Desert Isle Keeper
I loved Float Plan! This is my first book by Trish Doller and I’m looking forward to reading through her past releases.
Anna Beck needs to run away from her life. Less than a year earlier, her fiancé committed suicide and left Anna alone and spinning from the fallout. For the past ten months, she’s barely survived, just worked at her waitress job and lived with her mom. But she and Ben had plans to sail through the Caribbean, and Anna decides to go on their planned trip solo. She purchases supplies, climbs onto their sailboat, and heads out. She is not an overly experienced sailor but she’s adrift – if she doesn’t do something now she’s afraid she never will.
Anna barely makes it from Fort Lauderdale to Miami to Bimini in the Bahamas. She realizes she needs help and posts an advertisement hoping to pick up a crew member for her sail through the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, and Virgin Islands to Trinidad off the coast of Venezuela.
Keane Sullivan left Ireland when he was seventeen to become a professional sailor, but when he was at the top of his career, a freak accident cost him part of his leg. He is still more than capable of professional sailing but the owners of racing boats aren’t willing to take a chance on him. He has some potential odd jobs on offer in Puerto Rico and agrees to join Anna for the ride there from Bimini.
A tentative friendship between Anna and Keane develops quickly. They are both upfront with their stories and respectful of each other’s boundaries, and under Keane’s guidance, Anna gains the skills she’ll need to complete the journey after she leaves him in Puerto Rico. For now, Keane is her tour guide of the islands. But it’s hard for Anna to relax and enjoy the experiences she’s having. Ben had a very thorough plan for their trip and now Anna is struggling with honoring Ben’s plan and making the best decisions for herself in her new reality. She’s not sure what she expected from this trip but her talks with Keane are helping Anna to process and hopefully make peace with what has happened:
“Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever stop thinking about him.”
“Don’t know why you would,” Keane says. “Eventually – and I say this from experience – you’ll start building a new house beside the ruins of the old. When you’re ready, you’ll know.”
From what I’ve written, you may be thinking this book is heavy, full of coming to grips with grief and loss. And it easily could have been. But instead, it’s a celebration of life. A tribute to those who pick up the pieces after the worst has happened and build again. Anna and Keane’s travels are dotted with moments of melancholy and tears but also moments of hilarity and triumph. This ended up being an unexpected feel-good book!
Anna is just a regular girl from Florida. Her plans with Ben were to be the most adventure she’s ever had. She’s easy to root for – kind, willing to listen, clever, and loving. She knows this trip is beyond her but is willing to take a risk and not let life beat her. Keane is a delight. He’s had his share of hard knocks but is still optimistic about life and love. His heart is enormous and he practices the benefit of the doubt – an undervalued attribute in heroes! Anna and Keane’s love story is sweet, unexpected, and delightful!
I also loved the travel aspect of this book. My advice to readers is to have a map of the Caribbean and surrounding islands on hand while reading! Visually following Anna and Keane’s travels enhanced my enjoyment of the book. With each new island reached, it seemed as though another part of Anna was exposed and then healed:
The stages of grief are not linear. They are random and unpredictable, folding back on themselves until you begin mourning all over again. I have bargained with a universe that is not listening. I have cried myself hollow. I have leaned into the belief that I can’t live without Ben Braithwaite, but kneeling here in the sand on a beach four hundred miles from home says maybe I can – and that terrifies me.
Float Plan took me by surprise and I struggled to put it down to make dinner or do my actual job! And I felt all warm and hopeful when I finished it. For me, that’s about as good as it gets in the reading world. Highly recommended!