Summary and book reviews of Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge

Castle of Water

A Novel

by Dane Huckelbridge

Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge X
Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge
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  • Published:
    Apr 2017, 288 pages

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Book Summary

Two very different people, one very small island.

For Sophie Ducel, her honeymoon in French Polynesia was intended as a celebration of life. The proud owner of a thriving Parisian architecture firm, co-founded with her brilliant new husband, Sophie had much to look forward to--including a visit to the island home of her favorite singer, Jacques Brel.

For Barry Bleecker, the same trip was meant to mark a new beginning. Turning away from his dreary existence in Manhattan finance, Barry had set his sights on fine art, seeking creative inspiration on the other side of the world--just like his idol, Paul Gauguin.

But when their small plane is downed in the middle of the South Pacific, the sole survivors of the wreck are left with one common goal: to survive. Stranded hundreds of miles from civilization, on an island the size of a large city block, the two castaways must reconcile their differences and learn to draw on one another's strengths if they are to have any hope of making it home.

Told in mesmerizing prose, with charm and rhythm entirely its own, Castle of Water is more than just a reimagining of the classic castaway story. It is a stirring reflection on love's restorative potential, as well as a poignant reminder that home--be it a flat in Paris, a New York apartment, or a desolate atoll a world away--is where the heart is.

1

The flat is in the tenth arrondissement of Paris, on a derelict street called Château d'Eau. To find it is simple: Just take a right at the arch, go down rue Saint-Denis, steer clear of the dog shit, and you cannot miss it. To find beauty in it, however, is a bit more daunting. The charms of the alley do exist, if one squints past the worn-out tabacs and disheveled filles de joie that ply their trades along its curbs. Fortunately, the man who lives there is accustomed to squinting and proud to call the place his home.

He wakes earlier than usual on this particular morning. He does not rise immediately but lies awake for a moment, savoring the stillness of the chill blue hour. Then, at last, he decides to get up. A splash of water on the face, a quick brushing of teeth, a puckering spit, and a satisfied gargle. He smiles at his scarred and bearded reflection—grayer, it seems, with each passing day.

Ablutions complete, it's time to get dressed. First he slips on an old...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

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How [two unlikely castaways] manage to survive, physically, emotionally and mentally in total isolation on an island small enough to walk around on an evening stroll is an absorbing story. It is full of all the stages of a developing relationship—getting to know each other, disagreements, compromise, thoughtful gifts, humor, teasing, insults—culminating in a partnership with depth and caring. As the reader looking in, you are sensitive to their fears, frustrations, hopes and love and you root for their survival...continued

Full Review (552 words).

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Media Reviews

Author Blurb Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale
Castle of Water is a unique, inventive exploration of love, loss, and survival . . . Castle of Water is a compelling portrait of what it means to be rescued--both literally and figuratively--by hope, ingenuity, and love.

Author Blurb Thomas Christopher Greene, bestselling author of The Headmaster's Wife
Brilliant, clever, riveting—pick your adjective, they all apply. But do pick up Castle of Water, just be careful when you pick it up. For Huckelbridge has spun a yarn that is sure to cost you sleep while you race to the remarkable end. It's that good.

Author Blurb Michelle Gable, New York Times bestselling author of A Paris Apartment
Far more complex than any given deserted island tale, Dane Huckelbridge has written a moving, harrowing, and downright literary novel in which even the inevitable comes as a surprise. Castle of Water will lift spirits and break hearts. I did not want this story to end.

Reader Reviews

Sharon Moorehead

A Real Life Raft
After a Covid year and a nasty hateful election I read constantly to maintain my sanity. I came across this book and knew it was going to help me regain my perspective on life. Humor, tenderness, irony, anger, hopelessness, love and pure joy ...   Read More
lani

home is where the heart is
What looked like an ordinary novel of 2 castaways on a deserted island in French Polynesia turned out to be anything but. Barry Bleecker, a frustrated artist and former Wall Street financier has left NYC to follow the path of Gauguin and derive ...   Read More
Sherrill B. (Columbia City, IN)

Castle of Water
Very good book.There was a solution for every situation. The story takes place on a remote island in the south pacific after a plane crash. Two survivors, Sophie and Barry, must get along if they are to survive; they do, and they fall in love. They ...   Read More
Mary W. (Altadena, CA)

Another Castaway Story
I totally enjoyed this book because although using the premise of castaways on an off the map small island as many other stories and movie scripts have used the author's approach was interesting and kept my interest throughout. The relationship ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Paul Gauguin: A Flawed Artist

Paul Gauguin Self-Portrait In Castle of Water, one of the characters is headed to the Marquesas Islands, part of French Polynesia, because he wants to pay his respects to the renowned French painter, Paul Gauguin, who breathed his last there.

Paul Gauguin was born in 1848 in France to a French father and a mother with mixed French and Peruvian heritage. While Gauguin was still a child, his journalist father decided to travel to Peru to develop his career there but unfortunately died along the way. Gauguin's mother journeyed on and lived in Lima for a few years, eventually returning to France along with Paul and his siblings.

Given his prodigious fame in the art world and his talents, it is surprising that Gauguin did not have formal training; he chanced ...

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