ALONG THE INFINITE SEA
Schuyler Sisters final
By: Beatriz Williams
Narrator: Kathleen McInerney
Imprint: Penguin Audio
Genre: Fiction – Historical
Release Date: November 03, 2015
15 Hours and 30 Minutes
Also available as hardcover or e-book: Nov 03, 2015 | 464 Pages
Audiobook provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
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.
This book had me from page one. Of course, since I had listened to the previous book TINY LITTLE THING, about Pepper’s sister Christina I wanted, no I needed, to know about Pepper’s future and that of her restored Mercedes. As soon as I saw it in my list, I downloaded and started listening.
Kathleen McInerney does a great job, giving Annabelle’s voice sweetness, and Pepper’s voice sass.
This is a novel in split time, Early WWII and the mid-sixties. Pepper is pregnant by a up and coming senator, a Kennedy-esque family trying to pressure her into getting rid of it or giving it away. In the meantime, Pepper is hiding out in Miami waiting for the buyer of the car she restored. The cash should give her a nest egg to raise her child regardless of society’s problems with her pregnancy.
In the past half American, half French Princess Annabelle has enough medical experience to make her useful, but not enough life experience to keep her heart and body safe.
And so it goes. The story in the 1960s is languorous, and utterly dependent on the war story for it’s culmination. The characters’ actions and motivations are slippery. And the twist; well the twist was something I thought possible but it still surprised me. I can’t say I laughed in the WWII part, but there is some humor in the sassy mouth of Pepper Schuyler. The WWII part kept me on the edge, and made my heart race. Mostly Pepper’s story gives us a reason to learn Annabelle’s. The disposition of the characters is well-done.
Here’s the deal with the kind of review I have to write, that is, without spoilers: I can’t tell you all the fascinating thisgs that make this both a piece of literary fiction, but also a compelling romance. I can’t tell you how for several of the characters, when, it has been your life having one’s national identity pulled out from under one, losing the crux of what makes you who you are destroys one.
And, how, wanting one circumstance and being given another characters learn to make do and make a life.
There are some loose ends and some fantastical moments; it was not perfect, and “liking a book” is so personal and hard to qualify. But, I liked this book indeed, and I wished I could give the characters back the years they lost to war. It seems I have read a lot of WWII books lately (one more review to come). This one has enough romance to offset the depressing nature of anything vaguely truthful about war, but it definitely gives us a sublime picture of the difference between love at war and love in a more peaceful era.