Originally published in 1940, this novel is something of a maverick in relation to Anglo.Australian Martin Boyd's assorted other works -- a wayward, thoughtful (not too) story of castaway Sisters but not really ""suspense"" as touted, even if there is enough external activity to retain your interest. Six nuns and six men -- an officer, sailors (one of them a glistening ""coloured"") and a man who presides over them under the genericy anonymity of Mr. Smith, are thrown up on an island. During a shipwreck when the others drown, one of the nuns is first challenged by a dilemma: ""The door on which the crucifix swayed was a kind of religious sanction, denying her air and freedom and the decency of vomiting in private."" There will be other religious sanctions jettisoned by the time they settle in on the island -- in a vacant bungalow -- where their spiritual vocation is continually undermined by the luxuriant natural life: their ""hot house devotional ardour"" cedes to doubts and lusts and the novice Winifred falls in love with the young officer. In the background, Mr. Smith quietly poses further disconcerting thoughts which offer possibilities of experience never previously entertained under their coifs. All in all, a welcome appearance of a perhaps special book -- also special in its humor, charm and gently illumined distinctions between paradise and eternity.