Reading guide for Beyond That, the Sea by Laura Spence-Ash

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Beyond That, the Sea

A Novel

by Laura Spence-Ash

Beyond That, the Sea by Laura Spence-Ash X
Beyond That, the Sea by Laura Spence-Ash
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2023, 368 pages

    May 7, 2024, 368 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Maria Katsulos
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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. Imagine you were Bea's parents, living in London during the war. Would you have sent your child to America?
  2. How would you feel if you were the family accepting a young girl from another country into your family?
  3. How did the passage of time in the novel affect your reading experience? What about the multiple character perspectives?
  4. Why do you think the author included Millie's and Reginald's perspectives rather than focusing on only Bea and the Gregorys?
  5. The Maine house plays a significant role in the Gregorys' lives. What does Maine represent for the three children? Does it change as they grow older?
  6. Living in London during the war was much different than living in Massachusetts. How did these two distinct settings impact the characters and their choices?
  7. We see Bea grow into a teenager, a young adult, and finally, a 30-year-old. What changes did you notice in her personality over the years?
  8. During the war, Ethan and Reginald take up correspondence and begin playing chess via postcards. Was this connection a surprise to you? Why do you think the author built this friendship?
  9. Even in the beginning, there was a distance between Beatrix and her mother, Millie. How much of the distance in Beatrix's adult life do you think is because Reginald, her father, let her think it was Millie's decision to send her away to America? Do you think the relationship would have been different if Beatrix had known the truth much earlier?
  10. How did grief impact each character differently? Did you empathize with some characters' grief over that of others?
  11. "What's past is prologue" from Shakespeare's The Tempest is repeated throughout the novel. How do you think Bea, William, and Gerald interpreted this quote?
  12. Gerald tells Rose, "William was always searching for the next thing, you know that. Maine wouldn't have helped." What do you think William was always searching for? Do you think he ever found it?
  13. Have you read historical fiction before? How do you think this novel fits into or breaks the mold of the genre?
  14. When the book ended, was it hard to leave these characters behind?

Topics provided by the publisher, combining submissions from the Noon Book Group (Bluffton, OH) and New Virginia Library Book Club (New Virginia, IA).

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Celadon. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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