a new path in life: a new joy as well as pushing through the loss and heartache of losing not only her sister, but the life she once called her own.

Lucy Clarke’s writing is poignant and poetic. She transports me back to my own travels of Bali and Western Australia. When I read Mia’s story, I could feel the grains of sand between my toes, smell the sea salt in the air and see the glorious sunsets of pinks, lilacs and deep orange hues. The way she describes the tangibility of Katie and Mia’s sisterhood is haunting, endearing and heart-breaking. There are so many emotions threaded through every single word in this novel. Love is what tears the characters apart, and it is ultimately what brings them back together again.

Have you read The Sea Sisters? Are you intrigued by stories about the complexities of sisters and travel? If so, this is something for you!

Love, Faye xo

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