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To The Sea by [Dibley, Christine]
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To The Sea Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 357 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English

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Product Description

To the Sea is the stunning saga from debut author Christine Dibley.

"To The Sea is a call to the sea passed on from mother to daughter... lyrical, evocative and deeply engrossing." Australian Arts Review

A dangerous yearning echoes through generations.

On a clear summer's day, Detective Inspector Tony Vincent answers a call-out to an idyllic Tasmanian beach house.
Surrounded by family and calm waters, seventeen-year-old Zoe Kennett has inexplicably vanished.

Four storytellers share their version of what has led to this moment, weaving tales which span centuries and continents.
But Tony needs facts, not fiction: how will such fables lead him to Zoe and to the truth?
As Tony's investigation deepens, he is drawn into a world where myth and history blur, and where women who risk all for love must pay the price through every generation.

For fans of Kate Morton and Alice Hoffman.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 962 KB
  • Print Length: 357 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Australia (22 December 2016)
  • Sold by: Macmillan (AU)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01MA4PPGR
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #28,099 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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By Liana TOP 500 REVIEWER on 12 February 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
The cover of this book is what drew me to it in the first place. I know the saying goes "Don't judge a book by its cover" but why not? It shows thought, imagination, creativity - it literally SHOWS you the book. So then why doesn't the saying "A picture paints a thousand words" applied to a book cover? I mean it is art after all and this book is, in so many words, a piece of art.

The first few pages lays the story out beautifully. Some might say, it was a bit confusing trying to find the link between what the story was about and what it was actually telling you. But I found it to flow quite easily and had no troubles following from one person to another. There's about 5 different people in this story that contribute their history, which I found fascinating - I don't know why people keep saying 4 because there was actually five: Tony (the detective), Tom (Zoe's Grandfather), Eva (Zoe's mother), Sadie (Zoe's older sister) and John (Zoe's father). Although some of it didn't really apply to the question of "where is Zoe and what happened to her" it gave an interesting insight into the people of that family - the one's that knew of the family secret - and how it all functioned.

Christine Dibley, is an fantastically imaginative writer, she entwined the historical fantasy genre with fiction and made it feel so real that it had me caught up in the story as if I were hearing it from the characters themselves. Tasmania was the perfecting setting for this book, as Tasmania itself is a very mysterious "island" with it's own secrets and myths. It made me miss, what once was, my home State and helped me remember the beauty if the place.

My favourite character (as probably is most people's) is Tony.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This debut novel by Tasmanian author Christine Dibley unfolds at a mixed pace and through a number of different voices.

From the backcover blurb I’d envisaged Zoe’s family offering up various versions of her disappearance which isn’t the case. Everyone is upset, but surprisingly accepting of what’s happened… regretful, but ready to move on. Zoe’s (significantly older siblings) and father expect the worst, but her mother – Eva – believes Zoe to be safe and seems to take solace in the fact she may one day return.

I really liked the time we spend with Tony – with whom I obviously connected – given I think of him as Tony rather than DI Vincent. He’s a complex and interesting lead and we’re offered some insight into his personal life and management style as well as his rise through the ranks to DI while still (only) in his mid 20s.

And then we’re privy to the tales of Eva and her mother, grandmother, great grandmother and so forth, and it’s through these stories however, that Dibley also offers additional layers of context and grounds we readers a little… through references to Irish and Australian history.

There was a lot I enjoyed about this debut novel by Dibley: our lead character Tony who’s enchanted by the enigma that is the schoolgirl Zoe; and the impact our own ‘stories’ (our histories and beliefs) have on us AND our own mental health. I didn’t dislike the fantasy element, though would have been more at home with straight crime fiction. And, though I was glad it eventually came, I probably would have liked some analysis of the family’s reaction to Zoe’s disappearance earlier in the novel.

3.5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition
Detective Inspector Tony Vincent is called to a beach house in an idyllic location in the south of Tasmania. It’s summer, and seventeen-year-old Zöe Kennett has vanished. She went snorkelling, family members tell DI Vincent and his team, and she’s disappeared. A search is initiated: perhaps Zöe is alive, somewhere. Family members tell the police she’s a very strong swimmer.

