Read The Sea House by Esther Freud Online


The architect Klaus Lehmann loves his wife, Elsa, with a passion that continues throughout their married life, despite long periods of separation. Almost half a century after Lehmann's death in the village of Steerborough, a young woman, Lily, arrives to research his life and work. Poring over Klaus's letters to Elsa, Lily pieces together the story of their lives. And alonThe architect Klaus Lehmann loves his wife, Elsa, with a passion that continues throughout their married life, despite long periods of separation. Almost half a century after Lehmann's death in the village of Steerborough, a young woman, Lily, arrives to research his life and work. Poring over Klaus's letters to Elsa, Lily pieces together the story of their lives. And alone in her rented cottage by the sea, she begins to sense an absence in her own life that may not be filled by simply going home....

Title : The Sea House
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780141026541
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Sea House Reviews

  • Zoë
    2019-05-31 01:22

    "Lily moved in with Nick the following month. There was no request, no whoop of acceptance when she said she would, just the assumption, when her landlord raised her rent, that it would be more convenient if she brought her things to his. They had talked about where they’d store her paintings, her clothes, her washbag, even her bag of cotton wool, and somewhere in between their plans to extend the wardrobe right into the corner of the room she forgot there was something that had not been said."I picked up this book in Scotland based purely on cover appeal and price, at a second handbook store. I didn't have high expectations for it exactly, but it seemed like a good book to bring on the long flight home. Although I read the first half of it in the air, I wasn't so enthralled and hooked into the story that I needed to finish it when I got home- something which says a lot about the book I think. It was a fine book if you are looking for a read which doesn't require to much thinking, but definitely isn't chick lit or vampire porn either. The book had some lovely passages, particularly with regards to love and what it can do to a person.However ultimately the book dragged in parts and was easy to put down when I had something to do. The chapters are set in alternating times, which is fine as a technique, but I often felt there was a lack of connection between the two periods until the very end. There were also a lot of almost irrelevant characters I didn't really care about and yet still learned a lot of pointless information regarding. Although I won't spoil the ending, it seemed a little lazy and while it is fine to not agree with a character's decision I feel that the reader should at least be able to understand it and with regards to both time periods, such understanding was definitely lacking. Overall the book was a gentle, subtle story with some beautiful details but lacking in passion both in regards to the characters and how I felt about it as a reader.

  • Sandy
    2019-06-05 07:02

    I love this novel from page one through to the end. Although the many of the characters suffered greatly during WWII, they sought to live positive, hopeful and happy lives without bitterness. During the mid-century, a deaf and damaged artist, an renowned architect who had escaped Germany with his beloved wife, a children's psychoanalyst, and the strange and wonderful humans who populated the same seaside village in the early 21st century. I especially liked Esther Freud's skillful weaving of the 1953 life in the village with the 2007 characters' lives. They were loosely tied together with plausible delicacy. Her use of letters gave context to the actions, thoughts and feelings of her characters and moved the story forward. It was easy to lose oneself in the descriptions of walks in nature and by the shore. What a lovely experience to spend time in a village at the seashore in the mid-twentieth century, alternating with a 21st century return to the same locale. The main character, Lily, whose passion was to uncover the secrets of the past.

  • Cynthia
    2019-06-05 05:03

    It's too bad the cover art doesn't pull up; that's how Eduardo picked it. The cover is integral to the story. It's about an artist who paints pictures of houses and there are several architects in the mix, going back and forth between 1953 and current. The back says a "gentle" story, which it is. And a sweet English coastal setting.

  • Martinxo
    2019-06-08 00:06

    This book started off quite interesting then became steadily more boring until I was overcome by stupor and lethargy at around page 97. Recommended for insomniacs.

  • Bethany
    2019-05-30 04:25

    Dear Esther Freud,Please read what I am about to say carefully.The extremely common phrase "thank you" is merely a shortened version of "I thank you." "You" is the direct object; "thank" is the verb. The phrase is made up of two words.TWO. WORDS. Are you paying attention? TWO ZARKING WORDS.It's not "thankyou", it's "thank you".Is it really that hard of a concept? NO. It's not.But time after time your characters said "thankyou", a word which is only correct when used as an adjective or a noun.STOP IT. YOUR DEAR GREAT-GRANDFATHER SIGMUND MUST BE TURNING OVER IN HIS GRAVE.Thank you for your time - that is all.Love and twitchings,An annoyed, persnickety readerP.S. - The book itself was pretty good, though! The two stories didn't quite mesh for me, and I liked the modern day part better than the one in the past, oddly enough. You did end up surprising me slightly in the end, though. P.P.S. - Please fire your editor.

