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The Way to the Sea by Victoria Connelly

The Way To The Sea


When Cate Rivers leaves her husband in the middle of the night with their young daughter, Eliza, she has no idea what the future holds. Taking a live-in position at Hollow House on the Dorset coast, she determines to make a new life for her and Eliza.

But Cate’s new boss, fossil hunter Charles Thorner, could do without the problems of a couple of runaways under his roof. He’s got enough worries of his own, including a painful past which still holds him prisoner today.

As the two of them learn to work alongside each other, secrets are shared and a new closeness is found, but they soon discover that you can only hide from the past for so long…

The Way to the Sea is the latest heartwarming novel by the bestselling author of The Beauty of Broken Things and The Rose Girls.


First of all, what a beautiful cover. Secondly, the main characters’ stories are painful, compelling, and tangible. Not to mention the setting along the Jurassic Coast is captivating.

The book is told from three points of view. Catherine “Cate” Rivers is fleeing her abusive husband with her daughter Eliza to work for Charles “Mr. Fossil” Thorner as his housekeeper and assistant. Charles is a recluse paleontologist who lives and breathes his work with fossils while trying to forget his traumatic past. Allie is a single mother dealing with her son’s estranged father’s surprising return and she is helping her old school friend, Cate start a new life in Dorset. Can they all find peace from their unsettling pasts?

Cate’s strength and kindness are what make her a good mother to her sweet and smart daughter Eliza. Their traumatic story of domestic abuse is a sad statistic, but they are starting a new life. Cate is getting her confidence and self-respect back and Eliza is trusting others and finally speaking every now and then after going mute during an awful event with her father. I give credit to Charles for overcoming his own guilt and self-isolation about his son’s death, guiding an inquisitive little girl to learn about fossils, and helping a young mother learn to trust again. 

Allie is undergoing some changes as well when her son’s father, Craig, returns from traveling all over the world. He hasn’t seen them in years and now wants to make up for his long absence by spending time with his son. However, it’s going to be on Allie’s terms because he hasn’t earned her trust. I respect Allie’s compassion for her son to get to know his father, and I understand her reservations about letting Craig take his son out of the country. However, her solution to travel closer to home together may be more than everyone can handle considering Craig is untrustworthy and a bit of a jerk. 

The friendships between Allie, Cate, Charles, and Eliza are real and convincing. I particularly like the interaction between Eliza and Charles which is very moving with Charles’ patience as a good male role model for a vulnerable little girl. It was sweet when Charles was just excited as Cate when Eliza spoke. And don’t forget about Rigs the cute terrier who is a friend to all.

This lovely story is more about women’s fiction than romance, but there is promise. It is about starting over from tragedy, abuse, and desertion. The fossil hunting is educating and the setting is beautifully rugged and wild.

Thank you to Ms. Connelly for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.


The Way to the Sea by Victoria Connelly

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Victoria ConnellyVictoria Connelly lives in a 500-year old thatched cottage in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens. She is the million-selling author of two bestselling series, The Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in Germany. Victoria loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden either with a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.

Follow Victoria on her website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


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