The Blue – The Phillippines and New Zealand – Lucy Clarke

2015-novel-UK

Why a booktrail?

Ever wanted to go sailing with with a group around the Philippines? But how well do you know the others in the crew?

Story in a conch shell..

Paradise can suddenly turn very dark indeed..

Now – Lana is in New Zealand when she hears some shocking news – The Blue, the fantastic yacht which she and her friend Kitty joined for the adventure of their lives, has sunk. All crew, Lana’s friends are still missing. What on earth happened and why did Lana leave the yacht a few months ago?

Then – Lana and Kitty join a group of travellers in the Philippines and become part of the elusive crew living and sailing on The Blue. The ocean and islands are their playground, where they stop, fish, live and swim  – a perfect existence and escape from the world.

Nights are spent drinking on deck, navigating the island and having fun. But things soon turn dark and paradise turns sour. The Blue becomes one floating nightmare. Lana becomes desperate to leave.

What happened in the middle of the ocean?

Place and Setting

Paradise can be the loneliest place on earth
Paradise can be the loneliest place on earth

( All locations in the Philippines and Palau are fictional)

Life on The Blue starts off like paradise –

The long empty hours spent snorkelling over coral gardens and exploring empty coves where wild mangoes grew, learning how to handle the sails and steer a corse; cooking meals in the narrow galley kitchen with the view of the sea through the porthole…

Sounds perfect right?

At first, that’s what Kitty and Lana think. When they quite literally bump into Denny in Norappi in the Philippines, they are invited to join the elusive yacht. Life is good on board at first. The rest of the crew – Joseph, Shell, Aaron and Heinrich have a few rules – everyone has to chip in and no romances between crew are allowed, but apart from that this is the way to escape life, feel free and enjoy the beauty of the ocean.

Life on the ocean is perfect –

The horizon was alight with flame-orange and magenta tones which feathered away into muted shades of rose, finally settling into a dusky navy behind her

Life on the boat? What’s not to like? The waters are calm , there are dolphins ahead, plenty of fish to eat. Sitting on deck looking out to sea – nothing like it. Even the tasks of washing up, acting as lookout and manning the deck are not hard to bear. Life amongst the most stunning and spectacular scenery in the world is right here.

Food

The food you can salvate over – from the mahi mahi Lana prepares with oil and spices, the food markets they visit, the warm aroma of the rum they drink on deck. This is one visual feast. From the salty air to the warm breeze of the ocean, this is paradise for all the senses.

But is it to die for?

On a passage to Palau, it’s announced that Joseph won’t be joining them. The others start adding really strange, the atmosphere changes, and Lana soon realises that maybe being on a yacht in the middle of nowhere with people she barely knows may not be such a good idea after all…

Paradise can sometimes turn dark...
Paradise can sometimes turn dark…

Bookish musings – Susan

This has to be the ultimate travelling adventure as ever depicted in a novel. Lucy Clarke has captured every essence of a sailing experience, of the unparalleled sense of freedom being out in the open waters – from the whip of a sail, to the salty sea to the notion of a passage and cooking on board and swirled it together, with strange sea faring companions to create THE novel of the summer, if not the year.

It’s all so simple yet very very clever – a boat sailing into paradise – how can life get any better? Where the group takes the vote, tasks are divided and the rum and fish are plentiful…but there is a dark shadow looming and in the remote ocean, no one can hear your call for help..

The tension – from the floating body at the start of the book, to the reasons why Lana had to leave  – are built up slowly and steadily, with more ups and downs that the ocean itself. So evocative and so realistic, I felt seasick with fear by the end.

I can’t rave about this novel enough. Lucy Clarke has researched every last detail of a sailing trip, life on board, the calm waters with tension rippling underneath, unseen  – for now.

Just brilliant!