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The Family by the Shore

Length: 261 pages3 hours


"A powerful story of family love, loyalties - and doubts." The People's Friend.

An Air Mail letter and wallet of photographs from Hong Kong bring shocking news for Laura Robbins and her younger brother and sister at Spryglass, the tall old house facing the seashore on the wild English coast.
Since their mother died when Laura was fifteen, she's cared for James and little Becky at Spryglass while their father, Ken, was away at sea with the Merchant Navy. The children all miss him a great deal, however with Gran and Grandad Jessup living just a short distance away in the village and Laura's blossoming romance with David Hale, together with her interesting part-time job at Monk's Inn in Sandford village, Laura is happy and content with life exactly as it is.
David Hale is a Cornishman by birth, driven from his home and family after discovering a mesh of deception and betrayal. A newcomer to Sandford, he's working hard and struggling to establish a market garden for organically grown fruit and vegetables on the long-neglected patch of land surrounding his home at tumbledown Riverside Mill, an 18th century flour mill that's stood derelict since the 1930s.
Laura, James and Becky are overjoyed when Ken plans to come ashore for good and begin a new career teaching engineering at a college in Preston. However, when Ken reveals on his last voyage from Hong Kong, he will be accompanied by a new wife, Laura is horrified. How could Dad do such a thing to his family? Bringing a total stranger home to Spryglass! A woman his children have never met, and know nothing about.
Laura is astounded at how easily everyone else accepts the news. Even Gran and Grandad - Nancy and Dan Jessup - welcome the new bride warmly and get along famously with this fashionable, successful career woman with whom Laura has nothing in common. Try as she might to befriend and get along with Alison, Laura cannot stifle increasing resentment and anger. After years of caring for her family and Spryglass, suddenly Laura feels she's no longer needed and an outsider in her own home.
The newly-weds' homecoming does indeed change everything forever. As well as immense happiness, the months ahead hold heartache, conflict and tragedy for the family at Spryglass, and for David Hale and Gran and Grandad Jessup, too.
David's relationship with Laura ends abruptly and painfully. His dreams and ambitions are suddenly in ruins, and David is compelled to confront the treachery of his turbulent past when old, long-buried secrets come back with vengeance to haunt him. Dan and Nancy Jessup need the strength and comfort of their family more than ever, when the elderly couple face the gravest crisis of their whole lifetime together. And Laura . . Laura is lonely and unhappy.
Riven by doubts and regret, she buries herself in work to dull the aching loss of all that meant most to her. Quite unexpectedly, she finds consolation in the undemanding company of Shaun Pembridge, a widely-travelled and rather mysterious young man who shows up in Sandford and takes a room at Monk's Inn.
It is a friendship, however, which is to threaten Laura's whole future . . .

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