“A Drop in the Ocean” by Jenni Ogden (2016)
Genre: Contemporary, Adult, Fiction
Page Length: 295 pages (review copy)
On her 49th birthday, Anna Fergusson, Boston neuroscientist and dedicated introvert, arrives at an unwanted crossroads when the funding for her research lab is cut. With her confidence shattered and her future uncertain, on impulse she rents a cabin for a year on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
However Turtle Island, alive with sea birds and nesting Green turtles, is not the retreat she expected. Here she finds love for the eccentric islanders who become her family; for Tom, the laid-back turtle whisperer; and for the turtles whose ancient mothering instincts move her to tears.
But Anna finds that even on her idyllic drop in the ocean there is pain, and as the months fly past her dream for a new life is threatened by a darkness that challenges everything she has come to believe about the power of love.
Evocative and thought-provoking, A Drop in the Ocean is a story about second chances and hard lessons learned in the gentlest of ways. (description from Goodreads)
A Drop in the Ocean is a tale about reinventing yourself. Ogden shares an important message with her readers, telling them that you are never too old to try new things, and that it’s possible that you can start over again at any stage in life.
My first impressions of Annie our protagonist, was that she is quiet, introverted, and somewhat reclusive. As I read along I soon learned the reason behind these characteristics as they came to light through the various glimpses of Annie’s past throughout the plot. During her retreat on”Turtle Island” she learns to grow to be a more open person to others and all the time spent reflecting her past and moving forward from it helps her to bloom.
I enjoyed the colorful cast of characters Ogden created in this novel. As the plot moves forward you get to truly know each character’s individual stories. They aren’t two-dimensional like some side characters in contemporary novels and are very likable. The residents of “Turtle Island” are one big island family and they also become a family and support system to Annie as well. I also enjoyed the romance in the novel between Annie and Tom (the main love interest). Both of them are loners, and through their developing relationship they learn to come out of their shells.
As for the setting, there was lots of vivid, ideal scenery. “Turtle Island” is a somewhat secluded island with clear blue waters, natural beauty everywhere, and an overall serene environment. I wanted to travel there myself and swim with the many turtles that are discussed in the book.
Overall, I really enjoyed the way Ogden crafts the environment for this story and how the characters change over the course of the book. It’s not only a contemporary story with a bit of romance thrown in, but it also explores marine life and explains Huntington’s disease in-depth (something I didn’t really know too much about before reading this novel). I also liked its overall message of “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”.
Final Verdict: An intriguing story about letting go and moving on.
FTC Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.