Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Happy Release Day + Book Review: ALONG THE INFINITE SEA by Beatriz Williams

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.

Rating: 5/5 stars

I have read all of Beatriz Williams’ books and so far this has to be my favorite. This was a compelling story that I could not put it down. Like Williams’ other books the story alternates between two narratives, Pepper (who is first introduced in The Secret Life of Violet Grant) in 1966, and Annabelle in 1937. The two stories are connected by a Mercedes Benz (which Pepper discovers in Tiny Little Thing) that Pepper restores and sells at auction. Annabelle buys the car and it is soon revealed that she has a close connection to the car itself.

While I enjoyed Annabelle’s sections I wish we had gotten more of Pepper’s story. I felt very shortchanged with Pepper’s story as not much really happened and most of it revolved around her relationship with Annabelle. I was also hoping to see a lot more of Pepper’s family (Vivian and Tiny especially). I felt that there was a lot more to be explored with her relationship with Florian and I wish we had gotten more scenes of them together. But in the end I felt that Annabelle’s story was so intriguing that it made up for the lack of Pepper. 

Annabelle’s story takes place in 1930s Europe and revolved around her relationships with her husband (a German general) and her Jewish lover, Stephan. Annabelle’s sections were what really kept me engaged in the story because from the very beginning there were a lot of questions surrounding Annabelle. I enjoyed the relationship between Annabelle and Stephan as well as the one between Annabelle and her husband, Johan. I don’t usually like love triangles but I really thought that Williams’ did a great job with it in the book. I thought that Annabelle’s struggle with her feelings towards Stephan and her loyalty to Johan was very compelling and, to me, seemed very realistic.

In Williams’ other books the endings were very definite and all the loose ends are tied up. So I was pleasantly surprised that the ending for The Infinite Sea was more open ended. I actually really appreciated this, as I like when authors change up their stories so it doesn’t make it feel like they are just writing the same story over and over again. With Williams’ books the writing style is the same and there are certain characteristics that remain in each book but they are all very different in story and characters, which is what always keeps me coming back for more.   

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