Before I get started, I just have to say this book is one of my favorite books I have ever read. Period. It takes a lot to get on that list. And this book is just perfect.
The book begins with three ill-fated passengers on a small plane, a Cessna 208, headed for the Marquesas. Barry, Sophie, and Sophie’s fiance, Etienne. The two survivors of the crash, Sophie and Barry find themselves stranded on a small, obscure island fighting to survive. The story chronicles Barry and Sophie’s life on the island as they first fight to survive, then come to terms with their situation on this little known island. As the narrative develops, the characters evolve and come to terms with their situation and begin creating a life on the island.
What is remarkable about this book is the way Huckelbridge crafts his sentences and intertwines the present with the past. The story in and of itself is simple. Two people are stranded on a deserted island with little hope for a rescue. The narrative follows how each of the protagonists, Sophie and Barry, come to terms with her/his situation and proceeds with life on the island. However, the finesse with which Huckelbridge molds and shapes these characters for the reader is truly a step above anything I have read before. In addition, he intersperses narrative aimed directly at the reader, giving the reader a sense of ownership in the story and an insight that fosters the feeling that he/she is involved because he/she knows more than the protagonists. By the end, the reader is truly vested in the lives of Barry and Sophie, feeling their joy and their despair.
The writing in this book is, for lack of a better word, beautiful. Huckelbridge tackles a complicated situation and relationship and weaves a story of love, loss, and the strength of the human spirit. It is just magnificent. Rarely does a book come along that I automatically want to read again, and this is one that I would pick right back up and read again.
Bottom Line: This is truly masterful writing. As I read, I fell in love with these characters, and by the end, I didn’t want it to end. One of my favorite books of all time. Yes, it is that good! My rating is an easy 5/5.