By: Beatriz Williams
Publisher: Berkeley Books
Publication Date: November 2015
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: August 3, 2016
Beatriz Williams has penned a lovely and elegant work of historical fiction in her latest novel, Along the Infinite Sea.
Pepper Schuyler is a society girl who loves to be naughty. She may have taken her shenanigans too far this time. She is pregnant and the baby's daddy isn’t just some average ‘Joe’. Rather, he’s a renowned politician. Sadly, he has a wife and it’s not Pepper. Proud and defiant, Pepper refuses to grovel and beg for his support and finds a way to support herself and her baby. After all, she can’t ask her own daddy given his elevated social status. Think of the scandal. When she fixes up a rare vintage Mercedes found in a garage on Cape Cod and sells it at auction for a lofty price, Pepper can check money off her list of needs for her and her unborn child.
Annabelle Dommerich has a few secrets of her own. Her husband was a Nazi. Her lover was Jewish and her flight from Europe would have never been successful without the help of both men. That part of her life is in her past. Is it? Without proper closure, her past continues to haunt her present. Who would have thought the sale of the vintage Mercedes would be the conduit of introduction between strangers Annabelle and Pepper? The auto auction unites the two women in an obscure town in coastal Georgia. Such is the beginning of the womens’ respective journeys to confront their complicated pasts and embrace a future that has the potential to wash it away ever more.
My ‘go to’ preference for book reviews is ‘historical fiction.’ When I happen upon a golden nugget like Along the Infinite Sea, I’ve won the lottery! Beatriz Williams does a superb job of delivering a fascinating historical read in Along the Infinite Sea. Her voice lifts off each and every page with beautiful prose and nuance. Her characters are rich and sassy and manage to seep beneath the skin of the reader in a good way. This is a story that is difficult to put down until the last page has been read. There is a terrific balance between action and dialogue. Her characters have backbone and her scenes are vibrant. Williams breaks the story into parts and patiently steps the reader from one era to the next between her two main characters: Annabelle Dommerich, Nazi Germany survivor and Pepper Schuyler, ‘60s socialite bad girl. The chemistry she creates between the two women is electric and a joy to discover with the turn of each page. Well done Ms. Williams!
Quill says: Along the Infinite Sea is a personal library must have. If it isn’t on your summer reading list yet, add it!