Along the Infinite Sea is the first novel I’ve read by Beatriz Williams, and let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised. I’d heard good things going into this one, but then when I read the inside cover that it was third novel in a series, I didn’t know if I should read it as a stand alone. I decided to give it a chance, and what I found was really great storytelling, and a compelling story. Also, if you decide to pick up this book… flip to the Historical Note in the back. She explains that this novel was inspired by an article she read about a rare 1936 Mercedes 540K Special Roadster, that had been discovered in a shed at an Inn in Connecticut. According to the article, it belonged to a German baroness who had some parallels with this novel, and when the car was found in 1989 was a cigarette stub stained with lipstick, and a single leather glove in the glove compartment. The rest, Beatriz Williams took some accurate liberties with.
It’s earl Autumn of 1966, Pepper Schuyler’s problems just keep adding up. When she discovers a rare vintage Mercedes and sells it at auction, she thinks her luck is looking up, and she’ll be able to look after the baby she is carrying… which was the result of a steamy affair to an unnamed legendary politician. Then when Annabelle Dommerich turns up to pick up the car she bought from Pepper, it turns out that the pair of them have quite the vault of secrets to share. Annabelle’s past includes a Nazi husband, a German Jewish lover, and a risky fleeing out of Germany. Jumping back and forth between 1938, and 1966, you find out that Pepper and Annabelle share similar secrets and help each other with the problems they produce in their future.
This book was just dazzling. It captured the golden age in Paris so well, and takes you to the Ritz sipping champagne. Then it flashed forward to the coast of Florida, and the glamour that the South held. Let me talk a moment about the strong, snarky, women in this novel. Pepper was so quirky, she had the funniest one-liners, and she knew exactly how to work what she knew she had. Then there was Annabelle, she was described as an Audrey Hepburn level classy lady! She was a temptress, a world-class cellist, and a strong voice for this time period. Without giving too much away, these two help each other solve a mystery of Annabelle’s long lost past lover.
How can we bear this? I asked. (He took the hat from my hands and placed it gently on my head.) Because we have to. Because you will know my heart is somewhere in the world, beating for you.
The love story that this novel tells is just so beautiful, and you really need to keep flipping the pages in order to see what’s going to happen to the characters. I really enjoyed this novel, it’s a long one coming in close to 500 pages. If you like historical fiction, a little thrilling ride, with some romance in there… you will love this. I will now be reading a lot of Beatriz Williams back catalogue, and can’t wait to dig into them!
It’s a super chilly day here in Canada, so if it’s cold where you are… I hope you are staying warm and enjoying a great book today!