Detail Page Book Jacket

The Sea Sisters

Lucy Clarke

Average Rating:


This novel is a perfect summer read – emotional, moving, and set in beautiful, exotic locations such as California, Maui, Australia and Bali.

Buy the Book
Buy the eBook

Book Synopsis

Two sisters, one life-changing journey…There are some currents in the relationship between sisters that run so dark and so deep, it’s better for the people swimming on the surface never to know what’s beneath …Katie’s carefully structured world is shattered by the news that her headstrong younger sister, Mia, has been found dead in Bali – and the police claim it was suicide. With only the entries of Mia’s travel journal as her guide, Katie retraces the last few months of her sister’s life, and – page by page, country by country – begins to uncover the mystery surrounding her death. What she discovers changes everything. But will her search for the truth push their sisterly bond – and Katie – to breaking point? The Sea Sisters is a compelling story of the enduring connection between sisters.


Richard's Review

As Katie travels to Bali, the chapters alternate between her experiences and Mia’s entries in the travel journal. It’s an interesting device, which in fact was the inspiration behind Lucy Clarke’s debut novel. Clarke is a compulsive traveller herself – her husband is a professional windsurfer, and every winter the couple spend as much time as possible abroad.

quoteit’s an absolutely terrific summer readquote

Clarke always keeps a travel journal, and was intrigued by what would happen if such a diary, with its ‘smears of sunscreen and grains of sand’, was read by someone else. What would it reveal about the writer?

Because Clarke has visited all the exotic settings in the book, they are described with complete authenticity. And they’re all stunning, gorgeously depicted.

But the heart of this exceptionally gripping novel is the deep bond between the sisters, the insight into a relationship which, while often troubled and difficult, is essentially one of immense love. Tragically that love is never fully realised until it is too late.

As Katie travels towards Bali, reading Mia’s journal, the truth of her sister’s travels slowly unravels, along with her character. The plot is complex, full of twists and turns, and The Sea Sisters is a real page turner keeping the reader hooked right up to the end. By the last page Katie has completely changed as a person, and her search for the truth about Mia has revealed much about herself.

Judy and I both loved this book. As she writes, it’s an absolutely terrific summer read.

Follow Richard on Twitter


Judy's Review

This book is a perfect summer read. It’s emotional and moving and set in beautiful sunny locations – California, Maui, Australia and Bali.

The story is about two sisters, Katie and Mia. Although they share a deep bond, they’re very different. Katie is the ‘perfect’ daughter. She has a successful job and an ideal fiancé, Ed, who is wealthy, handsome and sophisticated. Katie needs structure and order in her life.

quoteThis book is a perfect summer readquote

Mia, the younger sister, is the complete opposite. She is a free spirit with a wild streak, a dreamer who loves to travel. Although both sisters grow up at the English seaside, later in their lives the sea begins to divide them, emotionally as well as geographically. Mia wants to explore the world; Katie, perhaps partly in response to their mother’s serious illness, needs the security of staying at home.

Then one day Katie gets the news that Mia has died while travelling in Bali. Even more of a shock, it seems she has committed suicide. Katie knows she must retrace Mia’s steps, using her sister’s travel journal to find out what really happened. The girls’ last phone conversation had turned into a vicious argument, and Katie is devastated by grief and guilt.

So she leaves behind her baffled fiancé, and with her sister’s backpack and travel diary, she begins her journey in Mia’s wake, trying to understand not just how her sister died, but also to feel closer to her. Katie cannot believe Mia would have killed herself.


‘A thrilling and perceptive debut that explores the complex relationship between sisters and loss at its rawest. Trust us, you won’t be able to put it down.’ Cosmopolitan

‘The Sea Sisters is one of those rare books that provokes genuine emotion and prompts you as the reader to think about your own life and relationships. I expect great things from Lucy Clarke and can’t wait for her next book.’ Keep Calm and Read a Book

  • Laura

    I am SO excited to read this book!

