13 Oceanfront Books to Tide You Over Until Your Next Beach Vacation

June 8 2017

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.

The Railwayman's Wife
by Ashley Hay

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.

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The Railwayman's Wife
Ashley Hay

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.

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Snow Falling on Cedars
by David Guterson

In 1954, on the remote island of San Piedro, Kabuo Miyamoto, a Japanese American, is arrested for the murder of a local fisherman. But San Piedro is haunted by its dark memory of World War II, when its Japanese residents were sent into exile, and the murder trial brings to light a community still reeling from the aftermath of war.

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Snow Falling on Cedars
David Guterson

Set on a small island in Puget Sound, this gripping, tragic, and densely atmospheric novel is a masterpiece that will leave you shaken and changed.

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All the Breaking Waves
by Kerry Lonsdale

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.

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All the Breaking Waves
Kerry Lonsdale

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.

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Remarkable Creatures
by Tracy Chevalier

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.

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Remarkable Creatures
Tracy Chevalier

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.

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The Rose Garden
by Susanna Kearsley

THE ROSE GARDEN is a story of time travel set in the modern-day and eighteenth-century versions of a seaside home in Cornwall. When Eva’s sister dies, she returns to the home where they spent their childhood summers. There, she discovers she can slip between centuries and finds herself falling for a man who lived, and died, long before she herself was born.

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The Rose Garden
Susanna Kearsley

A historically well-tended garden of roses acts as an anchor for time-traveling heroine Eva Ward, who has returned home to Cornwall to spread the ashes of her recently deceased sister. While there, she finds she can easily slip into the estate’s past, where she has a hard time deciding which century she would like to live in.

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The Light Between Oceans
by M. L. Stedman

When a boat containing a dead man and an infant washes up on the shore of the remote island where Tom Sherbourne and his wife tend the lighthouse, the couple decides to keep the baby without telling anyone. Two years later, when they return to the mainland, they discover that their decision has had devastating consequences.

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The Light Between Oceans
M. L. Stedman

“The world is full of decent people making disastrous decisions. I love a book that can find the beauty in that.”

Read Susan Crandall’s review here.

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Cannery Row
by John Steinbeck

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.

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Cannery Row
John Steinbeck

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.

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My Last Continent
by Midge Raymond

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.

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My Last Continent
Midge Raymond

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.

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Racing the Rain
by John L. Parker Jr.

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.

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Racing the Rain
John L. Parker Jr.

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.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo

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Past the Shallows
by Favel Parrett

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.

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Past the Shallows
Favel Parrett

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.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo

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As Close to Us as Breathing
by Elizabeth Poliner

Each summer, sisters Ada, Vivie, and Bec gather with their children at “Bagel Beach,” a popular spot for Jewish families on the Connecticut shoreline. In the summer of 1948, when a terrible accident occurs at the beach, the effects echo through the lives of every person in this close-knit family. Told through multiple timelines, AS CLOSE TO US AS BREATHING is a stunning portrait of grief, love, and family bonds.

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As Close to Us as Breathing
Elizabeth Poliner

Sisters Ada, Vivie, and Bec gather each summer at their family cottage in Connecticut at “Bagel Beach,” with children in tow and weekend-only husbands who arrive each Friday in time for the Sabbath meal. But a tragic accident the summer of 1948 irreparably alters the long-established family equilibrium. This debut novel is a beautiful meditation on grief, guilt, and the boundaries of identity and love.

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The Summer Girls
by Mary Alice Monroe

Take a vacation to Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina, where three estranged half-sisters summered as girls. Determined to help them rediscover their family bonds, their grandmother brings them back together for one more Lowcountry Summer.

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The Summer Girls
Mary Alice Monroe

Three sisters reunite on Sullivan’s Island off the coast of South Carolina after years of separation in this first installment of the Lowcountry Summer trilogy. Fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Dorothea Benton Frank will be charmed by this heartwarming series that explores the depths and complexities of sisterhood, friendship, and forgiveness.

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Mystic Summer
by Hannah McKinnon

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.

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Mystic Summer
Hannah McKinnon

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.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo

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