Beatriz Williams debuts her first novel in a masterful, breathtaking story of suspense, history and a love worth waiting for. Before reading this book, I was in a reading rut – disenchanted by identical plots and characters, I was ready to give up on chick lit. Overseas has changed my mind.
Kate Wilson, mousy and quiet financial analyst was content minding her own business as she worked in New York. That was, until she attracted the attention of Julian Laurence. Devastatingly handsome, intelligent, charming and not to mention a the owner of a $20B investment company, everyone is surprised by his attention.
What seems like a standard boy meets girl story quickly progresses as their romance blossoms, on dual timelines. It seems that their romance did not have its roots in modern day New York, but rather in France during World War I. In Amiens, Captain Julian Ashford, a young military man came across a mysterious American woman who knew details of his upcoming mission. She changed his life and he never forgot her.
To begin with, both timelines are murky, but you spend most of the book in the modern day. Kate begins to discover Julian’s true nature – how could a man so perfect, be so certain that he loved her so soon? The answer comes in the form of a history book where Kate learns of Julian Ashford, war hero who was presumed dead during an attack, responsible for the poem Overseas, a dedication to his beloved during the war.
I worried for a moment about the book dipping into the supernatural, but Julian’s existence was explained in an easy, uncomplicated way, without delving into details. Found by a historian, visiting the battlefields in Amiens, Julian awoke 12 years ago in a hospital, recovering from war wounds. The time travelling element was glossed over quite quickly in the book, but I found it didn’t need anymore.
As both timelines unfold, revealing piece by piece how and why these two came together, you watch Kate and Julian fall in love. Finally united, their love is giddy and oh-so-believeable. As they come together, more sinister tensions bubble underneath. The very foundation of everything they built together is threatened as someone who knows more than they should lurks in the shadows.
The book comes together in a breathtaking climax, colliding both timelines in such a masterful way that you can’t help but be impressed as all the pieces fall into place.
In the hands of a less masterful writer, the plots and timelines could have been messy and tangled, but Beatriz Williams expertly weaves the story together to create a suspenseful, intense book that I devoured in one sitting.
If you’re looking for something new and fresh to sweep you off your feet, Overseas is definitely the right book.
Available now: Allen & Unwin RRP$29.99