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By The Sea 1887   By: (1847-1924)

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In this captivating historical novel, Heman White Chaplin takes readers on an immersive journey to a coastal town in late nineteenth-century England. Set in 1887, the story revolves around the lives of a diverse group of characters whose paths intertwine in the picturesque seaside community. Although lacking a compelling title, this book masterfully depicts the power of human connections amidst a backdrop of tumultuous societal changes.

Chaplin skillfully paints a vivid picture of the era, showcasing the fragility of the Victorian era's social norms and the profound impact it had on individuals. Through his elegantly crafted prose, the author embraces the reader entirely in the world he has created, where class divides are starkly apparent and secrets lie beneath the surface of idyllic coastal scenes.

One of the exceptional aspects of this novel is the rich characterization that breathes life into each protagonist. The ensemble cast consists of a wide range of personalities, from the stoic and enigmatic, to the outspoken and rebellious. Emma, an ambitious woman with a fervent desire for emancipation, challenges the restrictive gender roles of her time, while Jack, a brooding artist with a mysterious past, becomes entangled in a complex web of relationships. Their journeys, as well as those of the other characters, unfurl with an undeniable authenticity that captivates and engages the reader from beginning to end.

The plot, while at first appearing meandering, gradually reveals itself to be intricately woven. As Chaplin deftly navigates the interconnected lives of the townsfolk, the narrative takes unexpected turns and unravels secrets buried deep within the community. The author's ability to maintain a delicate balance between suspense and emotional depth further contributes to the book's allure.

By The Sea 1887 ultimately delves into profound themes like love, loss, societal expectations, and the struggle for personal freedom. Chaplin's portrayal of the characters' intricate relationships is both poignant and thought-provoking, highlighting the complexities of human connection and the ways in which individuals can be both bound and liberated by their circumstances.

It is difficult to discuss this book without praising Chaplin's impeccable attention to historical detail. From the mannerisms to the fashion, the author paints a vivid and immersive portrait of late Victorian England. The seaside setting itself serves as an additional character, with its allure, charm, and unpredictable nature becoming integral to the narrative.

Despite the absence of an evocative title, By The Sea 1887 is a beautifully written novel that entranced me with its magnetic storytelling and atmospheric setting. Heman White Chaplin's impeccable writing style, nuanced characters, and compelling plot intertwine seamlessly to create an unforgettable reading experience. Highly recommended for lovers of historical fiction and those seeking a captivating journey through a bygone era.

First Page:



By Heman White Chaplin


On the southeastern coast of Massachusetts is a small village with which I was once familiarly acquainted. It differs little in its general aspect from other hamlets scattered along that shore. It has its one long, straggling street, plain and homelike, from which at two or three different points a winding lane leads off and ends abruptly in the water.

Fifty years ago the village had a business activity of its own. There still remain the vestiges of a wharf at a point where once was a hammering ship yard. Here and there, in bare fields along the sea, are the ruins of vats and windmills, picturesque remains of ancient salt works.

There is no visible sign left now of the noisy life of the ship yards, except a marble stone beneath a willow in the burying ground on the hill, which laments the untimely death of a youth of nineteen, killed in 1830 in the launching of a brig. But traces of the salt works everywhere remain, in frequent sheds and small barns which are wet and dry, as the saying is, all the time, and will not hold paint. They are built of salt boards.

There were a good many of the people of the village and its adjoining country who interested me very greatly. I am going to tell you a simple event which happened in one of its families, deeply affecting its little history... Continue reading book >>

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