But after a treacherous night's sail and a brush with an ocean tanker, she decides she can’t do it alone, and hires a professional sailor to help her get to Puerto Rico. Much like her, Keane is struggling with a very different future than the one he had planned, and he can’t refuse her offer. Together they find a way to rebuild their lives and the possibility of new love.
Comment: The theme for the April TBR challenge post is "location, location, location". It does seem any pick would be pretty easy, after all, all stories take place somewhere. I chose a book from last year specifically because the story would happen on a boat, on route through the Caribbean islands! Better location than this....maybe, but not easy!
In this story we meet Anna, right at the moment she is about to start her journey sailing through the Caribbean islands bookmarked by her former boyfriend Ben, who has committed suicide. Anna is finding it difficult to deal with this and after an year she feels that she needs to do something radical, even if that means letting go of a lot, such as her job and the worries about Ben's family contesting his will. Perhaps she will find some sort of closure if she sails and sees the spots they planned until the very last destination. What Anna wasn't counting on was on the cliche that time and a physical change of scenery might be key to make her mind feel its moving on as well...
I had not read any reviews before starting the book, I only knew the heroine would be on a boat, which means the main reasons for the journey weren't very clear but let me say the beginning does set the mood and throughout the whole story, there was this sense of...desolation, and not just because of the theme. It made me think of something that doesn't have a solution, only ways to make it doable or easier to deal with.
Although we only know about Ben's suicide, Anna keeps thinking about him during the whole book. This is understandable, especially if she is trying to complete a task that had been thought to bring them even closer, but in terms of sequence, from a bad emotional place into healthy memories or self healing, I'm not certain I finished fully convinced Anna got there...
The plot is quite an adventure, one I both wish I could emulate and that I would dread just considering it at all. It was clear the author researched both how boats work, which possible issues they could have, she looked at the islands we often only hear about in movies or other books, and she certainly looked into mental health and similar subjects. This does feel like a very detailed and busy story but it's all presented to the reader as if organic, naturally part of what is happening and I went through it quite pleased with the things I was learning.
Anna is a complex character but part from her mourning, pretty much all her actions and reactions feel believable for the situations she faces. I think she did seem to be very confident more often than not and in that regard, especially thinking about some problems she found, I can't tell if it was optimism or plot decisions to make the story more appealing, but some things felt easy, and I can only imagine we would all find convenient help and/or friendly people at the exact moment we would need...
Anna decides that a big part of the voyage would be too hard for her skill level in sailing, so she hires someone to go with her. That's how Keane, the love interest, comes to the picture. Keane is also quite complex, because he was a professional sailor who had a physical problem and now no one hires him so we also have to see him, at times, deal with his own issues. That's why, in part, I feel this was too desolate, both protagonists don't have it easy. However, sounding contradictory, it was also good they weren't one dimensional and I was quite interested in them, individually.
The romance is quiet, slowly developed and perfectly suitable for the physical journey they did; as the boat went further along, so did their feelings and emotions, and in terms of falling in love I was more or less convinced. I'm just not certain about the after...perhaps the next book, featuring Anna's sister, might have some mention of what happened to Anna, for I feel the end was a bit too... vague.
Going back to the location subject...well, it was a treat I'd say, to check google and see where the islands and places mentioned were. What fun to think someone can do it, that people really plan their lives like that. It was also great to know some specific details about each island, so the location wasn't just a prop, or an exotic choice, clearly we could get a good idea of how each island could be "described". Sometimes, I would even feel slightly nostalgic, as Anna would leave an island, so I felt I was leaving too and there's a certain weird feel when we think we are leaving and with us go the feelings and memories we stored there, isn't it?