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Thursday, September 7, 2017

REVIEW: Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge @huckelbridge @stmartinspress

Castle of Water
by Dane Huckelbridge
St. Martin's Press

Goodreads Synopsis:

Two very different people, one very small island.

For Sophie Ducel, her honeymoon in French Polynesia was intended as a celebration of life. The proud owner of a thriving Parisian architecture firm, co-founded with her brilliant new husband, Sophie had much to look forward to—including a visit to the island home of her favorite singer, Jacques Brel.

For Barry Bleecker, the same trip was meant to mark a new beginning. Turning away from his dreary existence in Manhattan finance, Barry had set his sights on fine art, seeking creative inspiration on the other side of the world—just like his idol, Paul Gauguin.

But when their small plane is downed in the middle of the South Pacific, the sole survivors of the wreck are left with one common goal: to survive. Stranded hundreds of miles from civilization, on an island the size of a large city block, the two castaways must reconcile their differences and learn to draw on one another's strengths if they are to have any hope of making it home.

Told in mesmerizing prose, with charm and rhythm entirely its own, Castle of Water is more than just a reimagining of the classic castaway story. It is a stirring reflection on love’s restorative potential, as well as a poignant reminder that home—be it a flat in Paris, a New York apartment, or a desolate atoll a world away—is where the heart is.

About the Author:

Dane Huckelbridge was born and raised in the American Middle West. He holds a degree from Princeton University, and his fiction and essays have appeared in a variety of journals, including Tin House, The New Delta Review, F(r)iction, and The New Republic. CASTLE OF WATER is his first novel, although he has also authored two historical works on American whiskey and beer, respectively. He lives with his wife in Paris, France, and New York City.

My Review:

Barry and Sophie are the sole survivors of a small plane crash.  Due to some shady decisions by the pilot, they are completely off course and stranded on a small island with little to no hope of ever being found.  Clashing personalities make for hard living in such close quarters and soon they must work together in order to survive.  

I absolutely love the author's writing style.  I felt like I was sitting with someone over a glass of fine whiskey and being told a story.  It took me until about page 140 to get fully invested in the story, however.  The scene with Balthazar (anyone else think of Cole on Charmed when they saw this name??😂) made me actually laugh out loud and from that point forward I was fully invested in Sophie and Barry's relationship, resourcefulness and their interactions.  Thoroughly impressed with this writer and this being his debut novel.  His prose is extraordinary, the setting of the scenes were outstanding and I felt like I was stranded with them for the most part.  

I would highly recommend this to anyone as a refreshing read and take on the stranded on an island theme.  With bits of humor and loads of humanity throughout, a compelling read for those who love contemporary fiction.

Here is why it's not a 5 star rating though.... SPOILERS AHEAD - STOP NOW IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK!!


The beginning of the book starts off great - but I felt it was a bit inundated with so many reasons for why they weren't going to be rescued.  I liked these nuances.. but felt it was just a tad bit overdone for my taste.... as I said above, it took me 140 pages in to really get involved in the story.  But once I was hooked, I was HOOKED and so it was creeping up to a 5 star rating.  

The last 50 pages... uff.  SOPHIE NOOOOOOO!  I genuinely teared up during that entire scene with her and Barry and the birth.  Where I got lost was the very end.  Barry decides to take off in the canoe with his daughter and find safety.. get back to civilization.  It's time.  GREAT - I'M SO GLAD HE IS!!  But then what?? How did he get saved?? He pushes off into water oblivion and then BOOM, he's at home with his daughter?  For all the lead up and details to their getting stranded and the reasons why... where's the detail here?  Did a ship save him? Did he "paddle like a motherfucker" and find his way to better land?  I NEED MORE!  And the fact that I want more is a good thing.. the author had me aching for more detail. However, this is all that was going through my mind as the last few pages were trying to make their way through my eyes.  I actually flipped the pages back and forth a few times thinking I must have missed that part somewhere.

And that's it - the rest was beautifully done and I thank the publisher and author for this copy in return for my honest review.  Take a chance on this book ladies and gentleman, it's definitely worth the read!

1 comment:

  1. Love this! Just finished and I desperately want to know how he was rescued too!