The more questions DI Vincent asks, the stranger the situation appears. No one seems to have a clear recollection of when they last saw Zöe, and no one really seems to have a clear idea of who she was. It’s a large family: surely someone knows something? DI Vincent finds that while most members of the family expect the worst, Zöe’s mother seems to think that one day she might return.

There’s a story here, with many fabulous elements, spanning continents and centuries. It’s a story told through the novel by different storytellers each sharing the information they have, their understanding of the past. It’s a story I like, but just can’t accept. I try to keep fables separate from fact. But while the fabulous elements of the story make me uncomfortable, it’s not my beliefs that matter. In this novel, Ms Dibley provides a present day mystery underpinned by a fable which passes from one generation to the next but to only one person in each generation.

What concerns me most, in this story, isn’t the fable and its impact. It’s fiction: I can suspend disbelief. What concerns me is that non-one in the family seems to know Zöe very well. DI Vincent finds that there was much more to Zöe’s life than any family member seemed to know.

And the ending? I’m not entirely sure what I wanted, but I know I wanted something else, something more.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful story! 17 January 2017
By Mel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I am constantly impressed with the new Aussie authors that are emerging! What a bunch of talent we have here!

This book was delightful! What captured me the instant I saw it is the beautiful cover, which really captures the essence of the story. I quickly became engrossed in the beautiful saga of this family, and its interesting and perhaps magical history.

A teenager named Zoe has been reported missing, most likely drowned off the coast of Tasmania. Tony is the lead investigator in her disappearance and realises right from the start that there is something strange about the family that lives in the beautiful house by the sea. While investigating Zoe's life, Tony is swept into the stories of the history of the family, from hundreds of years ago, up until now. And some of it is a bit beyond belief. Will he be able to find Zoe? Is she really dead, or is there something extraordinary happening?

The story is told from four perspectives. Tony, the investigator carries the weight of the plot in his search for the missing girl. Zoe's aunt Sadie and her parents John and Eva have the remaining narratives, and fill in the story with important history, leading certain things to come together, and others that create even more mystery.

The writing of this novel is absolutely beautiful. It didn't take me long at all to get engrossed in the story and just when I was getting into a nice groove, the tales within the story BLEW ME AWAY. I was utterly captivated by the stories of love, loss, betrayal and sacrifice. And the romance! There were a few romances weaved into the story and they were all sweet, one especially. With so many back stories I sometimes became confused with who was who and where I was in the story. I think this is my issue more than the writing though, I am a very fast reader, and I have baby brain! I'm not surprised I got a bit lost. I am surprised I can remember my name most days at the moment!

My only other criticism was the ending. It just didn't do it for me. It was good, and I got it, I really did. But personally I didn't find it ultimately satisfying.

Would I recommend To The Sea?

Absolutely. If my ramblings even remotely spark your interest, then I have no doubt you will enjoy it. Definitely worth reading!

Many thanks to the author via Pan Macmillan for a copy of To The Sea to read in exchange for an honest review.
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully told story combining contemporary mystery with folklore 17 February 2017
By Kate - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
When a Tasmanian teenager goes missing at her family's beach house detective Tony Vincent is determined to find out what happened to her. As he investigates her disappearance, he discovers Zoe Kennett is not like most teenage girls and her family is stranger than most. With Zoe's mother insistent her daughter is still alive because of the stories her ancestors have passed down, Tony has to separate fact from fiction to find out what has happened to Zoe.

To the Sea is a book which stands out for many reasons. Part police procedural, part folk story, To the Sea combines a modern Australian mystery with Irish legend. Blurring the lines between reality and fantasy, this book interweaves the stories of four generations of a family and the legends of their ancestors.

The characters in this novel are fascinating and wonderfully flawed. Zoe's family didn't notice when she disappeared and aren't overly concerned by the fact that she's missing. When the police are called in, many of the family treat detective Tony's presence as an inconvenience. As we get to know the different characters and their relationships with their family, we get to see how their histories made them the people they are at Zoe's disappearance. One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was how authentically each of the characters came across. The author has written these characters in such a way they they may not be entirely likeable or endearing but they felt like real people complete with their imperfections and own baggage. After finishing the book I felt like I knew these people and where they had come from. That is a very hard thing to do as an author, to give such a clear picture into their lives in less than 450 pages, but Dibley succeeded brilliantly.

