When Matt Myers decides to spend the summer with his mother at the Shell House, he little guesses that he is about to step into the minefield of his family's past and recent history.
Anne Church, a young Victorian; Matt, art student; Hazel Myers, his mother; malacologist and parasitologist, Elizabeth Wilson: their stories - of obsessional loves and conflicting beliefs - are inextricably linked with each other and with the life and tragic death of Victorian evangelist Emily Gosse, wife of the naturalist Philip Henry Gosse.
Seaside Pleasures ranges across time and geography, from Victorian Scotland to Africa in the 1960s and present-day England; the boundaries between fiction and fact become blurred, as the separate lives are woven together by the themes of shells and snails, science and religion, love and death - and the sea.
'Ann Lingard has written a thoughtful, compelling story . . . a very human account. The book is a rock pool in itself, concealing seaside secrets as well as pleasures deep beneath the surface.' - North Devon Journal
'A clever balance . . . that blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction.' - Oxford Times