  • Josie
    2019-05-26 05:05

    I liked the way each alternating chapter was set in either the past or the present, and I liked the way the characters' stories were intertwined. I did not, however, like the ending.As I read the book I worked out that there were two ways it could end: romantically or realistically. It was the latter. (Way to ruin my faith in happy-ever-after, Esther Freud.) But I wouldn't have minded so much if it was just that the realistic ending was less happy - because although the male MC in 1953 didn't get a very happy ending, the female MC in the present was shown as having quite a hopeful future. My main issue was that the female MC and her boyfriend were constantly arguing and misunderstanding each other, so when she "remembered that she loved him" it was completely out of nowhere. The ending spoilt the rest of the book for me, which was otherwise a very good read.

  • LindyLouMac
    2019-06-04 07:04 only other title I have read by this author is Hideous Kinky and I have to admit I enjoyed it more than this one. I found it took me a long time to get into the story and appreciate how the two time periods linked together.Lily is a young woman studying for a degree in architecture and for her thesis is researching the life and work of architect Klaus Lehmann. She has in her possession aiding her with her studies love letters from Klaus to his wife Elsa. He died nearly fifty years previously in the in the Norfolk coastal village of Steerborough, where he was a resident. To help her piece together the story of his marriage she has decided to rent a cottage in that very same village.The story swaps about from the current day with Lily immersing herself in the village and her research and realising that all is not as she wants it to be in her relationship with her boyfriend Nick.The other chapters take us back in time to the fifties, when Elsa was often living alone in the village when Klaus was away working, with only friends Gertrude Jilks and Max Meyer for company. It is through Max’s eyes that we learn about the Steerborough of that period.We learn of the love and disappointments that both these women face in their lives and how the village itself seems to have an affect on their lives.In my opinion The Sea House lacked any great passion apart from the excellent geographical descriptions of the village and surrounding countryside.It was in all a pleasant enough read but did not have a great impact on me.

  • Melania
    2019-06-06 05:28

    ESTHER FREUD - CASA DE LA MALUL MARII ( romance)Desi personajele vin din lumi diferite, traiesc pe doua planuri diferite, autoarea reuseste sa le aduca in acelasi loc cu o deosebita maiestrie. Lily Brannan pleaca din agitatia marelui oras in care traia intr-un satuc de la malul marii, Steerborough, sperand sa gaseasca raspunsuri la multele ei intrebari legate de constructiile arhitectului Klaus Lehmann. Aceste raspunsuri aveau sa o ajute la finalizarea proiectului de la facultate. Cel putin asta credea ea. Pe Lehmann il descoperise datorita iubitului ei si va ajunge pe parcurs sa gaseasca raspunsuri nu numai legate de minunile arhitecturale carora acesta le daduse viata, dar si raspunsuri la intrebari pe care nu reusise sa le rosteasca cu voce tare pana atunci.Intr-un plan paralel facem cunostinta cu Max Meyer, tanarul pictor care vine la Steerborough pentru a incerca sa capteze in desenele sale Marsh End, si cu Gerturde Jilks. Aceasta din urma, specializata in psihanaliza infantila, spera ca prin invitatia adresata lui Max de a veni in acel sat, sa il ajute cumva sa treaca peste pierderea surorii lui, prietena ei buna. Care este legatura intre acestia si Lily? Ei bine, suntem purtati pe o poteca destul de intortocheata, pentru ca apoi sa apara in peisaj Elsa si sotul ei Klaus Lehmann.Lily intrase in posesia scrisorilor pe care Klaus le trimitea catre Elsa atunci cand era departe de aceasta. Incearca sa afle mai multe despre el ca si arhitect, insa ajunge sa ii cunoasca pe amandoi si pe ea insasi in acelasi timp.

  • Jane
    2019-06-10 01:18

    Set in beautiful Suffolk in the fictional village of Steerborough which according to Wikipedia is in reality, Walberswick. Anyway, whether it is the real village with altered name or a completely fictional place is irrelevant as the author conjures up a beautiful coastal setting. I visited Suffolk in the summer and the descriptions have brought back fitting memories of that flat and vast coastline with the long stretches of shingly sand and small villages.The story is told in dual narrative. We have present day Lily reading letters that Klaus Lehmann wrote to his wife Elsa. Running parallel we learn about the Lehmanns through Max Meyer and Gertrude Jilks. In both stories, we have women dealing with love, who they love. Both time zones are set in the same area but apart from The Sea House, the characters do not live in the same cottage/homes.I loved the main characters from the troubled Max to the lonely Gertrude and Elsa and in the present timeline I liked Lily. I found the two men Nick and Grae selfish for both the same and separate reasons. I liked the way the story developed and the journey the characters followed in coming to terms with their lives. A gentle story which touches the readers hearts.On reading the acknowledgements, the story is based on real characters. Reference is made to the Suffolk painter John Turner and Esther Freud's grandfather Ernst Freud, amongst others.

