Book Review: A Year By The Sea by Joan Anderson

Posted On: December 11, 2016

When I picked up A Year By The Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson, I knew intuitively this was not a book I wanted to rush through. Published in 1999 and one of top 10 inspirational bestsellers on the New York Times, I savored it slowly and was better for it.

A Year By The Sea by Joan AndersonBased on her own life, Joan Anderson was a loving wife and supportive mother who had slowly and unconsciously replaced her own dreams with the needs of her family. With her sons grown, she recognized that her family no longer centered on the home and that her relationship with her husband had grown stagnant.

Feeling like the best part of her life was over, she decided to retreat to the family cottage on Cape Cod by herself, hence her year by the sea. Through the period, she realized that her life was “unfinished” and she came to rediscover herself and infused new passion into her marriage.

Though I am not an older woman, I am woman who is getting older. I’ve had my share of love and heart-breaks; break-ups and new beginnings; ups and downs; as well as failures and successes (by the standards of society). I’ve been told I was an old soul more times than I can count, and felt I was that for as long as I can remember.

I work with older clients who have expressed their insecurities and fears about aging – and the impact on their sexuality. I have often wondered what I’d be like when I am physically old. A book like A Year by the Sea gives me hope. We go through different phases in our life. The more we are prepared, the better we adjust to it; and embrace it. I would recommend this book to the reflective person (not just women) on aging, and as a reminder of the resilience of the human spirit.

Who is Martha?

Dr. Martha Tara Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. She is a certified sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality. She provides sexuality and relationship coaching for individuals and couples, conducts sexual education workshops and speaks at public events. She is the author of the books Love, Sex and Everything In-Between, and Orgasmic Yoga. She is also the host of the weekly radio show Eros Evolution on OMTimes Radio. For more, visit or email

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