Jane Darke loves Cornwall. It is where she raised her family with the acclaimed Cornish writer Nick Darke. The family have lived for generations on Porthcothan beach and kept the traditions of beachcombing, lobster fishing and preservation of coastal ecology alive. After Nick’s death Jane struggled with her grief, she had defined herself as a wife and mother and now she had to rediscover who she had been before her marriage and embrace the new possibilities of the life ahead of her.
After Nick’s death Jane had to find answers to the conflicting emotions of her grief – despair, confusion, panic and gratitude – and found them in what she had always shared with her husband (a love of Cornwall, the sea and a new focus to her work as an artist). Jane began to find her own place and identity in Cornwall. This is a book about intimacy, life with a partner and living within the environment around you, and the healing power of both; as well as a celebration of how we are shaped by the geography of the sea as much as the tides of a marriage.
Jane Darke is an artist, advocate for coastal ecology and filmmaker based in north Cornwall. She was awarded the Best First Film award at the Celtic Film and Television Festival for ‘The Wrecking Season’. Her film, ‘The Art of Catching Lobsters’, dealt with the death of her husband, Nick, and was described by the Daily Telegraph as “a simple touching insight into love and grief”.
“A very favourable comparison between Held by the Sea and Joan Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking… Jane mourns with the sea constantly in her sights… Anyone who knows the beaches of North Cornwall will know that they are possessed of a special kind of light, well-recognised by the Newlyn artists… somehow I sensed that ‘light’ reflected in the pages of Held by the Sea. There is grace here along with that life-saving glimmer of hope for anyone feeling that pain of loss.”
‘Dovegrey Reader blog’
“It takes a strong woman to present their grief to the world and Jane Darke does a tremendous job of it in this book. A truly emotional read that will leave you with a tear in your eye and a heart full of admiration.”