Thursday, November 19, 2015

Julie's Review: Along the Infinite Sea

 photo Along the Infinite Sea_zpsunyono7t.jpg

Author: Beatriz Williams
Series: Schuyler Sister #2
Publication Date: November 3, 2015
Publisher: Putnam Books
Pages: 464
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Captivating
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: An epic story of star-crossed lovers in pre-war Europe collides with a woman on the run in the swinging '60s, in another riveting historical novel from the New York Times-bestselling author of A Hundred Summers and Tiny Little Thing. Each of the three Schuyler sisters has her own world-class problems, but in the autumn of 1966, Pepper Schuyler's problems are in a class of their own. When Pepper fixes up a beautiful and rare vintage Mercedes and sells it at auction, she thinks she's finally found a way to take care of herself and the baby she carries, the result of an affair with a married, legendary politician. But the car's new owner turns out to have secrets of her own, and as the glamorous and mysterious Annabelle Dommerich takes pregnant Pepper under her wing, the startling provenance of this car comes to light: a Nazi husband, a Jewish lover, a flight from Europe, and a love so profound it transcends decades. As the many threads of Annabelle's life from World War II stretch out to entangle Pepper in 1960s America, and the father of her unborn baby tracks her down to a remote town in coastal Georgia, the two women must come together to face down the shadows of their complicated pasts. Indomitable heroines, a dazzling world of secrets, champagne at the Paris Ritz, and a sweeping love story for the ages, in New York Times bestselling author Beatriz William's final book about the Schuyler sisters.

Review: Along the Infinite Sea just might be my favorite Schuyler sister book and although Pepper is the sister in this novel, the narrative belonged to Annabelle. Annabelle Dommerich might just be my one of my favorite feisty heroines ever. Pepper is a great character but the minute Annabelle hits the page, her story, at least for me, moves to the background. It's not that I wasn't interested in her story but she is still the same reckless Pepper she was in the previously 2 novels. Although by the end of the novel, I'm hopeful she'll change and grown.

Annabelle is a force to be reckoned with and she's only a young woman when she makes some life altering decisions. It is how she responds in times of tragedy and triumph that make her character. Is how she moves on from the love of her life to preserve herself and to be a good wife, that makes her admirable. She loves her family, even her step-children. She grows fond of Johann as their life together starts to cement itself.

Although she's made herself a comfortable life with a man who adores her, Stefan is never far from her thoughts. Their lives came together in a hurried way and he exited from her life hurriedly as well. It is not something that someone can get over very quickly. Their lives intersect again and this time, Annabelle is unable to give him up. Of course things are never that simple as one would hope and she finds herself in some situations that will change her path in life yet again.

Ms. Williams does an excellent job of stringing you along with who Annabelle's husband was in the 60s. Just as I would think I had it figured out, she'd through another fork in the path causing me to question my thought process. It is a sign of a great writer when you don't get sick of these forks but embrace them and anticipate them.

As a huge Les Miserables fan, I loved the comparison of Johann and Stefan to Javert and Jean Valjean. It definitely seemed extremely fitting. Johann wasn't so reprehensible in the end but I think Ms. Williams was trying to show that some high ranking Nazi officials did it for the love of the country and what they believed was German Nationalism not hatred of the Jews. It is easy to get stuck somewhere and not be able to know how to leave or be able to leave because you will be killed.

There are some heart pounding moments throughout the novel and ones that will make you hold your breath. I loved the setting of Antibes and then Florida/Georgia in 1966.

Ms. Williams makes you believe in soulmates and that sometimes love does conquer all.

If you haven't read Ms. Williams Schuyler Sister books than you definitely should because they are  filled with wonderful characters throughout history. Plus you don't necessarily need to read them in order.



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