Feeling the summer heat? Whether or not you can actually escape to a far off beach, these novels set at sea will help keep you cool and escape your summer doldrums, regardless of your preferred genre.

For Those Looking for Wartime Grit and Endurance

Novels at Sea | Librarian List

The Cruel Sea

By Nicholas Monsarrat

A powerful novel of the north Atlantic in World War II, this is the story of the British ships Compass Rose and Saltash and their desperate cat-and-mouse game with Nazi U-boats. First published to great acclaim in 1951, The Cruel Sea remains a classic novel of courage and daring.

For Those Looking for a Little Mystery on the High Seas

Novels at Sea | Librarian List

The Devil and the Dark Water

By Stuart Turton

A murder on the high seas. A detective duo. A demon who may or may not exist. Curious yet?

For Those Looking for Beautiful Writing and Something That Might Make You Cry Just a Little

Novels at Sea | Librarian List

The Light Between Oceans

By M.L. Stedman

Let’s face it—any story involving a childless couple, a lighthouse, and a baby that washes ashore may have tears involved. Reviewers tend to start using words like “mesmerizing” and “beautiful” when describing the novel, so if you’re in the mood for high emotions and gorgeous writing, look no further.

For Those Looking to Find Love Somewhere across the Waves

Novels at Sea | Librarian List

Float Plan

By Trish Doller

Since the loss of her fiancé, Anna has been shipwrecked by grief—until a reminder goes off about a trip they were supposed to take together. Impulsively, Anna goes to sea in their sailboat, intending to complete the voyage alone.

But after a treacherous night’s sail, she realizes she can’t do it by herself and hires Keane, a professional sailor, to help. Much like Anna, Keane is struggling with a very different future than the one he had planned. As romance rises with the tide, they discover that it’s never too late to chart a new course.

For Those Looking to be Lost at Sea in a 20-Volume Historical Epic

Novels at Sea | Librarian List

Master and Commander

By Patrick O’Brian

If you’re looking for a 20-volume commitment, Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander is a most excellent place to start. The novels follow daring Captain Jack Aubrey and ship surgeon and intelligence agent Stephen Maturin as they navigate danger and intrigue in the 19th century British Navy. Aubrey and Maturin have been called one of the most enduring friendships in literature, and you’ll likely agree, once you’ve read the whole series.

For Those Looking to Try a Piece of Classic Literature

Novels at Sea | Librarian List

The Old Man and the Sea

By Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway’s last novel published in his lifetime, The Old Man and the Sea was the book that finally gained Hemingway worldwide recognition and was cited in both his Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize. The plight of Santiago, an old fisherman who’s caught more than he can handle, is unlikely to leave any usually stoic man completely dry-eyed.

For Those Looking for Something a Little Strange

Novels at Sea | Librarian List

Life of Pi

By Yann Martel

The young Pi Patel finds himself lost at sea in a tiny boat with a very large tiger for a companion. Things get weird. Don’t let anyone ruin the ending for you!

For Those Looking for Loneliness, Madness, and some Homoeroticism

Novels at Sea | Librarian List

The Lighthouse


Bonus Entry! A movie to give you a break between novels.

Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s. Just watch the trailer and try to resist it.

Written by Anthony, Library Division Manager

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