I always used to associate Miranda Dickinson with the run up to Christmas because that’s when her previous books have come out. But her latest novel, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, bucked this trend, coming out earlier this summer, when it was an absolute joy to escape with her and her characters to the Cornish seaside resort of St Ives.
Can you fall in love with someone before you’ve even met?
Seren MacArthur is living a life she never intended. Trying to save the Cornish seaside business her late father built – while grieving for his loss – she has put her own dreams on hold and is struggling. Until she discovers a half-finished seaglass star on her favourite beach during an early morning walk. When she completes the star, she sets into motion a chain of events that will steal her heart and challenge everything she believes.
Jack Dixon is trying to secure a better life for daughter Nessie and himself. Left a widower and homeless when his wife died, he’s just about keeping their heads above water. Finding seaglass stars completed on Gwithian beach is a bright spark that slowly rekindles his hope.
Seren and Jack are searching for their missing pieces. But when they meet in real life, it’s on the opposing sides of a battle. Jack is managing the redevelopment of a local landmark, and Seren is leading the community campaign to save it.
Both have reason to fight – Seren for the cause her father believed in, Jack for his livelihood. But only one can win. With so much at stake, will they ever find what they are really looking for?
One of the reasons Miranda Dickinson’s books appeal to me so much is that she builds such complete worlds in her novels and then fills them with characters who feel real. Characters who you feel certain are all still going about their lives in St Ives long after you finish the book and shelve it.
They’re not simply people who you understand or chime with, either. These are people you wish you knew, some of whom you feel certain you’d be friends with, if only you met. And this is precisely how it feels here with Seren, Jack, Aggie, Kieran and Becca. There’s such warmth and a genuine concern for others in their exchanges, even those between Seren and Jack, that you sense these are good people, ones you’d like to bump into at Aggie’s coffee hut or in Becca’s pub.
Alongside all the potential for romance among the friends and rivals, there’s also a great local campaign running throughout the book. It feels important and so genuine that I googled the existence of Seren’s dad’s local luminary and was ready to champion its cause. In addition to this, Somewhere Beyond the Sea is also a moving and rather beautiful father and daughter story. Or two father and daughter stories. Read more