Read an #extract from The Woman Beyond the Sea by Sarit Yishai-Levi | @FMcMAssociates @AmazonPub

Today I’m sharing an extract from a fantastic sounding piece of international fiction. The Woman Beyond the Sea is by Israeli author Sarit Yishai-Levi and translated by Gilah Kahn-Hoffmann. It will be published by Amazon Crossing tomorrow, 21st March. Make sure you check out the posts by other bloggers on the tour – details at the end. Thanks to Katya at FMcM Associates for sending me a copy and to Kashmini for the support with the extract. You can order a copy of the book here: The Woman Beyond the Sea

Read an extract from Chapter One

Enveloped in layers of sweaters, a sheepskin coat, and a scarf and hat, I hurried into the warm embrace of the corner café, Café la Rivière. It was nearly empty, with tiny candles flickering on the tables. Only those overwhelmed by loneliness had ventured into the fierce cold. It was hot in there, a pleasant warmth, just right. I sat at the table by the window, and rather than hang the pile of sweaters, scarf, hat, gloves, and long coat on the hooks by the entrance, as most people did, I piled them on the empty chair beside me.

Even though it was situated in the heart of the Latin Quarter, Café la Rivière wasn’t the kind of place that attracted the casual tourist. It was a small neighborhood establishment serving unpretentious, traditional French food. I didn’t need the menu. I knew exactly what I wanted to order—croque madame, a slice of ham and slice of cheese sandwiched between two pieces of toast and topped with a poached egg. I also ordered a glass of red wine, which the waiter delivered right away. While the croque madame was being assembled, I settled into my upholstered chair, stared out the window, and asked myself for the thousandth time, What the hell was I doing in Paris again? Why was I sitting in the café where my life had been ruined? Why had my legs carried me to the place where my heart had been broken into a thousand pieces? What was I looking for? I already had all the answers. Ari had supplied them fully. He had responded to every one of my questions, sinking the knife into me until it drew blood.

“Better this way,” he’d said at the time. The whole truth on the table, nothing hidden, no lies, no excuses, and no apologies, a direct blow to the face, the heart, the soft underbelly. He didn’t love me anymore, he said with icy simplicity. He’d fallen in love with another woman, a petite Parisian with green eyes and chestnut hair. He took care to provide a detailed description, as if I had never met the bitch myself.

She was the reason he’d moved to Paris. That was why he hadn’t called me for weeks at a time, claiming he was staying at a cheap hotel that didn’t have a phone. She was the reason I could count on one hand the number of times we had slept together during the previous months when he’d returned to Israel. The reason he’d weaned himself of his habit of dropping off to sleep with my nipple in his mouth, had turned his back to me in bed, claiming that he was tired, troubled, wrecked.

Exactly one year ago I’d sat here, facing him, in Café la Rivière, the realization trickling into me that the world as I knew it would never be the same. My body seemed to sag, as though the life force were draining from me, and I wondered if that was how it felt to die. I stared at Ari. I didn’t really hear his voice, smell his familiar scent of aftershave and cigarettes, didn’t even really see his short, lean body or his mane of brown hair or his dark narrow eyes. I only watched his mouth moving. Then he stood up abruptly, leaned over, brushed his lips against my cheeks, tossed some money on the table, and was gone.

I sat frozen in my chair, trying to reconstruct what had landed on my head like hammer blows. He doesn’t love me. He loves another woman. A Parisian, fine boned and delicate, with big eyes and a small chest. I had come to Paris to surprise my husband, my love, but in the end, it was he who surprised me.

During the final year of our life together, he’d taken more and more trips to Paris. I’d asked to join him. I wanted to be with the man I loved in the most romantic city on earth. I dreamed of wandering with him where Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald had roamed and written great books after the First World War. I wanted to see where they had lived, sit in the cafés where they’d sat, and I didn’t stop asking until he finally relented, on condition that my father bought my ticket.

 “Just don’t get the wrong idea,” he warned. “You’re not going to come with me every time I go to Paris.” And I agreed.

Excerpted from The Woman Beyond the Sea © 2023 by Sarit Yishai-Levi. Translation © 2023 by Gilah Kahn-Hoffmann. Reproduced by permission of Amazon Crossing, An Imprint of Amazon Publishing. All rights reserved.

About the book

An immersive historical tale spanning the life stories of three women, The Woman Beyond the Sea traces the paths of a daughter, mother, and grandmother who lead entirely separate lives, until finally their stories and their hearts are joined together. 

Eliya thinks that she’s finally found true love and passion with her charismatic and demanding husband, an aspiring novelist—until he ends their relationship in a Paris café, spurring her suicide attempt. Seeking to heal herself, Eliya is compelled to piece together the jagged shards of her life and history.

Eliya’s heart-wrenching journey leads her to a profound and unexpected love, renewed family ties, and a reconciliation with her orphaned mother, Lily. Together, the two women embark on a quest to discover the truth about themselves and Lily’s own origins…and the unknown woman who set their stories in motion one Christmas Eve. 

About the Author

Sarit Yishai-Levi is a renowned Israeli journalist and author. In 2016 she published her first book, The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem. It immediately became a bestseller and garnered critical acclaim. The book sold more than three hundred thousand copies in Israel, was translated into ten languages, and was adapted into a Netflix TV series that won the Israeli TV award for best drama series. Yishai-Levi was born in Jerusalem to a Sephardic family that has lived in the city for eight generations. She’s been living with her family in Tel Aviv since 1970. 

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