Book Review – The Education of Sebastian by Jane Harvey-Berrick

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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.



4-StarsCaroline Venzi Wilson is married to David Wilson a US Navy medical officer who is 11 years older than her. She was 17 when they met and he swept her off her feet, he was very sophisticated and to a girl like her from nowhere who had seen nothing, he was a great catch. At the very young of 19 she found herself a bride. She thought her life would change for the better and she had high hopes for the future. After sometime she realized he was not the man she assumed he was, he hated the way she dressed, the way she spoke, what she spoke about and the things that interested her to speak about. So she wore the clothes he liked and kept her mouth shut…..a slow descent into silence and misery. The sex was desultory and uninspiring, and extremely dull. After two years of marriage, David was transferred to a Naval Base Medical Center in San Diego and he wanted her to be friends with the wife of his new CO. She found the woman to be everything she was not, poised, charming, perfect. She was also cold, controlling, and a snob, Caroline loathed her, the feeling mutual. This was how she met Sebastian he was 8 and Caroline was 21. They developed a special friendship she pitied the child because of who his parent’s were, feeling some kinship with his loneliness. Between the two arose a sweet and gentle friendship, he came over to her home after school where they discussed children’s books, she make him alcohol-free limoncello. Caroline also introduced Sebastian to her father when he came to visit. After some time David informed her he’d been assigned to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina they would move again, both she and Sebastian were devastated.

Years later Caroline and David returned to San Diego, Caroline was not happy that she had to move yet again. She had friends and a job she loved in North Carolina. She was 30 at this time and at this age her world view had shifted and she was somewhat surprised to find herself still married. One sunny day while Caroline was sitting on the beach fate happened and she was re-intruded to the handsome and young Sebastian Hunter, who was seventeen years old now.

For the most part Sebastian was pretty mature for his age he had to grow up quickly with the kind of parents he had, they very really paid attention to him and his father was extremely controlling, no love was shown to Sebastian. Yes there were times when his youthfulness came through, he would sulk or his unexpected anger would flare up. My heart broke for him he was a very unhappy young man, until Caroline came back into his life.

“You’ve given me back my self-esteem and you’ve given me love. You’ve given me yourself. There’s nothing else I want.”

The relationship between Caroline and Sebastian occurred because of Caroline’s unhappy marriage and Sebastian’s awful family life. Caroline was in a loveless and lonely marriage, they had grown apart, he treated her as his maid, she cooked, cleaned and occasional had sex with her, if you wanted to call it sex. He was cold and demeaning towards her, why she stayed with him for so many years is beyond me. Yes Caroline was naïve and married did it make it right for what she did. We all want to be loved, and have happiness in our life, we have no control over what the heart wants and feels. Sebastian awakened her, told her to live out her dreams as a writer, and showed her how to love. Some people may not agree with this kind of love. Should she have waited for Sebastian to turn 18 it was only four months away, like I said before we have no control over what the heart wants. Unfortunately life can be pretty shitty sometimes and throw you a curve ball, you end paying a huge price for your summer romance.

“You want honesty? Well, answer this is: if I was 25 and you were 38, would we still be having this conversation? “

“I feel so incredibly happy, like the world is worth it after all. I know how rare that is. I’ve see how rare that is. Don’t dismiss how I feel because I’m younger than you. You’re beautiful and kind and talented and you have a gift….people are drawn to you and you don’t even see. It’s just one thing I love about you. “

The Education of Sebastian is about love, bliss, hope, fear, and recklessness. A summer romance/love that started out beautiful and ended tragic. I thoroughly enjoyed this story I loved the reference’s it made about the Italian heritage, being Italian myself brought back some great memories. Some may not enjoy this book because of the story line and age difference. I suggest to give it a chance it may just surprise you and change your mind.

I’m currently reading the second one The Education of Caroline and it’s even better than the first one.

“Despite what happened that day, despite what happened later, I can’t bring myself to regret the events of that summer, because Sebastian taught me how to love.”