About the Book

The River and the Sea
A Story of Forgiveness

by Julia Laughlin

The River and the Sea: A Story of Forgiveness tells the story of the thirty years it took Julia Laughlin to heal from the horrific attack she suffered at age twenty-one, when she was raped, beaten, and tortured by a serial killer. The River and the Sea recounts the inspiring story of Julia’s survival—not only of the brutal rape and its aftermath, but also her tenacious struggle to find her way to heal. Writing with candor and at times with brutal honesty, Julia grapples with how the attack affected her as a mother and the legacy it left on her daughter, whose fierce love would send her on a quest to the bottom of the world to seek out a final, desperate reckoning with her past.

Julia’s story takes place on the shores of the Tasman Sea in New Zealand, where she spent a tumultuous five weeks reflecting, reliving, and writing her way through the swirling currents of thirty years of deep pain and solitary hope. The River and the Sea is the culmination of what brought her to healing—reaching forgiveness not only for the perpetrator, but for herself too.