Two If by Sea

A Novel

Two If by Sea

From Jacquelyn Mitchard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean, the “suspenseful, otherwordly, and nearly impossible to put down” (People) story about an unlikely hero whose life is transformed when he rescues a boy with an extraordinary gift.

Just hours after his wife and her entire family perish in the Christmas Eve tsunami, former police officer Frank Mercy pulls a little boy from a submerged car. Not quite knowing why, Frank doesn’t turn Ian over to the Red Cross. Instead he makes up a story about where the boy came from and takes him home, where Frank realizes that Ian has an otherworldly gift—an extraordinary ability to transform lives beyond anything he’d ever imagined. Awed and confused, Frank confesses Ian’s secret to Claudia, a beautiful champion rider who is training for the Olympics. They join together to fight the sinister forces gathering to take Ian back. In a final confrontation, Frank and Claudia will risk everything—their love, their family, their very lives—to save this boy they now love as their own son.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501115585 | 
  • March 2017
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Two If by Sea includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Jacquelyn Mitchard. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


A day after losing his wife and unborn child in a tsunami in Australia, American ex-pat Frank Mercy rescues a young boy from the floodwaters. Frank unaccountably decides to return to his family’s horse farm in Wisconsin with the boy.

Frank quickly begins to suspect that the boy—who he’s named Ian—has an extraordinary gift, but Ian has been so traumatized that he is mute. As Frank learns to be a parent to this strange child, he settles back into continuing the work he began in Australia as a trainer of elite show jumping horses. Frank meets Claudia, a young psychiatrist and champion equestrian with Olympic hopes, and she ends up as the perfect rider for Frank’s horse Glory Bee and becomes a companion for Frank. With her, Frank can share his emotional life and his concerns about Ian, as it becomes clear that keeping Ian’s gift a secret is impossible. Someone sinister is looking for Ian.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. What if there rea see more

About the Author

Jacquelyn Mitchard
Photograph by Janet Kay

Jacquelyn Mitchard

New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Mitchard has written many novels for adults, including Two If by Sea. She has also written young adult novels; children’s books; a memoir, Mother Less Child; and a collection of essays, The Rest of Us: Dispatches from the Mother Ship. Her first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, was the inaugural selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club, later adapted for a feature film starring and produced by Michelle Pfeiffer. Mitchard is the editor in chief and co-creator of Merit Press and a professor of fiction and creative nonfiction at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier. She lives on Cape Cod with her husband and their nine children.