Sea Glass Memories
by Anne Marie Bennett
Genre: General Fiction / Women’s Fiction
Print Length: 208 pages
Reviewed by Samantha Hui
A cozy novel with the charm of small-town life and the reassurance that we are resilient and capable of love
Grief can alter us to the same capacity that love can. Where love can fill us up and make us feel whole, grief has the tendency to break us down, to make us feel a loneliness never experienced before.
Anne Marie Bennett’s Sea Glass Memories explores the strength it takes to move beyond grief. Readers will follow the emotional growth of the main character and become encouraged to take their lives back into their own hands. This novel reminds us that to grieve is to love and to love is to carry on.
“I’ve come to believe that we go on… not just because we should, but because there is something larger, something greater than we are, that invites us to continue, in spite of the pain, in spite of the heartache.”
Elena Jefferies is new to Seahaven. Encouraged to move to a new town by her caring brother Carlos and wise therapist Camille, Elena begins her journey of reclaiming her life after the death of her husband Marc. In this new town, Elena faces her grief head on by joining a support group, building friendships with the local townspeople, and taking another chance at love with a couple romantic prospects.
“’Grief is not a contest,’ I reply softly. ‘Sad stories are sad stories.’”
While Elena is the main character of the novel, there are a few chapters dedicated to telling the story of Elena’s kind landlady Kit Gilmore. We learn that Kit mourned the death of her fiancé Ollie when they were both only twenty years old. In spite of over forty years passing, Kit still feels the pain of losing a soulmate.
As the story closely follows both Elena and Kit navigating life after losing their partners, we see how long grief can still have its effect on someone. But the stories for Elena and Kit are ultimately joyful and full of love.
“Yes, we have to be careful with pieces of broken glass, just like we have to be careful with our grief. But with time and the roughness of the ocean, the sharp edges of fragmented glass become smoother.”
I love how cozy this book feels—one that could be read on the beach or while tucked in, warm under the covers. The comfort of this book can be attributed to the kind nature of all the characters in it. There are no villains in Elena’s story; there is only the obstacle of grief. The people Elena meets and builds relationships with are kind and are in her life for as long as they need to be.
For example, Elena grows a romantic attraction with the traveling stage actor Ryan who is set to leave Seahaven once he lands a role on Broadway. There is no “will they, won’t they” subplot; Elena and Ryan are in each other’s lives for the time that they have together because it was meant to be that way.
“We choose what we think is best for us in the moment and live with the outcomes.”
I recommend this book to those who are still grieving loved ones or those who feel a bit lost in life. Elena is such a relatable and likable character, and audiences are bound to learn from her strength, loyalty, and capacity to love. Sea Glass Memories is a heartwarming novel that shows us that living is not merely a passive verb, but an action we must take into our own hands.
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