Title: Sea Escape: A Novel
Author: Lynne Griffin
Release Date: July 6, 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Laura Martinez’ mother, Helen, has never seemed to have enough room in her heart for her. Helen has been consumed by the memory of her dead husband, and as a result, has been hung up on his memory, rather than paying attention to the living people around her. When Helen has a devastating stroke, Laura begins to delve into her mother’s past, trying to understand this complicated woman.
I enjoyed Lynne Griffin’s debut novel Life Without Summer, so when I was offered the chance to participate in a TLC Book Tour for Griffin’s second book, Sea Escape, I didn’t hesitate before accepting.
In Sea Escape, Griffin beautifully portrays the struggles between mother and daughter. Laura and Helen have never had the easiest relationship. Laura is unconvinced her mother ever truly loved her, and all Helen seems to have left for her is harsh words and sharp criticisms. However, when Helen falls ill, Laura does everything in her power to care for her mother, putting the rest of her life on hold. While Helen’s situation is more than Laura can handle on her own, it doesn’t stop her from at least trying to be there for her mother.
Griffin also marvelously depicts grief and what it can do to a person. Laura watches as her life slowly unravels. She loses the ability to cope with things because she is so consumed by her sadness at her mother’s situation. Though she tries to continue working and being a good mother and wife, these areas suffer because she doesn’t know how to help her mother or deal with the fact that she might lose her.
In order to connect with her mother, Laura begins reading her father’s old letters to Helen. While I thought this plot device was interesting, and I did enjoy the use of letters to usher in flashbacks to Helen’s point of view, this storyline wasn’t as convincing as Helen’s sickness. It’s through these letters that Laura discovers the secrets her mother has been hiding, but there’s no real urgency to uncover them. There’s no suspense, and as a result, this part of the book really fell flat for me.
Still, Sea Escape is a moving portrait of the bond between mother and daughter. Griffin has a great writing style and a wonderful ability to convey emotion. Though I didn’t like Sea Escape quite as much as Life Without Summer, I will still definitely keep an eye out for Griffin’s next novel.