There are times throughout the novel where it becomes unclear what is real with the lines between myth and reality blurring. Not knowing just how far into the realm of fantasy the story is going to take readers was exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat.

And the setting is gorgeous. Described so vividly there were times I felt I could have been there at the Kennett's family home on the Tasmanian coast. This is definitely a book which evokes feelings of summer along and is quintessentially Australian with Irish twist.

Spanning generations and continents, To the Sea is a beautifully told story. Zoe's mysterious disappearance keeps a thread of suspense over the course of the novel as Tony uncovers her family's secrets. Christine Dibley's debut novel is an engaging read and I can't wait to see what she writes next.
4.0 out of 5 stars ‘On this planet, there are two worlds. The world of the land and the world of the sea.’ 14 February 2017
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Detective Inspector Tony Vincent is called to a beach house in an idyllic location in the south of Tasmania. It’s summer, and seventeen-year-old Zöe Kennett has vanished. She went snorkelling, family members tell DI Vincent and his team, and she’s disappeared. A search is initiated: perhaps Zöe is alive, somewhere. Family members tell the police she’s a very strong swimmer.

The more questions DI Vincent asks, the stranger the situation appears. No one seems to have a clear recollection of when they last saw Zöe, and no one really seems to have a clear idea of who she was. It’s a large family: surely someone knows something? DI Vincent finds that while most members of the family expect the worst, Zöe’s mother seems to think that one day she might return.

There’s a story here, with many fabulous elements, spanning continents and centuries. It’s a story told through the novel by different storytellers each sharing the information they have, their understanding of the past. It’s a story I like, but just can’t accept. I try to keep fables separate from fact. But while the fabulous elements of the story make me uncomfortable, it’s not my beliefs that matter. In this novel, Ms Dibley provides a present day mystery underpinned by a fable which passes from one generation to the next but to only one person in each generation.

What concerns me most, in this story, isn’t the fable and its impact. It’s fiction: I can suspend disbelief. What concerns me is that non-one in the family seems to know Zöe very well. DI Vincent finds that there was much more to Zöe’s life than any family member seemed to know.

And the ending? I’m not entirely sure what I wanted, but I know I wanted something else, something more. I liked this novel, but it’s left me vaguely dissatisfied. I mostly enjoyed the fabulous elements, but have some difficulty with their connection to the present. I loved the setting, found DI Vincent an interesting character, and was concerned by the family’s reaction to Zöe’s disappearance.

This is Ms Dibley’s debut novel. I’ve added her name to my list of authors to watch.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, but ventured into a genre with which I'm less familiar 3 February 2017
By Deborah Cook (@ Debbish dot com) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
This debut novel by Tasmanian author Christine Dibley unfolds at a mixed pace and through a number of different voices.

From the backcover blurb I’d envisaged Zoe’s family offering up various versions of her disappearance which isn’t the case. Everyone is upset, but surprisingly accepting of what’s happened… regretful, but ready to move on. Zoe’s (significantly older siblings) and father expect the worst, but her mother – Eva – believes Zoe to be safe and seems to take solace in the fact she may one day return.

I really liked the time we spend with Tony – with whom I obviously connected – given I think of him as Tony rather than DI Vincent. He’s a complex and interesting lead and we’re offered some insight into his personal life and management style as well as his rise through the ranks to DI while still (only) in his mid 20s.

And then we’re privy to the tales of Eva and her mother, grandmother, great grandmother and so forth, and it’s through these stories however, that Dibley also offers additional layers of context and grounds we readers a little… through references to Irish and Australian history.

There was a lot I enjoyed about this debut novel by Dibley: our lead character Tony who’s enchanted by the enigma that is the schoolgirl Zoe; and the impact our own ‘stories’ (our histories and beliefs) have on us AND our own mental health. I didn’t dislike the fantasy element, though would have been more at home with straight crime fiction. And, though I was glad it eventually came, I probably would have liked some analysis of the family’s reaction to Zoe’s disappearance earlier in the novel.

3.5 stars