Along the Inifinite Sea by Beatriz Williams
Whenever I read one of Beatriz Williams’ books, it is like catching up on family. Along the Infinite Sea is another installment in the lives of the Schuyler sisters, a trio of society daughters whose lives I have been compelled to follow, since I first read 100 Summers. This latest novel follows the trials of Pepper Schuyler, unexpectedly pregnant and running away from her Washington DC life. We last saw Pepper restoring an old Mercedes in Tiny Little Thing, which introduced us to Pepper’s sister, Tiny.
The old Mercedes is the catalyst that brings Pepper and Annabelle together when Annabelle buys the car from Pepper for a large sum of money. Pepper hopes that the money will ensure her security and can support her and her child, but when the indomitable Annabelle intercepts with her own plan for Pepper’s well-being, the pair undertake a new journey together. The chapters alternate between the present and the past, intertwining the tale of Annabelle’s tumultuous coming of age in pre-war Germany with Pepper’s present 1960’s troubles, ultimately uniting the pair to face their pasts together. Annabelle’s connection to the old car is slowly revealed and we learn how a sudden and desperate escape leads her, and the car, to the Cape Cod shed where Pepper uncovered it. Meanwhile, Pepper faces her own sudden escape from life’s complications, and as each of the women’s secrets of the past come to light, they help each other move into the present.
I really enjoyed this final chapter in the lives of the Schuylers, and I will miss them now they are gone. The real history that Williams effectively writes into the backdrop of her stories enhances the reader’s understanding of the past and gives the characters an authenticity that draws us in to empathize with their plight.