Wednesday 10 February 2021

You, Me and The Sea by Elizabeth Haynes @Elizjhaynes BLOG TOUR @MyriadEditions @EmmaDowson1 #YouMeAndTheSea #BookReview


Rachel is at crisis point. A series of disastrous decisions has left her with no job, no home, and no faith in herself. But an unexpected job offer takes her to a remote Scottish island, and it feels like a chance to recover and mend her battered self-esteem.

The island's other inhabitants are less than welcoming. Fraser Sutherland is a taciturn loner who is not happy about sharing his lighthouse - or his precious coffee beans - and Lefty, his unofficial assistant, is a scrawny, scared lad who isn't supposed to be there at all. 

Homesick and out of her depth, Rachel wonders whether she's made another mistake. But, as spring turns to summer, the wild beauty of the island captivates her soul. For the first time in years she sees the hope of a better life - if only she can break the deadlock between two men who are at war with one another, and with themselves.

You, Me and The Sea by Elizabeth Haynes is published by Myriad Editions on 11 February 2021. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Blog Tour.

Elizabeth Haynes is well known for her dark psychological thrillers. Her debut novel, Into The Darkest Corner, is in my opinion, THE book that sparked the existing trend for the brooding, twisting thrillers. It's a book that has stayed with me for many years. I've since read and enjoyed all of her books and was especially delighted by her dip into historical fiction a couple of years ago when she brought us The Murder of Harriet Monckton.

I have to admit that I didn't ever expect to read a romance by this author, and I was intrigued to see how she would handle this one. 

Well ..... I could just say 'Wow', and leave it there. Pop off to your nearest book retailer and get yourself a copy, you will not be disappointed.  I could say that, but there's so so much more that I want to say, so I will! 

Set on a tiny island called Must, a couple of hours from the coast of Scotland, this is probably one of the most beautifully imagined settings that I've ever come across. For two days, I really felt as though I too was on that island with lead characters Rachel and Fraser. The author has created a place that is both desolate and lonely, whilst being a place that is also a sanctuary, not just for the birds that flock there, but for two wonderful human beings whose story unfolds through the pages. 

Rachel is escaping from real-life. She's leaving behind a series of life events that have left her exhausted, scarred and doubting herself. She doesn't feel loved, or needed.  She doesn't even like herself, so how can she expect other people to put up with her? Grasping the opportunity to take a temporary job on an island in the middle of nowhere seems like a great idea, until she arrives, and realises that this is not going to be easy either. Her job is to cook and clean for the birdwatchers who visit the island, and the bird observatory where they will stay is grubby and unkempt. She has a huge task ahead. Her biggest shock though is when she discovers she will be sharing the lighthouse accommodation with Fraser. 
Fraser is a bear-like man. Abrupt and often grumpy, he's used to being alone on the island. He doesn't relish the thought of sharing his home with Rachel either. 

Fraser and Rachel have far more in common than they could ever imagine. He too is trying to escape real life by hiding away on the island. However, as we all know, wherever we go, we take our inner thoughts with us, we cannot escape ourselves. Fraser has a burning anger inside and deals with it badly. Like Rachel, he doesn't like himself very much, and there are days when he struggles to get through the hours.

This author has woven a wonderful, warm and emotional love story between two incredibly created characters. It's fair to say that this is not a traditional romance, both of them battle against their feelings constantly, trying to tell themselves that it's just sex .... oh, and there's lots of that! However, Rachels' feisty nature soon whittles away into Fraser's head and whilst there are a lot of stops and starts, a lot of misunderstandings, and a lot more sex, eventually they begin to be more honest with themselves and each other.

You, Me and the Sea is a moving, emotional and passion fuelled story of emerging love. It's a study in self awareness and it's a beautifully written tale of the frailties of human nature and how much hurt we can do to ourselves. It is perfectly paced and the characters are incredible creations, not just Rachel and Fraser, but the other people who pop in and out of the story too. I have to give a special mention to Lefty; a mysterious character, floating about on the edges of the story, but who becomes integral to the plot as it develops. 

So, where next for this incredibly talented author? I'd say please write more of this, I adored it. It brought great comfort during these troubled times. It transported me to a place that felt so much safer than our existing world. It's beautiful and wonderful and I recommend it highly. 

Elizabeth Haynes worked for many years as a police intelligence analyst. Her debut novel, Into the Darkest Corner, won Amazon's Book of the Year in 2011 and Amazon's Rising Star Award for debut novels.

Elizabeth grew up in Sussex and studied English, German and Art History at Leicester University. She now lives in North Norfolk. Elizabeth is a regular participant in, and a Municipal Liaison for, National Novel Writing Month - Nanowrimo - an annual challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November.

Twitter @Elizjhaynes
Author Page on Facebook

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