Thursday, October 8, 2020

The Sea Gate by Jane Johnson (Review)

The Sea Gate is an exciting read with a compelling setting, full of mystery, secrets, danger, forbidden love, redemption and healing.

Book Details:

Book Title: The Sea Gate by Jane Johnson
Category: Adult Fiction,  416 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction / Women's Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release date: November 17, 2020
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (For some language, sexual assault, violence)

Book Description:

A broken family, a house of secrets—an entrancing tale of love and courage set during the Second World War.

After Rebecca’s mother dies, she must sort through her empty flat and come to terms with her loss. As she goes through her mother’s mail, she finds a handwritten envelope. In it is a letter that will change her life forever.

Olivia, her mother’s elderly cousin, needs help to save her beloved home. Rebecca immediately goes to visit Olivia in Cornwall only to find a house full of secrets—treasures in the attic and a mysterious tunnel leading from the cellar to the sea, and Olivia, nowhere to be found.

As it turns out, the old woman is stuck in hospital with no hope of being discharged until her house is made habitable again. Rebecca sets to work restoring the home to its former glory, but as she peels back the layers of paint and grime, she uncovers even more buried secrets—secrets from a time when the Second World War was raging, when Olivia was a young woman, and when both romance and danger lurked around every corner...

A sweeping and utterly spellbinding tale of a young woman’s courage in the face of war and the lengths to which she’ll go to protect those she loves against the most unexpected of enemies.

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

The Sea Gate is a dual timeline novel that introduces us to two very different women: Rebecca, a breast cancer survivor whose mother just died, and Olivia, her elderly relative who is now in the hospital and requires help. As Rebecca sets out for Cornwall to visit Olivia, she gets swept up in renovating Olivia's house so that the woman can come home. In the process, we get Olivia's back story, her coming-of-age during WWII with danger and forbidden love, while Rebecca goes through a transformation and takes back control of her life.

I enjoyed this novel and both Rebecca and Olivia's stories, although I must say I found Olivia's story more exciting and unpredictable. Through her relationship with the cantankerous Olivia, and her sojourn at Olivia's house by the sea, Rebecca finds the courage to mourn her mother in her own way, to accept her own losses from the cancer treatment, and finally, to regain confidence in herself. Olivia lost her father to the war and was essentially abandoned by her mother and had to take care of herself as a teenager. Through her story, we see her resilience and strength.

I loved the setting of Cornwall, the sea and the house on the cliff were like characters in the novel. The author's description vivid and alluring. The ending was bittersweet and a little rushed. The whole episode with Rebecca's one-dimensional boyfriend seemed unrealistic and Olivia's quick dismissal of crimes against her was anticlimactic. But overall, this was an exciting read with a compelling setting, full of mystery, secrets, danger, forbidden love, redemption and healing.

Disclosure: Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Schuster Canada for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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About the Author:

Jane Johnson is a novelist, historian, and publisher. She is the UK editor for George R.R. Martin, Dean Koontz, and others. She has written several novels for adults and children, including the bestselling novel The Tenth Gift. Writing under the pen name Jude Fisher, she has written the companion books to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie trilogies. Jane is married to a Berber chef she met while climbing in Morocco. She divides her time between London, Cornwall, and the Anti-Atlas Mountains. 

Connect with her on Twitter @JaneJohnsonBakr or visit her website at

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1 comment :

  1. any book that takes place in or near the water catches my attention. great review
    sherry @ fundinmental


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