Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Far Side of the Sea by Paula Scott

Posted January 9, 2017 by meezcarrie in Christian, giveaway, historical, Paula Scott / 25 Comments

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about the book

A woman running from God. And the man she desperately loves. Because of the lies she believes.

Taken from her conquered Californio family during the 1846 Mexican-American War to be forced into marriage with a Yankee she despises, proud Spanish beauty, Maria Vasquez, draws a knife, and begins her journey to the far side of the sea. She will flee to Valparaiso, Boston, and finally San Francisco trying to forget the blood on her hands, only to find it is blood that will save her.

Dashing American ship captain, Dominic Mason, will win Maria’s heart, but shatter it when he rejects her for another, setting her on a journey back to San Francisco. There she discovers her heart can never be conquered, it must only be surrendered, not just to the man she loves, but to the God who will never let her go.

Captain Dominic Mason knows how to fulfill his duties. He’s living for God and country, determined to obey the Almighty and help bring California into the Union. Yet death and the devil’s deception will rob him of all he holds dear in San Francisco.

As California rises to statehood amid the madness of the gold rush, men will die for gold and for Maria. Will she ever escape the darkness that enslaves her in San Francisco and discover the everlasting light and love she so longs for? Far Side of the Sea is the second book in the California Rising trilogy.

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SERIES:  California Rising #2
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Fiction
PUBLISHER: West Butte Publishing
RELEASE DATE: December 19, 2016
PAGES: 323

Other Books In This Series

“If I make my bed in hell, You are there…”


I am still processing all the emotions and thoughts I have about Far Side of the Sea. This book completely undid me, and so I offer this fair warning to you, my readers: Don’t expect to finish this book the same person you were when you started it.

Maria’s story is not an easy one to read. It’s raw and painful and there are moments you may need to set it down for a bit and come back to it. But oh my goodness, what a beautiful message waits for those of us who walk this journey with Maria from beginning to end.

“You are more than your scar, Maria. More than what’s been done to you and what you’ve done in the past.”

Far Side of the Sea hits you with a gut punch right off the bat, a heartbreaking (but discreet) scene that steals Maria’s innocence both physically and spiritually. Even as she reconnects with Dominic and longs for him to be free to love her, she begins to believe the lies whispered to her soul.  Her path to true love  – and the Truest Love – becomes marked by pitfalls and anguish, mostly caused by her own decisions. Decisions colored by those lies she’s listened to. Lies which grow louder and more painful as each choice pulls her further away from those who love her the most. A vicious cycle all too common in our world today as well.

Dom hates what has been done to Maria, and his complicated feelings for her cause him to be fiercely protective of her. He is not free to marry her, however, and I really appreciated how the author addressed this realistically. He had to make tough choices, but once he made them he stuck with them. Including his decision to love Maria unconditionally when she needed it the most. Oh, my friends, this representation of Jesus’ love for us is tender and full of grace. It also reminded me so often of the beauty of Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love.

The tie-in to Psalm 139 in Maria’s life is perhaps my favorite part of Far Side of the Sea. Watching her, from the literal bed she has made in a figurative hell, work through the truth that God is with us even there. That is mercy. And absolutely, that is redemption.

Bottom Line: Far Side of the Sea by Paula Scott is a novel steeped in grace and sacrificial love, despite the scenes that may be difficult to read. It is more than a romance; it is a story of the most tender redemption, the sweetest rescue, and the most profound truth. And in the midst of all of that, there are lines like this, “He kissed her like this was his last kiss. Like she was the end and yet the beginning of everything he knewand I sigh blissfully around my tears. This is not a novel I will forget anytime soon.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

Reviewer’s Note:  This novel does contain a discreetly written rape scene as well as references to abuse. 

My Rating: 4 stars / Riveting and redemptive

KissingBook Level: 4 / Dominic & Maria together are …. wow.

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about the author

Paula began her writing career as a civilian contracted to write for the United States Air Force’s newspaper and magazines. Later, she wrote feature stories for a daily California newspaper. A fifth generation Californian, Paula’s great great grandmother came to California in a covered wagon and married a California farmer. Paula’s family has been farming ever since. Paula works on her family’s farm, writes historical fiction, and blogs about life, love, and farming at

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Paula is giving away a signed paperback copy of Far Side of the Sea to one of my readers. Comment on this post and then head over to my interview with Paula to claim 5 extra entries!

What about you? What is a truth from God’s Word you use to combat the devil’s lies?

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25 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Far Side of the Sea by Paula Scott

  1. carylkane

    One of my favorite scriptures is that God is for me not against me. Thank you for the giveaway. 🙂

  2. Trixi

    I commented on the interview page! Thanks for the giveaway for a new-to-me author in a genre that is my top favorite!

    • Trixi

      OOOOPS! There was a question to answer…haha! “What is a truth from God’s Word you use to combat the devil’s lies?”, for me there’s so many! But I really like this one in Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Jesus nailed those sins to the cross so Satan can no longer condemn me when I ask for forgiveness! 🙂

  3. Winnie Thomas

    Lovely review as usual, Carrie. This book sounds fascinating. I think one truth we need to remember is that God loves us and wants us to succeed. We need to trust in him always.

  4. MH

    He will work all things for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

  5. One truth I love is my dads favorite verse, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. My 8 year old niece recently told me this was her favorite verse too. When I ask her why it was her favorite she said, ‘because it’s true.’ Oh the faith of a child!

  6. Isaiah 25:1 says, “O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For you have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.” God showed me this verse a few years ago as I was struggling intensely with postpartum depression and lies that the enemy was throwing at me. It has helped me through so much, realizing that God has plans for me, plans formed long ago, plans He formed with His perfect faithfulness. He is trustworthy and faithful to carry those plans out and to bring glory to His name through the situations I encounter in this life.

  7. In the last couple of years the revelation of what it means that Christ lives in me has transformed my life. I have stopped trying to do things in my own strength and focused on who Christ is within me, that his power and His abilities reside in me. It has given me so much peace.

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