In Jenny Sullivan’s most recent novel, past and present become intertwined in the life of Rose Coleman, a woman living in New York, who finds herself journeying back to the small oceanside town in which she grew up, despite her desire for distance from this world. The disjunct between Rose’s new life and the people and places that have gone on without her becomes increasingly clear.
Along with Rose’s return, the novel traces the lives of Charlotte and Elizabeth, two women struggling against the reality of change and searching for fulfillment in the smallness of their own hometown spheres. The stories of these three women all explore the prevalence of past, the tension between trust and fear, and ultimately seek to discover whether or not change is really possible, as the tide steadily rises, bringing back the things that had been long thought lost in the deep.
Although Hope and Olivia are both in their senior year of high school, their lives could not be more different. Olivia has always experienced privilege, prestige and popularity. Yet despite all her success, happiness evades her and fear still lurks in wait. And one fateful choice brings forth the question: is it always possible to overcome? Or are some mistakes too big?
Hope was never given a chance. She was destined to fail from the start. An ugly past and troubled beginning leave little room for change. To move forward, she must first let go. But relinquishing bitterness and at long last embracing love would go against everything she has ever known.
In a story of failure, courage, forgiveness, belonging and trust, two girls struggle to reconcile with themselves and the world around them. The right path to take is not always the easy one. But sometimes, the only way to be truly whole is to be broken.
Read my reflection on the process of writing and finishing a novel: Life and the Art of Writing