A short, light and refreshing romance with fantasy and paranormal elements!
Most kids had imaginary friends, but most weren’t like Megan’s friend Niall. There were rules: only at night and only by the sea. She could’ve sworn he was real, but when someone vanishes without a trace, what else can you believe?
All that was seven years ago, buried in the past until Niall shows up in town with his tight swimmer’s body and easy smile. For Megan, just the sight of him is enough to tear open a scar that never fully healed. However, their reunion only elicits more questions. Niall’s keeping secrets, unbelievable ones, and as Megan delves into the supernatural depths of who he really is, she’s sure he’ll vanish again.
Megan’s not stupid—she knows how bad it’ll hurt if she gets involved. The first time Niall disappeared, she never thought she’d recover. But the moment they lock eyes, it’s too late—because Megan will go to any length to see that boy smile.
By the Sea is a great novelette that reads as a short, fun, contemporary romance from the onset. However, as it opens up and the reader begins to settle into the story, the fantasy paranormal elements emerge.
Megan had been through so much to be rid of the delusions of her imaginary friend, Niall. And yet here is the new boy in town, Mason, with so many likenesses to her long gone friend. Megan wants to lead a normal life and decides not to let Mason in too much. She cannot go down that path and be left hurt and confused again. And yet despite this, her feelings of the past have not disappeared and have re-ignited with Mason.
As well as the romance current running gently throughout the story, later we realise that Niall is also on a mission to seek something that has been taken from him. Not only that but it could also bring a little paranormal trouble to Megan. These scenes I found exciting and left wanting more.
Being a short story doesn’t always allow much build up to prepare the reader, and I found this to be the case, only ever so slightly, with the supernatural element of the story. Once I had accepted the idea of what Niall was I was able to delve further and empathise with Megan’s character – the confusion and re-surfacing of her past feelings.
By the Sea is a nice story with something to offer the contemporary romance reader and the fantasy paranormal fans. I would recommend that it is suitable for Young Adults and over, and there is a coming-of-age feel in regards to the young characters of the book.
A copy of By the Sea was provided by the author in return for an honest and fair review.
Reviewed by Caroline Barker