The House By the Sea
Ten-year-old Floriana is captivated by the beauty of the magnificent Tuscan villa that overlooks the sea just outside her small village. She likes to spy from the crumbling wall into the gardens, and imagine that one day she'll escape her meagre existence and live there. One day, Dante, the son of the villa's powerful industrialist owner, invites her inside. From that moment on Floriana knows that her destiny is there, with him. But as they grow up they cross an unseen line, jeopardising the very thing they hold most dear.
Decades later and hundreds of miles away, a beautiful old country house hotel on England's Devon coast has fallen on hard times. Its owner, Marina, advertises for an artist-in-residence to stay the summer and teach the guests how to paint. Rafael Santoro is charismatic and wise, and soon begins to pacify the discord in her family. However, Rafa is not who he seems. He has his own agenda. Whether to destroy, to seduce, or to heal, it is certain to affect them all.
Spanning four decades and sweeping from the Italian countryside to the English coast, this new story by Santa Montefiore is a moving and mysterious tale of love, forgiveness and the past revealed.
This book has been published in the US under the title The Mermaid Garden.
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High Resolution Images
Book Cover Image (jpg): The House By the Sea
Author Photo (jpg): Santa Montefiore
Photograph by Elaine Fattal(0.1 MB)
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Reading Group Guide
Marina, the owner of a charming seaside hotel in England, is struggling with the potential loss of her business, her tumultuous relationship with her stepdaughter, and the lingering repercussions of her mysterious past. In an attempt to improve at least her business outlook, she hires a dashing Argentine artist to teach her guests how to paint, not knowing that he will be the one to unveil her true self and change the course of their lives. Spanning four decades and alternating between Tuscany and Devon, The Mermaid Garden is a story of pain, loss, and the healing power of love.
TOPICS AND QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
- Gardens play an important role in both Marina and Floriana’s individual, but connected stories. What do the gardens represent to this character? Does the garden have a different significance for “Marina” than it does for “Floriana”?
- How did you react when you found out that Marina and Floriana was the same person? Were you surprised? Can you