“Never judge a book by its cover” – its a saying that I have long upheld. Regardless of the outer surface, I will read a book based on how interesting the content is. With this novel, however, I found myself gravitating towards it because of its beautiful, ethereal cover. It was just lying on a shelf at my local library and it looked so serene and picturesque that I knew I had to get my hands on it. It didn’t matter about the story itself – the image on the front cover pulled me right in. It’s taken me a while to read this novel but I finally finished it… so here is my review:
In a world where there is more sea than land, North lives on a circus boat that travels to scattered islands to perform for “landlockers”. Her performance involves dancing with her beloved bear, with whom she has a special connection. And although the other crew members are like family to her, North has a secret that could break every bond between her and the circus.
Callanish is a gracekeeper who lives alone in her house on an island in the middle of the ocean. Here, she tends the graves of those who die at sea, as penance for a mistake she made in her past.
When a storm creates a chance encounter between North and Callanish, they forge a bond that changes their worlds completely. They are drawn to each other and finally feel like they belong. But the tides have a mind of their own, and no one can be certain of what the sea wants.
This novel took me a long time to read … but that was because I was savoring every detail. The story is lyrical in its measured way of unraveling the intricacies of each character. The lovely thing about this novel is that you have no idea which character’s viewpoint you will get until you reach the next chapter. And you have no idea what that character will say. This novel is heart-breaking on so many levels, as each character grapples with their desire for love, happiness, and security of the self. There was not a single passage that I skimmed; every detail was so mesmerizing, and so completely brought about the illusion of this alternate world. I can honestly go on and on gushing about this novel… but I’d rather you experience it for yourself. And when you pick up this novel, which I truly hope you will, make sure you savor and enjoy the journey it takes you on!