Thursday, September 11, 2014

Review: The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith

The Story of Land and Sea
by Katy Simpson Smith

Publisher: Harper
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Set in a small coastal town in North Carolina during the waning years of the American Revolution, this incandescent debut novel follows three generations of family—fathers and daughters, mother and son, master and slave, characters who yearn for redemption amidst a heady brew of war, kidnapping, slavery, and love. 

Drawn to the ocean, ten-year-old Tabitha wanders the marshes of her small coastal village and listens to her father’s stories about his pirate voyages and the mother she never knew. Since the loss of his wife Helen, John has remained land-bound for their daughter, but when Tab contracts yellow fever, he turns to the sea once more. Desperate to save his daughter, he takes her aboard a sloop bound for Bermuda, hoping the salt air will heal her.

Years before, Helen herself was raised by a widowed father. Asa, the devout owner of a small plantation, gives his daughter a young slave named Moll for her tenth birthday. Left largely on their own, Helen and Moll develop a close but uneasy companionship. Helen gradually takes over the running of the plantation as the girls grow up, but when she meets John, the pirate turned Continental soldier, she flouts convention and her father’s wishes by falling in love. Moll, meanwhile, is forced into marriage with a stranger. Her only solace is her son, Davy, whom she will protect with a passion that defies the bounds of slavery.

Kritters Thoughts:  Told in three separate stories in a non linear fashion, this story takes place during the American Revolution when the US was trying to break away from the British and the British were trying to keep their hold.  I don't read many books set in the time period, so my first reaction was absolutely positive to read a book outside of my normal historical timeline.

Interesting and different - the way the three parts were set up.  They were told out of order and I am not sure that I liked it.  I loved each part of this family's story and seeing the similarities between the daughter (Tab)'s life and her mother's life was very interesting.  Although a few years apart, life hadn't changed and women died in child birth and the relationships with slaves hadn't changed and I loved seeing the lack of change in time.  

If you are a historical buff that loves this time period, then this book is up your alley.  After this book, I still want to read more about the American Revolution, but I am not sure this was the best one to start with.

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from TLC Book Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.


  1. I enjoyed this book but also didn't like how it was out of order.

    Other than that, the writing was beautiful.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.

  3. I liked this book, but the "out of order" was a problem for me too.

    My review is up tomorrow, September 26.

    I liked the reason she wrote the book. :)



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