Book Review: The Castaways by Lucy Clarke

I was offered an advance review copy of The Castaways and having enjoyed Lucy Clarke’s last book ‘You Let Me In‘, I kindly accepted the offer – so here’s the blurb:

A SECRET BEACH.
A HOLIDAY OF A LIFETIME.
WISH YOU WERE HERE?

THINK AGAIN…
It should be like any other holiday.
Beautiful beaches.
Golden sunsets.
Nothing for miles.
You’ll never want to leave.
Until you can’t…
Gripping, twisty and full of sun-soaked atmosphere, THE CASTAWAYS will whisk you far away to the island – and never let you go.

The book is based around the story of Erin and Lori who are sisters. They are supposed to be going on holiday together in Fiji – but after doing the International flight they have an overnight stay before an internal island hop flight. During this evening they have a row and consequently only Lori makes the flight the next morning. Then the flight disappears.

The book is told from Erin’s point of view now – 2 years later after she’s spent the intervening time trying to find out about her sister’s disappearance, and then from Lori’s point of view back 2 years ago.

Having sisters myself I really enjoyed how the relationship between them was written. That they could annoy each other and bicker and argue – but at the end of the day their sisterly bond was so strong. As well as the bond between sisters it also looks at friendships / infertility / infidelity / survivor guilt / stranger dynamics – but all in an entertaining way.

The backdrop of Fiji is beautiful – but also quite suffocating. I’ve never been to Fiji – but the jungle descriptions really reminded me of St Lucia or the Seychelles – hot, sweaty, dense, full of strange noises and animals – but then next to beautiful sandy beaches. In particular the descriptions of the dusk outings of bats was really reminiscent of our time in the Seychelles – they were scary, even with a G&T in hand. I wouldn’t have wanted to sleep outside in any of these tropical countries, and was far happier in my air conditioned hotel room!!

I don’t want to give too much of the storyline away – we all know I HATE reviews that contain spoilers – but it’s safe to say it twists and turns brilliantly and kept me intrigued and wanting to read more. In particular the pace builds up to the last few chapters and you flip and flop (and flip flops are worn lots!) between whether it’s going to be a happy or sad ending. It was brilliant – and I loved the actual ending because it wasn’t what I expected – but again, no spoilers.

I would say it’s a perfect holiday read – but I’m not sure I’d want to read it when I was about to go on a plane?!?

Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Collins for my ARC. It’s out electronically already, and in hard back later this month, if this has whetted your appetite!

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