  • GoldGato
    2019-06-14 01:29

    Some books just immediately envelop the reader in the story, and it's a full race to finish the story. Other books stop you at the gate. This book...well, my gate was locked and when it finally opened, BAM, the story took off so quickly I was practically inhaling the pages.Whether this is what Esther Freud intended, I'm not sure, but I was not looking forward to the first half of the book. I dragged myself through it, noting the various characters and their surroundings and the world of art and architecture. Then the second half of the book was completely different, I couldn't wait to get through the pages. Freud is the great-granddaughter of Sigmund and the daughter of Lucian, so that explains the psychology and the art. The story takes place in "Steerborough", which is really an invented name for the real village of Walberswick in Suffolk, England. Anyone who's been to that part of the isle knows how the sea is always battling the shore, and by the time I realized that raging water was the real star of the book, I was finished.Although I really became involved in the book at the midpoint, I still only give it three stars as I just couldn't accept the sudden resolution to everyone's lives. That, perhaps, is more a defect of me as a reader than of the author, so I suggest my review not put off those willing to make it down the stretch.Book Season = Winter (when the sea is angry)

  • Marie
    2019-05-17 04:23

    I wanted to read more by Esther Freud as I'd loved her debut autobiographic novel "Hideous kinky", particularly the ambience and poetic style, and I was not disappointed in this novel: once again, Freud weaves her magic through her sensuous, graceful depiction of landscape, until in this present novel the landscape becomes the protagonist. I was hungry for this type of escapism and so I enjoyed this novel a great deal! However, that is not to say that the book doesn't have its faults. The stories (one in the present time, one after WWII) are secondary to the place, and characterization is sometimes weak: I could not make out at all the characters of Elsa and Max, I could not understand why they acted as they did... There is very (too) little insight in the characters' minds so that one is left a little bit frustrated at the end.If you like strong characters and storylines, this isn't for you. This is a gentle, subtle novel. I usually go in for strong drama but I was definitely won over by Freud's beautiful writing.

  • Dawn
    2019-06-08 06:25

    I found this book slow to get into but once I did, I was spell-bound. Set in the remote coast of Suffolk/Norfolk where the sky is big and the sea battles to reclaim stolen land, I was drawn in to this lonely isolated world and I found that the story stuck with me for days after I had finished the book as I savored various elements of the story. Set in the past and the present, the characters are eventually woven together so that time is spanned and knitted together. I think that was the sense I got - a sense of timelessness as the story unfolded it was if the sense of two passages of time merged and blended together through Lily, the main spokesperson. I am reading another book by the same author; it is an earlier book and so is interesting to compare styles as The Sea House shows sophistication and the author raising the bar on her story telling ability.

  • Kris
    2019-06-02 06:07

    Vor ca. 2 Jahren war das Buch auf der Leseliste eines Seminars und wie meistens hab ich mir's direkt gekauft ohne zu wissen, dass die Liste wieder geändert und das Buch nicht mehr darauf sein wird. So lag das Buch also einige Zeit ungelesen im Regal bis ich es vor kurzem entdeckte und mich voller Elan an's Abarbeiten des SUBs machte....Lange Rede, kurzes Fazit:Interessantes und vielschichtiges Buch mit einem Ende, das mir leider nicht so ganz gefiel.Sehr gut gefallen haben mir allerdings die Zeitsprünge und die Briefe und nicht zuletzt die Idee, sich mit einem solchen (Forschungs -)Projekt selbst mal zurückzuziehen. ;)

  • Sorcha
    2019-05-26 02:26

    A novel which starts off slow and, by all means, remains slow. The predominant theme here is of the transience, and yet endurance, of human affairs throughout history. The chronology falls into place very naturally – unravelling mysteries, back-stories and connections between past and present. Freud has a wonderful way of bringing you into the world of the artist, the dreamer, the ruralist. Avowed urbanites must appreciate Lily’s love for the quaint seaside town of Steerborough. Romantic tension is built up gradually and subtly, making the climactic scenes all the more effective. I also like how Freud manages to write in an impressionistic way while avoiding over-description.

  • Andrew McClarnon
    2019-05-22 04:14

    This was one of my serendipity choices from the library. I love stories with a strong sense of place, and if you add architecture, a couple of time strands, and an enigmatic plot in with that, it should be all I need for a good read. I liked the slowly emerging parallels between the time strands, and of course the revelation of their connections - but there's not a fourth star because I found myself adrift too often, looking for a hand from a stronger character to show me the way through the stories. Perhaps a little like the East Anglian coast, an enigmatic emptiness which you have to make your own way with.

