Desert Isle Keeper
Stranded With Her Ex
The title Stranded With Her Ex is rather sordid and suggests deserted tropical islands and bickering that turns into sex. The story, however, is not that at all. I was very pleasantly surprised to find a story with true heart and depth.
Daniela Flores is a marine biologist signed on to a research project in the remote Farralon Islands in the Pacific beyond the San Francisco Bay. She did not expect her ex-husband to be there. Sean Carmichael is a shark expert, and the shark-infested waters of this region are a perfect place to study them.
Neither has seen the other in nearly a year, and the wounds have not yet healed — the emotional ones, that is. The divorce was precipitated by a horrific car crash during Daniela’s eighth month of pregnancy; the unborn baby died, and Daniela was badly injured. In her grief, though, Daniela withdrew and a crack became a canyon.
Meanwhile, the tensions among the scientists staying on the island are not confined to Sean and Daniela. There are snubbed flirtations, tragic histories, and the day-to-day irritations of living with so many people, but all of the tension increases as it becomes clear that someone is trying to sabotage the facility and its researchers, even to the point of causing death.
Normally I don’t like stories featuring ex-spouses; breakups can happen quickly for many reasons, but divorce is a fairly lengthy legal process that requires more forethought and consideration on both sides. However, in this instance I could totally understand the way grief and pain led to these two people separating. The mistakes on each side were obvious and their divorce could have been prevented, but the love had not faded and with the healing of time, they were in a much better place to address their issues.
Daniela and Sean had a very strong connection, physically and emotionally. There was some wonderfully informative yet brief background information woven into the novel. It gave a clear sketch of their relationship before and after the accident, without venturing into flashback territory. It was just enough to satisfy my curiosity and show their history, without being clunky or awkward in the pacing of the novel.
The suspense plot was weaker than the romance one, but that’s okay. The scientific aspect of their lives on the island was interesting, without taking up too many pages. Sometimes it felt like they didn’t actually do that much research work, but this was a short novel and I let it slide.
This story was far more about healing, grief, and reconnecting than it was about sharks or sabotage, though those items played their part in the story. As much as my heart ached for the characters, I was delighted with their story. This was a wonderful romance that had me engaged from the moment I picked up the book until far after I had read the last page.