Wednesday, September 17, 2014

[Book Review] The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith

The Story of Land and Sea: A NovelThe Story of Land and Sea
Set in a small coastal town in North Carolina during the waning years of the American Revolution, this incandescent debut novel follows three generations of family—fathers and daughters, mother and son, master and slave, characters who yearn for redemption amidst a heady brew of war, kidnapping, slavery, and love. 

Drawn to the ocean, ten-year-old Tabitha wanders the marshes of her small coastal village and listens to her father’s stories about his pirate voyages and the mother she never knew. Since the loss of his wife Helen, John has remained land-bound for their daughter, but when Tab contracts yellow fever, he turns to the sea once more. Desperate to save his daughter, he takes her aboard a sloop bound for Bermuda, hoping the salt air will heal her.

Years before, Helen herself was raised by a widowed father. Asa, the devout owner of a small plantation, gives his daughter a young slave named Moll for her tenth birthday. Left largely on their own, Helen and Moll develop a close but uneasy companionship. Helen gradually takes over the running of the plantation as the girls grow up, but when she meets John, the pirate turned Continental soldier, she flouts convention and her father’s wishes by falling in love. Moll, meanwhile, is forced into marriage with a stranger. Her only solace is her son, Davy, whom she will protect with a passion that defies the bounds of slavery.

In this elegant, evocative, and haunting debut, Katy Simpson Smith captures the singular love between parent and child, the devastation of love lost, and the lonely paths we travel in the name of renewal.

Set in 18th century, The Story of Land and Sea tells us three different stories that are very much different but are all connected at the same time. It is stories of grief, loss, personal tragedy, and what it means to want to change everything but feeling hopeless in comparison to everything else. 

Book begins with a story about a father and his daughter. Left all along, they try to live in a small city without a mother. I found it very sad but their relationship was incredible and I loved that little girl. The way author wrote about her really made me want to reach out and give her a hug. 

This is definitely a book for the people that don't expect Happy Ever Afters. I don't want to give away any spoilers but it is sad. It's like listening to a beautiful melody and crying in tune because your soul just can't help it. This is a book like this. A real treasure to someone that waits to read about those raw emotions and deep stories that make us wish we could change it all for them. Beautiful and haunting - great read!

learn more about the book:

Katy Simpson SmithAbout Katy Simpson Smith

Katy Simpson Smith was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. She attended Mount Holyoke College and received a PhD in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. She has been working as an adjunct professor at Tulane University and is the author of We Have Raised All of You: Motherhood in the South, 1750-1835. She lives in New Orleans.
Connect with Katy Simpson Smith through her website.