My love of reading is sparked by the different roles a book can play in my life. Some stories prompt a smile when I need it most or allow an emotional release when I need a good cry. Other stories help me to expand my views of the world or contrarily, help me escape from reality. I can find joy in a best seller to be sure — some of my favorites are among the best known literary works in the world — but every once in awhile, a book I’ve never heard of falls into my lap at exactly the right time and fulfills all of my needs at once. These magic books are few and far between yet when they arrive they have the power to change you even if only while you are within in their pages. Castle of Water is one of these books.
*Note: Dane Huckelbridge sent me a free copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own. My love for this books is genuine. Also, there are affiliate links in this post.
When Dane Huckelbridge reached out to me to read his first fiction novel, I read the synopsis and was instantly hooked. 2 strangers get stranded on an island castaway style and are forced to work together to survive? Deal me in. This book was so up my alley from the jump. My Side of Mountain by Jean Craighead George was one of my favorite childhood stories. The Swiss Family Robinson was the movie I would watch whenever I had strep throat or a tummy ache as a child and truth be told, I watch it even now when I’m ill. I dig reality based escapism. If you don’t that’s OK because you will still love this book. While I read it based on its synopsis, I fell in love with it for a different reason.
Castle of Water, focuses on Barry, an American who decides to leave his life behind to move to a tropical paradise near Tahiti, and Sophie, who is journeying to the paradise on her honeymoon. Barry and Sophie meet each other at the lowest points in their lives. They are the sole survivors of a plane crash en route to their destination that isolates them from humanity and, in Sophie’s case, in particular, the ones they love. They are strangers who are forced to start anew and learn to trust one another.
How they overcome the obstacles thrown at them is fascinating. Huckelbridge weaves a spellbinding but realistic tale of the resourcefulness needed for life on a deserted island. Sophie is an architect and Barry is a former boy scout and financier turned artist. They use their unique skill sets to stay alive and try to escape their island keep. In addition, Huckelbridge seamlessly throws in snippets of the world outside that further elevate the story.
But what I loved the most was the underlying message of hope. This story reminded me that love and trust are always present just under the surface. That in the face of fear and doubt and heartbreak, we can all rise up and be better for it.
The writing was mesmerizing and I was glued to my chair as read the entire book in one sitting. I laughed, I cried, I finished it and called 10 different people to tell them to buy the book immediately. Castle of Water has a firm place on my list of Top 5 books of the year and Top 10 books of my lifetime. I truly love it and I hope that soon it will get the recognition it deserves!Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge
Published by St. Martin's Press on April 4th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Action & Adventure, Literary, Romance, Contemporary
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"A unique, inventive exploration of love, loss, and survival." —Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale
"A moving, harrowing, and downright literary novel." —Michelle Gable, New York Times bestselling author of A Paris Apartment
"Brilliant, clever, riveting—pick your adjective, they all apply." —Thomas Christopher Greene, bestselling author of The Headmaster's Wife
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, Dane Huckelbridge's 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.