Summer by the Sea

Written by Ann Cliff

Helen Moore has left her farming family behind for the summer to work as an apprentice housekeeper at the Seaview guesthouse in Bridlington. There she becomes great friends with the proprietor, Mary Baker, and her son Daniel. The work is not always easy, but mostly times are good. Helen is especially drawn to one guest, James, who is writing a book about the work of the fishing community.

Trouble comes after Helen agrees to help James gather local stories and she comes into contact with the harsh working conditions of the fisher girls. Then a diamond necklace goes missing from Seaview, and the finger of suspicion points towards Helen. In trying to prove her innocence, her life itself could be at risk.

Summer by the Sea is a lovely and satisfying read. Late 19th-century Bridlington is really brought to life, as is the hard grind and danger suffered by the fishing families of the area. The theft plot is an ingenious way of bringing more peril to the main character, who might otherwise simply be an outside observer.

All in all, this is an accomplished regional saga.