  • Ape
    2019-06-04 00:29

    2007 bookcrossing journal:In some ways, nothing much happens in this story - you can feel the heat from the summer - and yet it doesn't drag or is boring - which is curious considering some of the books I've read that are full of plot but are a real drag to bother reading.Set in the same village during two time periods, the book follows Lily (contemporary) researching an architect who once lived there and several Germans (past) including the architect and their time in the village. Gradually you find out what happened in the past and how their stories are related.She has a fantastic writing style, and I did enjoy this book although if I'm honest, I preferred Hideous Kinky.

  • Daisy
    2019-05-24 07:18

    Eh. It's fine. A pleasant pastime, reading this, but also kind of plodding. I have nothing against it though. Well, wait: in a story where so much has to do with the physicality of the village where it takes place, where maps are drawn and diagrams of remembered rooms, and the painting of a particular scroll is such a big plot device, I could not really get a visual idea of the place. Did I just not pay close enough attention to the descriptions or did any one else have this problem as well?

  • Deborah Sowery-Quinn
    2019-06-10 05:16

    two stories a woman leaves her boyfiend in london and takes a cottage in a small english village to work on her thesis about a famous architect who buit a home there - & the story of the architect & his wife, friends, past - letters from the architect to his wife move the story along - both stories - marital infidelity, long distance relationship, art, architecture -the author moves the reader between the two stories quite nicely & for the most part an enjoyable read

  • Susan
    2019-06-06 04:59

    Well written, and engaging. It never slumps or plateaus. My only moment of feeling less than convinced was towards the end, where we discover who a certain rather shabby character is. That felt like a plot conceit and I don't think it added to the book. I was more interested in the modern day plot but the 1953 plot was charming too.

  • Nancy
    2019-06-16 02:07

    I was in an independent book shop in England and I asked the shop worker for something "British" and this was the first book she grabbed off the shelf. It is very British, about a small village on the Eastern coast in Suffolk. Chapters alternate between the present and the past while two different but very similar stories play out. Satisfying story.

  • Desiree Ann
    2019-05-27 01:24

    a little dragging to read... some parts were boring and confusing because of too many twists but it's intriguing enough that you'd want to keep reading til the last page.though i wouldn't read it again, i liked it because it inspired me to go to places. Unknowns and uncertainties could lead to self-discovery. Someday, I'll do the same thing as lily did.

  • Linda
    2019-05-23 05:25

    I enjoyed the visual descriptions very much as well as the wonderful advice about painting in letters written to Max before the war. The parallel relationships which wound through the story and the effects of trauma made this a worthwhile read.

  • Claire
    2019-06-10 07:07

    If at first you find this book boring and slow, don't give up! I almost did and I'm so happy I didn't. After a while, I found it impossible to put it down. It's gentle, sweet, charming, and Esther Freud is a brilliant author.

  • Laura
    2019-06-05 00:14

    I thought more would happen in the story. It's not a bad book, but I didn't find it compelling reading either. It was just kind of vague and meandered a bit. I chose it for the title and the cover art (which on my copy is a drawing of beach huts).

  • Jessica Anne
    2019-06-16 08:22

    There were certain aspects to this book that I found almost annoying. Certain words she chose to use, or just some way she would write something to explain it.It gave her "quivers of delight" the way the pastry went into the pan? Really? Good grief :P

  • Catherine Allen
    2019-06-13 04:11

    I enjoyed this book. I liked the way the sea setting was evoked and the parallel between the two eras. The plot was a bit contrived but still a good read.

  • Sarah
    2019-06-09 00:17

    Thoroughly enjoyed it, you can rely on Esther Freud for a great story, page_turning but well-paced and also interesting story themes. Recommended.

  • Annette
    2019-06-07 03:20

    Beautifully written, clever seamless plotting that told a story and went somewhere. Very evocative descriptions of the Suffolk coast. Superb writer always worth reading.

  • Crystal
    2019-05-31 04:15

    This is the second book by Esther Freud I've completed, and it was another outstanding one. Again, like the last one, I found myself not being able to put it down. Another work based on historical events (World War II and the years following), each chapter alternated between the decades past and present with the characters mirroring each other's experiences and meshing in very similar ways as though some how they were connected in time. Suffolk sounds like an absolutely stunning place to visit, the locale has a story book quality to it, the detail given to the artists' works and descriptions of the places were extraordinary. So now I will go own the list of other books written by the author and seek them out. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this one an 11!!

  • louisa
    2019-05-20 03:21

    Read this as the house we were staying in on extended family holiday features in the novel. Started like many 'chick-lit' novels with young woman heads to countryside to find herself and consider future relationship... sigh, I thought... but it rapidly ramps up in plot and character complexity, and ends as the story of many people's lives over three generations. She's clearly a much better novelist than I thought - read hideous kinky so long ago that I can't remember it to be honest. This was thoroughly enjoyable, heartfelt in its love for and descriptions of rural Suffolk, and a very satisfying read with all the loose ends tied up eventually.