Book Review – Below Deck by Sophie Hardcastle

Twenty-one-year-old Olivia hears the world in colour, but her life is mottled grey. Estranged from her parents, and living with her grandfather who is drowning in sadness, Oli faces the reality of life beyond university alone. When she wakes on a boat with no recollection of how she got there, she accepts the help of two strangers who change the course of her future forever. With Mac and Maggie, Oli learns to navigate a life upon open ocean and the world flowers into colours she’s never seen before. Four years later, Oli, fluent in the language of the sea, is the only woman among men on a yacht delivery from Noumea to Auckland. In the darkness below deck, she learns that at sea, no one can hear you scream. Moving to London, Oli’s life at sea is buried. When she meets Hugo, the wind changes, and her memories are dust blown into shapes. Reminding her of everything. Below Deck is about the moments that haunt us, the moments that fan out like ripples through the deep. So that everything else, becomes everything after.Published 4th June 2020 by @atlanticbooks

Some of the best books I’ve read come from the brilliant reviews and recommendations of the book community, and it was thanks to my lovely friend @rachaelsreads_ that BELOW DECK hit my radar. THANK YOU Rachel, I absolutely loved this book!Oli is a bit of a lost soul, neglected of love from her high flying parents and aimless in her life. She’s been in a relationship for four years with someone who treats her like shit. But when she meets Mac and Maggie and joins them on their boat, for the first time she feels like she’s found home. Until one day, four years later she’s subject to a violent and traumatic attack at Sea which will haunt her future and turn the ocean she loved to a dangerous and lonely placeI felt for Oli so much. She’s alone in the world, and burdened with expectation of how she should be – as a daughter, a girlfriend, a woman. There’s a feminist undertone running throughout this book as Oli struggles to find and accept herself wich I loved, and I found myself championing her fully throughoutSophie Hardcastle’s writing is beautiful and her use of colour to describe feelings and actions is vivid and atmospheric. I found it all consuming, the world outside blurring as I turned the pages and became completely immersed in the emotions of this bookBelow Deck is a stunning story of acceptance and empowerment with the backdrop of the sea reminding us that cruelty and beauty coexist unpredictably. It’s a book that filled me with feeling as I read, sorrow, anger and hope. Highly recommended!Thanks to the publisher for my #gifted copy

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