Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9781439180600, 290pp.
Publication Date: July 6, 2010
Acclaimed novelist and nationally recognized family expert Lynne Griffin returns with Sea Escape—an emotional, beautifully imagined story inspired by the author’s family letters about the ties that bind mothers and daughters.
Laura Martinez is wedged in the middle place, grappling with her busy life as a nurse, wife, and devoted mom to her two young children when her estranged mother, Helen, suffers a devastating stroke. In a desperate attempt to lure her mother into choosing life, Laura goes to Sea Escape, the pristine beach home that Helen took refuge in after the death of her beloved husband, Joseph. There, Laura hunts for the legendary love letters her father wrote to her mother when he served as a reporter for the Associated Press during wartime Vietnam.
Believing the beauty and sway of her father’s words will have the power to heal, Laura reads the letters bedside to her mother, a woman who once spoke the language of fabric—of Peony Sky in Jade and Paradise Garden Sage—but who can’t or won’t speak to her now. As Laura delves deeper into her tangled family history, she becomes increasingly determined to save her mother. As each letter reveals a patchwork detail of her parents’ marriage, she discovers a common thread: a secret that mother and daughter unknowingly share.
Weaving back and forth from Laura’s story to her mother’s, beginning in the idyllic 1950s with Helen’s love affair with Joseph through the tumultuous Vietnam War period on to the present, Sea Escape takes a gratifying look at what women face in their everyday lives—the balancing act of raising capable and happy children and being accomplished and steadfast wives while still being gracious and good daughters. It is a story that opens the door to family secrets so gripping, you won’t be able to put this book down until each is revealed.
Praise for Sea Escape
"Lynne Griffin’s Sea Escape is a tender, heartfelt portrait of mothers and daughters: the attention we crave from each other, the secrets we hide, the unexpected ways our wishes are sometimes answered and the walls come crumbling down.”
—Jenna Blum, New York Times best-selling author of Those Who Save Us
“Lynne Griffin adroitly weaves the separate truths of two women, a mother and daughter, into the singular, moving story of one family. Peopled with characters who are delightfully complicated and divinely flawed, Sea Escape becomes a novel of faith and resilience as both women risk disillusionment and heartache to unravel a legacy of entrenched secrets. Griffin spins their journey with literary grace and a keen sense of human nature, building to a climax that makes both her characters and, indeed, her readers reassess what it truly means to be a family.”
—Carol Cassella, author of the national bestseller Oxygen
“In Sea Escape, wounds of love, sacrifice, and betrayal are veiled in mystery until the discovery of private letters reveals long-hidden secrets that set a grieving daughter free to forgive her mother, her father, and ultimately herself. With clear vision into the tender complexities of the female heart, Lynne Griffin has artfully crafted a rich, multigenerational story.”
—Beth Hoffman, bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
Praise for Life Without Summer
“Griffin’s carefully crafted characters ring heartbreakingly true and her finely wrought plot will snare readers from the first page.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A remarkable debut novel.”
—Kristin Hannah, New York Times best-selling author of Winter Garden and True Colors
“The epitome of smart women’s fiction.”
—Patricia Wood, author of Lottery
"Part who-dunnit, part psychological portraiture… always-involving. Griffin is a master of the crisp and telling detail, and her troubled main characters are wonderfully human."
—Martha Moody, national bestselling author of Best Friends and The Office of Desire
“A sparkling debut!”
—Margot Livesey, author of Eva Moves the Furniture and The House on Fortune Street
"An insightful, honest book about the nature of grief, loss, love, marriage and divorce...Lynne Griffin has given readers the gift of a compelling novel of character and of life."
—Jeanne Ray, New York Times bestselling author of Julie and Romeo and Eat Cake