  • Maggie May

    My teenage daughter has bought me this for my birthday with her pocket money bless her, can’t wait to read it :)

    • http://twitter.com/lucyclarkebooks Lucy Clarke

      Hi Maggie, what a wonderful present from your daughter! Please thank her on my behalf. I do hope you enjoy The Sea Sisters. Lucy x

  • http://www.facebook.com/rachelmiller82 Rachel Miller

    Out of all the books, this is the one I’m looking forwards to reading the most. I love this genre where close and complex relationships are explored, but the story develops and suprises.

    • http://twitter.com/lucyclarkebooks Lucy Clarke

      So pleased to hear this, Rachel! Really hope you enjoy the novel. Lucy x

  • http://twitter.com/lucyclarkebooks Lucy Clarke

    Hello all! I’m the author of The Sea Sisters, and I’m SO thrilled it’s been picked as a Richard & Judy Summer Book Club choice! I plan to check in here as often as possible and chat with readers and answer any questions.
    Here’s to a wonderful summer of reading!
    Lucy x

    • Jinger Kat

      looking forward to readin this

    • Maureen Mulholland

      I loved your book. Could not put it down, my favourite of the list and I have read them all. Thank you for such a delicious read. Maureen x

      • Lucy Clarke

        Thank you Maureen! What a lovely compliment, particularly because I’ve also read the entire list and know there are some wonderful reads in this summer’s book club! Thank you so much. Lucy x

  • Ruan Peat

    Okay had chosen my book from the list and sent for it, then read this one so now I have two coming! what a wonderful idea, I am looking forward to seeing how the two stories entwine.

    • http://twitter.com/lucyclarkebooks Lucy Clarke

      Hello Ruan! Did your copy of The Sea Sisters arrive? Do hope you enjoy it! Lucy x

  • Angela

    Hi Lucy. Just finished your book! Have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish, it was engaging, gripping and really just brilliant! Thanks for making my weekend such a pleasure. Angela x

    • http://twitter.com/lucyclarkebooks Lucy Clarke

      Thank you, Angela! That is SO wonderful to hear! Love that you read it in a single weekend, too. Lucy x

      • Richard Madeley

        No surprise reader Angela smashed Sea Sisters in 2 days – it’s unputdownable

        • http://twitter.com/lucyclarkebooks Lucy Clarke

          Thanks, Richard! Lovely of you to say so. I’ve just started reading Close My Eyes – and it’s having a similar effect. Not good news for my next manuscript that’s waiting on my desk!

  • Sarah

    Such a good book – showing the bond between two sisters. Recommend it highly!

    • http://twitter.com/lucyclarkebooks Lucy Clarke

      Ah, thank you, Sarah! That’s lovely. Lucy x

  • Jinger Kat

    Looking forward to reading this

  • Shelby

    Adored this book. I’m not usually a big reader, but couldn’t put this down. Fell in love with both Katie and Mia’s characters. Enjoyed every second, and my favorite book so far :) A must read!

    • http://twitter.com/lucyclarkebooks Lucy Clarke

      Hello Shelby,

      I’m so thrilled you loved The Sea Sisters! Thank you. Really wonderful to hear :) I’m reading all the R&J summer titles at the moment and have just got going on The Age of Miracles – a very beautiful story too.

      Lucy x

  • Lindsey

    Loved this book, I sped through it too in only a few days. Really compelling story. But what happened to Katie and Finn after the story ended?!

    • Lucy Clarke

      Thanks, Lindsey. Brilliant to hear you loved it. And Katie and Finn? Well, I like to think something very hopeful and very beautiful will tentatively grow…
      Lucy x

  • disqus_cLNuqbHOUv

    Hi Lucy,
    I have just finished reading Sea Siaters. It was a fantastic book. Once I started reading it had me gripped from start to finish. I had to go on the journey with the sisters.Some of the twists and events that occur are really unexpected. Its thrilling. exciting and good fun.Thanks for a great book and an emotional week of reading. Millbank reader.

    • Lucy Clarke

      What a lovely message to receive! I’m really pleased you loved it and that the story had you gripped. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

      Lucy x

  • Sarah Louise Turner-Daffern

    hello lucy just finished your book and i loved it from begining to end. well done x

    • Lucy Clarke

      Hoorah! Loved hearing this! Thanks so much Sarah.
      Lucy x

  • Lynnsay

    Thank you Lucy for writing such a wonderful book, complete escapism and enjoyment. Sad to finish it!

