Bookshelf spotlight: To the Sea

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been on a kick to read more New Zealand fiction, so I already had a copy of To the Sea by Nikki Crutchley when it was picked for book club.

Iluka has been the only home that Ana has ever known. The beautiful wild pine plantation overlooking the Pacific Ocean, where her grandfather builds furniture, her aunt runs an artists’ retreat and her uncle tends the land, is paradise, a private idyll safe from the outside world.

But the place holds a violent secret and when a stranger arrives, Ana will need to make a choice: protect everything – and everyone – she holds dear or tell the truth and destroy it all.

This is an interesting story. It’s of a harsh, twisted and violent man who keeps his family away from the town, where he can watch and rule over everything. He has built this cult-like environment, and brainwashed his children and grandchildren into thinking that the land they live on is more important than anything, and they can (and will) accept anything to live there. And that is just the surface – there is a lot more beneath.

The opening scene is one of the most disturbing opening scenes I have read in a long time. And it sets the tone for the entire novel. There were times I thought “Why?!” to actions in the book – this isn’t a bad thing, I was supposed to. And I found myself ruminating on events for several days after I finished it.


  1. i enjoyed this book. glad you lend it to me to read. i have since read her other novel ‘Nothing Bad Happens Here’, that one i enjoyed too.


  2. i haven’t read her first novel either but that’s my next one of her i’ll read. and her new one looks really good too. glad you introduced me to this author. really enjoy her books


    • Ah, I was thinking the one you mentioned was her first. I’ll have to look for the earlier two. So far, I have only read that one. Next Monday I’ll introduce you to another NZ author 🙂


      • oh awesome, looking forward to another NZ author. Nikki’s first novel is ‘No One Can Hear You’ the one i just finished ‘Nothing Bad Happens Here’ is actually part of her Miller Hatcher series, so there is actually another one called ‘The Murder Club” after that one.


      • Thanks. Will look them out. If I can’t find them I’ll ask one of the members in my book club – who knows her 🙂


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