Friday, 13 May 2016

A drop in the Ocean - Jenni Ogden - islands and relationships




My Review

You’ve heard of chick-lit and grip-lit now meet mid-life crisis lit!

With the setting mostly an idyllic remote Australian Coral Reef island it’s sheer escapism, but with a very real and pretty flawed menopausal heroine fast approaching fifty it also smacks of realism.

Anna is a heroine I found at first, a little difficult to warm to. Probably this is part of her own reluctance to allow people in to her life. At 49 years old she is a real loner with no significant other. Few friends in fact, just a lengthy medical research career which has left her with an unwillingness to get involved preferring to stand on the sidelines of life and observe. But a sudden withdrawal of funding means she is at a loose end and almost on a whim decides to do something very out of character and goes to live on a remote Australian coral reef island where only a handful of folk live and work. She soon discovers no woman is an island and begins to fit in, making friends despite her own self-imposed reluctance to commit. She begins to do all the things she has spent over 29 years avoiding. Including examining her relationship with her Mother, the death of her father and her own background.

The Island in question is a breeding ground for green turtles and she becomes involved in the research into these fascinating and endangered creatures using her scientific background in a different way and growing close to the enigmatic Tom the “turtle whisperer”

Her clinical manner seeps through into her way of writing and at times I found she seemed more to be recording facts rather than allowing us in to her life, but she grows and mellows somewhat through the book and when she finds herself on the other side of the fence with disease and illness affecting the people she has recently come to know and love, instead of adopting the clinical distance she always cultivated throughout her career she finds she has to face it head on.

Her research involved Huntingtons disease and this features rather heavily in the book and I learnt quite a lot about this dreadful condition in these pages.

This is so much more than a beach read, it tackles some very gritty subjects in a forthright and informative way, yet has a dreamlike quality which captured my imagination. By the time I was 50 pages in I was ready to throw the book together with a pair of shorts in my backpack and head off for a desert island myself.

There is emotion aplenty and I shed a little tear. I love discovering new authors and this is another whose work is just great. The characters are wonderful, I fell a little in love with Morrie, was enchanted by the young mum and her baby, which Anna helped deliver during a storm. The book is filled with adventures, people and relationships.

I recieved a complimentary copy in exchange for an impartial review.

The Blurb

On her 49th birthday, Anna Fergusson, Boston neuroscientist and dedicated introvert, arrives at an unwanted crossroads when the funding for her research lab is cut. With her confidence shattered and her future uncertain, on impulse she rents a cabin for a year on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. 

However Turtle Island, alive with sea birds and nesting Green turtles, is not the retreat she expected. Here she finds love for the eccentric islanders who become her family; for Tom, the laid-back turtle whisperer; and for the turtles whose ancient mothering instincts move her to tears. But Anna finds that even on her idyllic drop in the ocean there is pain, and as the months fly past her dream for a new life is threatened by a darkness that challenges everything she has come to believe about the power of love. 

Evocative and thought-provoking, A Drop in the Ocean is a story about second chances and hard lessons learned in the gentlest of ways.

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