“Book Review: The Sea in Me”
Reviewed by Joe Walters
Searching for your Christopher Robin: The Sea in Me is a light, clean romance about finding the right partner for both you and your child.
If you’re a single mother, you might admit that your child means the whole world to you. So shouldn’t the romances you read admit that, too? The Sea in Me by A. Kelly is a clean romance novella with a female lead in search of a new captain for her and her daughter’s lives.
Six years ago—and a week before the birth of her first baby—Tamara’s husband was murdered right in front of her. She’s been waking up in shaking nightmares ever since, reliving the same night, the same gun shots, and waiting for the right person who will wake her from this horrible dream.
After yet another breakup, Tamara and her daughter Belle make their way to Washington from Australia to help sell a deceased family member’s boat. That’s where they meet Chris, a sea captain willing to pull a beautiful woman out of the water after she’s fallen hopelessly overboard. Lucky for us, that woman is Tamara.
When hopeful romantic partner Chris offers to sail Tamara and Belle up to Alaska to see the bears, the girls discover something they couldn’t see coming: that his unappreciative fiancé is waiting for him on dry land. With Belle’s help, Tamara must show Chris that he deserves better than his fiancé and that, if he wants, he can be the captain of their new family instead.
There are quite a few things to enjoy in this short clean romance, but perhaps the one that shines the most is the admitted importance of finding someone who is a good fit for the female lead’s daughter. She’s the most important person in her life—and will always be—so while Tamara would love to find a hunk with a strong arm draped around her, she doesn’t shy away from the fact that Belle comes first. It feels terrifically honest to make sure readers can connect to the nature of this natural desire like this.
Similarly, Belle acts as a sort of wing-woman for Tamara in this one. The romance trope of the wing-woman is oftentimes one of the many reasons why readers choose a book, so I really love this wrinkle that Belle, a six-year-old budding bear enthusiast, is the one who’s helping her mother get her man.
This is a good fit for those in search of a clean romance, but there are a few things that don’t sit that well with me, too. More than anything, I don’t exactly love that Chris’s fiancé is treated and characterized a bit too much like someone who deserves to lose her partner. The fiancé is cast in a negative light a bit too often, especially since it feels like she’s not an altogether bad person—only that she has what Tamara wants. Also, things might move a bit too quickly in the latter half of the book. I would’ve liked to spend a bit more time developing the romantic pay-off, but of course, I can’t ignore that the length of this novella makes it all the more attractive of a product, too.
Overall, I think we’ve got ourselves a satisfying romance in The Sea in Me. With enough obstacles standing in the way of Tamara’s happiness and a daughter-centric premise, this one could make more than a few romance readers very happy.
Paperback: 146 pages
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