I grew up spending a week each summer on what I considered a magical little beach in California. Ever since, I’ve found stories set near the ocean to be enchanting. These 13 books, while taking place in vastly different corners of the globe, each draw their settings from beach towns and coves. You can find romance, mystery, and heartbreak in these oceanfront books, whether you’re sitting on the beach or curled up at home.
Set in an Australian seaside town overlooking the vast, blue ocean, THE RAILWAYMAN’S WIFE tells the story of the town’s locals as they face incredible loss in the aftermath of World War II. When Anikka Lachlan, a postwar widow, finds a poem on her mantel, an unexpected love triangle begins between Ani, the poem, and the poet, who is struggling with his own loss following the war.
When Molly Brennan’s eight-year-old daughter is plagued by horrific visions and debilitating nightmares, Molly is forced to return to Pacific Grove, a place she fled 12 years before after a harrowing accident tore her family apart. ALL THE BREAKING WAVES is a story of love, secrets, and motherhood, as Molly learns she must confront her past to save her daughter.
In the early 1800s, Mary Anning was a talented and influential paleontologist working on the outskirts of an arena dominated by middle-class men to discover important marine life fossils. REMARKABLE CREATURES is the story of her unlikely friendship with Elizabeth Philpot, a fellow fossil collector, as they help each other through poverty and ostracism while pursuing their joint obsession.
In this piece of classic literature, John Steinbeck paints a portrait of people living on the margins of society in the few blocks of Monterey, California, known as Cannery Row. While Cannery Row is now filled with tourists, in 1945, it was a place inhabited by people who depended on one another for both physical and emotional support as they struggled to hold on to their place in the world.
An unforgettable love story that pulls readers deep into one of the most remote places on the planet. Deb and Keller are researchers with a complicated history who spend a few weeks each year studying penguins in the Antarctic. When Deb discovers Keller is trapped aboard a sinking cruise liner, her role changes from researcher to rescuer as she sets out to save him.
Quenton Cassidy is a gifted runner growing up on Florida’s Gold Coast. While exploring his natural surroundings, he befriends Trapper Nelson, a hunter who lives in an isolated compound on the riverbank. But when a prominent judge and his wife disappear from his town, Cassidy’s loyalty to his friend is tested just as his opportunity to make a mark as a runner comes to fruition.
Three brothers, Joe, Miles, and Harry, live on the remote southern coast of Tasmania with their wild and volatile fisherman father. When Joe leaves to escape their father’s abuse, Harry and Miles are left to fend for themselves. Being the oldest, Miles tries to protect Harry, but it soon becomes apparent that, sometimes, a brother’s love isn’t enough.
Maggie Giffin has an enviable life as an elementary school teacher in a Boston suburb, but when she discovers her job may be on the line, she returns to Mystic, Connecticut, the beach town where she grew up, for her best friend’s wedding. There, she runs into Cameron, a man from her past who makes her see her idyllic life from a new perspective.