What could be more disturbing than a mother who leaves her daughters? She’s not sick, there’s no deep dark secret, she doesn’t have amnesia. One day she just walks out.

To those who’ve read Geometry of Sisters, you’ll be familiar with Pell Davis. When she and her sister Lucy are abandoned by their mother as children, their world is turned upside down. They have the world’s best dad, and for a while he holds the children together. But when he dies, Pell has to grow up almost overnight. She doesn’t pity herself, she doesn’t look back.  She strives for excellence in everything she does, she cares for Lucy with the ferocity of a mother lion. They attend boarding school in Newport, Rhode Island, and even after Pell finds a new friend on the football team, she has a single-minded plan: to find her mother.

Lyra Davis’s whereabouts are no secret—she lives in a romantic villa on Italy’s Isle of Capri. But Pell has to travel there to ask the question: why? Why did you leave? How could you have?

In a wild, rocky landscape surrounded by the deep blue sea, Pell will learn the truth about her mother. Nothing about the visit is easy, and Pell is forced to stay true to herself, to keep believing in love and goodness, to try to bring her own gifts to her mother. She’s tested in ways we’ve all been: should we stay the course or give up when it becomes impossible? Be loyal or decide to do something unexpected? And most of all, can we forgive the worst?

I hope you enjoy The Deep Blue Sea for Beginners. I’d love to know what mothers and daughters, friends and fellow readers would have to say about Lyra’s choice, and what Pell has to do to proceed in her own life.