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 The Sea Around Them


The Sea Around Them

Through lingering winters and brief summers, the surrounding sea claims sovereignty, isolating the tiny archipelago of Saint Pierre and Miquelon. Here, the Baffin Current carries freezing waters, sometimes icebergs, around the southern tip of Newfoundland to seal off the islands in winter.

And in summer the cold waters, still carrying a rumor of arctic ice, merge with warmer waters to enshroud the islands in fog. At all times these islands are subject to the cadence of seawater respirating at its shores, sloshing on the pebbled beaches, wheezing among the rocks. Land life here is not numerous; whatever is alive is cherished and invites comment.

Whether by ice or by fog – or by its vastness and its brew of storms – the sea ensures the utter seclusion of the islands.

And their loneliness.

From the novel


In the early days of World War II Saint Pierre and Miquelon – a tiny French archipelago twelve miles off the southern tip of Newfoundland – suffers mightily under Vichy rule.

The little freighter Le Celte – which, several times a year, had delivered much-desired goods from France to ease the sense of separation of the island inhabitants – is no longer able to make it through submarine-infested waters, leaving the citizens in desparate need of liberation.

None more so than Adrienne who, married to an abusive husband, falls in love with another man with whom she hopes to escape to France after the war. But a secret she carries threatens to destroy everything.

... And young Marie-Lisette who dreams of far-off places and adventures ... then faces a real wartime adventure for which she will need uncommon courage.

... And Jerome who, alone among the islanders, hopes never to hear from France again for fear his one lapse of courage during World War I will be exposed, a courage that will be tested anew if he is to save those he holds most dear.

Loosely based on actual events during World War II, The Sea Around Them is a story of people fighting for redemption and liberation in a remote part of the world, battered by an ice-laden sea, a forbidding place that Gautreau captures beautifully ...

... and it’s a story of the magic that can happen when the Northern Lights dance in the night sky.

Praise for The Sea Around Them

"A sequel is needed... no, it is required! This small volume, The Sea Around Them, contains the lives of compelling people and an unusual and very real small community on the North American continent. These are people I found myself either rooting for or desperately wanting them to meet their comeuppance. I want to know what happens to Marie-Lisette and her friend from another country. Will she attain her dreams or is her future with someone in her community? What happens to Adrienne and the dangerous route she is taking? I was sorry to have reached the last page, because I want to know MORE about these people. Please write a sequel."

Reader Review

Past Praise for Norm Gautreau

"[Gautreau] has a strong eye for detailed atmosphere... the characters are wonderfully rendered."

Publishers Weekly

“[He] perfectly captures [the] struggle with the elements as a way of life, the fury and the bounty of the ocean and the tough, basically good-hearted folk who understand life at its most basic ... core.”

“Characters, both major and minor, are vividly drawn ...” 

 Library Journal