The Education of Sebastian (The Education of… #1) by Jane Harvey-Berrick

The Education of Sebastian (The Education of..., #1)

From goodreads: A friendship between the lost and lonely Caroline, and the unhappy Sebastian, leads to an illicit love that threatens them both.
Caroline Wilson is trapped in a cold and loveless marriage with an older man. When her husband finally wins a long sought-after promotion, Caroline feels she has little choice but to follow him to a new home in San Diego. There she meets Sebastian, a young man of 17. 
For an all too brief summer, their happiness blooms. 
But external pressures begin to bear down, not least from the overbearing David, and Sebastian’s parents begin to suspect that their son has a secret. Even Caroline’s new friend, Donna, realises that dark passions exist below the serene surface.

I was drawn to The Education of Sebastian because of the 13 year age gap between Caroline and Sebastian and it was so refreshing to see that for once the roles were reversed.  This is an incredibly moving story about choices and how those choices will impact us for years to come, if not for an entire lifetime.  This is a thought-provoking story that poses the question of several “what ifs”.

“I chose love over law. And I didn’t care.”

Caroline was a heroine I easily identified with because her insecurities are the insecurities of many women that was voiced in a non-whiny fashion which I absolutely applauded throughout the entire story! She’s a mixture of a domestic goddess and an intellectual trapped by the choices she made as a young woman.  One word: lonely.  Until she reunites with a boy she once knew, Sebastian, but he’s not a boy any longer…he’s a young man who is 17 years old! How could Caroline not fall in love with him, he was gentle, pure of heart, full of optimism and not entirely jaded by life.

“What do you think I’ve got here that I wouldn’t give up in a heartbeat to be with you? There’s nothing to keep me here: I’ll go anywhere, do anything to be with you.”

Their affair is intense and their love for one another is unyielding.  Truth be told, it stressed me out because I worried they would be caught at every turn.  Although I wanted more cat-and-mouse because I did think they were able to see each other way too easily and that was my only call-out about the story.

“It’s always been you, Caro. The first time I saw you, I thought you were the most beautiful girl that I’d ever seen. I thought you must be a princess like Cinderella. It’s only ever been you.”

During their time together they teach each other about love and through this process, Sebastian awakens something within Caroline.  He gives her clarity about life and love.  It was the jolt she needed in order to make some tough decisions and through this epiphany, the drama and angst kicks into high-gear!

“Contemplating leaving everything I had ever known of one ill-advised hour of passionate lunacy.”

A beautifully written story about forbidden love!  If you are worried about the age gap, don’t be because you will get lost in everything that is Caroline and Sebastian! ;)



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