    • Lucy Clarke

      Thanks, Lynnsay! Wonderful to hear you enjoyed it! Lucy x

  • Eva Le Bon

    There’s sunlight on the water with this summery read. Never far away from the sea in heart, the Sea Sisters like mermaids searching for that single shell they need to complete their story, keep on struggling to be understood, to understand and know the truth.
    What a whimsical story, for Mia, for Katie, for you, for me!

    • Lucy Clarke

      What a lovely note, Eva.Love the image of the sisters as mermaids searching for a single shell…
      Lucy x
      PS The protagonist in my next novel is called Eva. Beautiful name!

  • claire c

    Hi lucy ive just finished the sea sisters and I just wanted to say what a fantastic read.
    Brilliant for a first book. You should be very proud of yourself. I couldnt put it down.

    • Lucy Clarke

      That’s a great message to start the week with! Thank you, Claire. I’m really pleased you enjoyed it :)
      Lucy x

  • christine keen

    hi this is another great book ive finished in 2 days i couldnt put it down fantastic story and ive recommended it to others and forwarded my copy onto my friend who also loved it and read it within 2 days, fantastic read 5 stars xxx

    • Lucy Clarke

      Wonderful to hear, Christine. Brilliant that you read it so quickly – and so kind of you to recommend to your friends.
      Lucy x

  • Helen

    Lucy –
    Finished ‘The Sea Sisters’ in a day – could not put it down! Writing about it in my A Level English coursework, too! One of my favourite books, I love it! X

    • Lucy Clarke

      Hi Helen,

      Lovely to hear that you couldn’t put it down AND that you’re writing about it for A Level! That’s brilliant. Hope you get a fantastic mark for your coursework :)

      Lucy x

  • Sarah-Jane Suddell

    Great read really enjoyed it

  • Lucy Clarke

    From 8-9pm tonight (Wednesday 24 July), I’m going to be doing a live Q&A right here about my debut novel, The Sea Sisters. If you have any questions for me, or simply want to share your thoughts about The Sea Sisters, then please post them below.

    Hope to see you here this evening!
    Lucy Clarke x

    • tommy

      Hi Lucy – My wife and I absolutely loved reading your book but I must confess to falling in love with Mia! Sadly, she seemed a troubled soul. How do you go about framing a character such as her – do parts come from personal experience or from people you know? We both got swept away, thanks for writing such a brilliant novel. :)

      • Lucy Clarke

        Hi Tommy,

        Thank you :) So lovely to hear! Mia is one of my favourite characters, too. I think all of the characters I write do have some small traits or shades of me within them, and they are also influenced by people I know too. I think this happens sub-consciously as it helps bring an authenticity to a character.

        Lucy x

    • Sarah J

      hi. A wonderful read and inspiration to me to see some of the places that katie and mia visited. Tell me, where was the location in the book that you felt most passionate about. And do you need to love a place to write about it?

      • Lucy Clarke

        Hi Sarah,

        I really loved visiting all the settings within the novel, but I think my favourite place was probably Maui. I spent two months there windsurfing, hiking, paddleboarding and generally just enjoying beach life, which the Hawaiians know how to do so well!

        Lucy x

  • Felicity Allegri

    What’s the best/worst things about being an author?

    • Lucy Clarke

      Hi Felicity,

      I think the worst thing is just the struggle of trying to get published! It has taken me several years to finally get a book deal – and there have been plenty of rejection letters received along the way, and plenty of tears!

      I think the best thing is this word: freedom. I love having the absolute freedom to create something – whatever I want it to be. The beauty of looking at a blank notebook and thinking it could be the foundation of a novel one day is, for me, hugely exciting. That’s the best thing!

      Lucy x

  • Lucy Clarke

    Good evening, all! I’m going to be here for the next hour answering any questions you may have about The Sea Sisters, being a debut author, or what it was like meeting the lovely Richard and Judy in person :)

    Lucy x

  • Simon

    Hi Lucy – Can you tell us anything about what you are working on now?

