September 13, 2011
Sea Glass by Anita Shreve
2002 Little, Brown and Company
With all the narrative power and emotional immediacy that have made her novels acclaimed international bestsellers, Anita Shreve unfolds a richly engaging tale of marriage, money, and troubled times—the story of a pair of young newlyweds who, setting out to build a life together in a derelict beach house on the Atlantic coast, soon discover how threatening the world outside their front door can be.
Sea Glass is the third volume in a series set on the coast of New Hampshire. The large coastal home featured in The Pilot’s Wife and Fortune’s Rocks is once again the focal point of this story. I thoroughly enjoyed the earlier novels in this series, so I was disappointed that this book didn’t live up to my expectations. Each chapter centers around one of six characters and is typically only a couple of pages in length. I usually don’t mind short chapters and can go back and forth between narrators, so it wasn’t the style of formatting that bothered me, but rather a general disinterest in the thin plot, coupled with a lack of affection for any of the characters.
Looking back on all the books I’ve read by Anita Shreve, it’s a wonder I keep trying to find a winner. I loved Fortune’s Rocks and The Pilot’s Wife, but was less impressed with A Wedding in December, Light on Snow, The Weight of Water, and now Sea Glass. I still have some of her backlist in my stacks, so we’ll see if any of them are as enjoyable as the first two I mentioned.