Two women set sail on a yacht with a group of strangers hoping for a carefree, exotic adventure, but their journey takes an unsettling turn.
Lana and Kitty have been inseparable friends since childhood, sharing many common experiences, including living on the same street in motherless households. After Lana severs her relationship with her father following a painful discovery, the friends, now in their 20s, leave their native England and head for the Philippines, a country chosen by the spin of a globe and the jab of a finger. They’ve been there a few weeks when they befriend a group of seemingly carefree young adults who invite them to join them aboard The Blue, a yacht that travels to exotic locales in the Pacific. The five crew members share duties, chip in equal amounts of money to defray costs, and cast votes to decide matters of importance—including whom to invite to join them. But the eldest, Aaron, captains the yacht, and he expects all crew members to abide by four steadfast rules. Lana and Kitty eagerly agree to his conditions and are enthralled as they indulge in their idyllic new lifestyle. However, Lana has a nagging feeling that although things may be smooth on the surface, something murky is happening just beneath the calm waters. A crew member disappears, and Lana becomes increasingly disturbed as she struggles with her conscience and believes she’s been betrayed by the two people she loves the most. She leaves the yacht and settles in New Zealand. Now, eight months later, she anxiously awaits news of the crew’s fate as rescue helicopters try to save them from disaster. Clarke (A Single Breath, 2014, etc.) skillfully balances romance and thriller, shifting between past and present as Lana’s initial contentment changes to despair. She paints brilliant images of physical surroundings and takes readers on an emotional journey as she explores the fragile bonds that connect each crew member to the others. Although the author goes overboard at times trying to create dramatic tension, the narrative is punctuated with interesting, unpredictable plot twists that keep coming until the final page.
Overall, it’s quite a voyage.