    • Lucy Clarke

      Hi Simon,

      I’m currently editing my second novel, which is set on a remote and wildly beautiful island off the coast of Tasmania where I’ve spent the past two
      winters researching. It is the story of a recently widowed young woman, who travels to Tasmania to meet her late-husband’s family. Isolated on the shores of the island, she begins to uncover disturbing details about her husband, causing her to question both who he really was and the nature of his death . . .

      The book is due out in April 2014, published by HarperCollins. We’re still working* on a title…

      Lucy x

      *arguing over!

      • Simon

        Excellent – I will look forward to it. Can I also ask what it was like to become part of the Book Club and talk to Richard and Judy about your book?

        • Lucy Clarke

          It was SO exciting to be told that The Sea Sisters had been selected for the Book Club. I was in the Philippines at the time and couldn’t stop grinning for the rest of the trip – although I had to keep it a secret for two months until the list was announced.

          I loved meeting Richard and Judy in person when I returned to the UK; they were utterly lovely. It was surreal sitting on the sofa with them both chatting about books and hearing them talk about the characters in The Sea Sisters. Definitely a favourite moment of my summer!
          Lucy x

  • Pete Tomes

    Love the book by the way – completely inspirational. Makes me want to up sticks and get out of London right now!

    My question/s for you:
    How did you actually get into writing? Has it always been a dream of yours? I understand it’s a really hard profession to get into…how have you found it so far?

    • Lucy Clarke

      Thank you, Pete! Yes, you’re right to say writing can be a tricky profession to get into. I decided I wanted to be a novelist when I was 23 and it took until I was 30 to sign my first book deal. I ran a business at the same time to support myself financially, so I’d often be writing on weekends and evenings, trying to squeeze it into any free time I could. It was tough committing so much energy to it – particularly when I was getting lots of rejections – but I kept at it, and I’m SO pleased I did, as it was a wonderful feeling to hear that The Sea Sisters had been bought by HarperCollins!
      Lucy x

  • Felicity Allegri

    Hi Lucy, I think you’re proof that perseverance pays off and we should all strive to do the things that make us happy and contented.

    Another quick question in the Sea Sisters you describe in great detail many exotic places, Bali and Hawaii to name a few. How do you manage to describe these places in such detail and successfully transport the reader there? Plus what are the vital ingredients when selecting destination to be a setting for a story line? Sorry maybe not such a quick question!

    • Lucy Clarke

      I love this question! All the settings within the novel are places I’ve visited. My husband and I spend as much of each winter as we can abroad and whenever we’re away I keep a travel journal. My journals are much like Mia’s in that they’re written by hand, usually with strange doodles filling the margins, or pieces of memorabilia tucked into empty corners. I get a lot of pleasure from keeping a journal, but they’re also wonderful research tools when I’m back home in the UK and writing about far-flung places.

      In terms of selecting a destination for a story line, it usually has to be a place that I’ve fallen in love with as I know I’m going to be ‘living’ there (in my head at least) for the next year or so!

      Lucy x

  • kbabble

    Finished the sea sisters last night, read it over two days. No housework got done this weekend! Absolutely loved it x

    • Lucy Clarke

      Thank you! Sorry for my slow reply – I’ve only just seen your message. Hurrah to reading rather than housework. I salute that! Lucy x

  • Cazza

    I adored this book. I started it last night and finished it this afternoon, sneaking reads while my toddler was otherwise engaged playing! I simply couldn’t put it down. For me the biggest disappointment is that it wasn’t crowned winner of this book club. Hands down its the best book of the lot, the best read of my year by far!

    • Lucy Clarke

      Ah, that’s so lovely of you! I’m really thrilled to hear this. I’ve been at my desk all weekend editing my next book, so your message has given me a wonderful burst of motivation! Thank you!
      Lucy x

  • Laura Hatton

    I really, really loved this book. As an extensive traveller myself it was lovely to read through all the tails of her travels. Also, having 2 sisters who I am very close to I found I could really relate to this story and couldn’t put it down.
    The only part that disappointed me was the ending, found it very unrealistic and rushed but mainly because I didn’t want it to end!