Cover image for Lost at sea : a novel
Lost at sea : a novel
Physical Description:
296 pages ; 21 cm.
General Note:
Includes reading group guide.
Geographic Term:
When beloved local fisherman John Staybrook is lost at sea his death stirs up more than grief. Hidden secrets throughout the small community begin to bubble to the surface, and everyone from the local librarian to the nurses at the hospital are swept up in the storm. For fans of Kerry Lonsdale and Emily Bleeker, LOST AT SEA is a mysterious yet uplifting family drama with unexpected twists that explores a small town community caught up in the disappearance of one man, the resurgence of tightly held secrets, and the lengths we will go to protect the ones we love. --


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The Guest Book meets Everything I Never Told You in this gripping novel of a small town caught up in a shocking disappearance, and the lengths we will go to protect the ones we love.

When beloved fisherman John Staybrook vanishes in the night, his loss stirs up more than grief. His daughter Ella is convinced he's still alive and vows to bring him home.

But as she searches thesmall Massachusetts town, secrets throughout the community begin to bubble to the surface. As the pieces fall into place of what really happened, everyone from the babysitter to the local librarian are swept into a more urgent question: Why would someone go out in the middle of a deadly storm?

Erica Boyce weaves a tense yet hopeful tale of family secrets whispering across the rocky shores and the unshakeable strength that love leaves behind.

Author Notes

Erica Boyce is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard and the author of The Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green. She lives outside of Boston with her husband and a corgi named Finn.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Boyce (The Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green) spins a riveting, satisfying tale of a small Massachusetts fishing town and the myriad family dramas buried just under the surface. In present-day Devil's Purse, Mass., the residents lead a stoic, hardscrabble life; when the men don't come home from sea, "the women allow themselves one good cry behind closed doors before setting their jaws and searching for job listings." But after fisherman John Staybrook disappears in bad weather, his wife, Diane, suspects foul play. Meanwhile, John's eight-year-old daughter, Ella, refuses to believe her father is gone, enlisting her babysitter, 18-year-old Lacey Carson, in a town-wide search. Lacey, adopted at birth, struggles with the sense that she was "unwanted," and often turns to painkillers to quiet her mind. Boyce poignantly explores the impact of opioid addiction on the townsfolk, offering a moving scene of redemption after an overdose. While Boyce's frequent changes in points of view can be hard to follow, she keeps a firm hold of the plot, methodically unpacking John's poor decision to take the boat out in bad weather and culminating in a twisty, fast-paced finish. Readers will devour this convincing portrait of a tough New England town, brought to life with lush prose and well-developed characters. Agent: Eric Smith, P.S. Literary Agency. (Mar.)

Booklist Review

Boyce explores the way secrets cast a small coastal town adrift in her latest novel (after The Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green, 2019). Lacey Carson is a young woman who returns home to Devil's Purse after a stint in rehab to treat her opioid addiction. Her anxiety is speaking to her, telling her she doesn't deserve the love and trust of her single mother, Maureen. The only person Lacey feels might have any good feelings toward her is Ella, a precocious nine-year-old for whom Lacey used to babysit. When Ella's father, an esteemed fisherman, is reported missing out at sea, secrets are brought to light that catch the entire town of Devil's Purse off guard--no one more so than Lacey. Boyce tells the story from multiple perspectives, and her simple but heartfelt writing covers a myriad of themes through characters dealing with anxiety, addiction, and grief. Readers looking for contemporary novels that make complex issues accessible will be drawn to this one.