Castle of Water [Book Review]

September 22, 2017

orange and gold fall leaves

Happy first day of fall everyone!

Every now and then do you enjoy an escapist read? Are you looking for a vacation read? Do you need to get away from tragic histfic, a break from heavy nonfiction topics, a relief from diverse literature where we work hard to climb into the perspectives of others, or a time out from text books if you’re a student? Do you appreciate an enemies-to-lovers trope? Then this may be your next read! Sometimes you find a book at just the right time, and this is when this unputdownable book found me!

Castle of Water by Dane Hucklebridge

Castle of Water by Dane Hucklebridge (kindle propped against a softly muted floral pillow shows cover)

Genre/categories; fiction, survival, action & adventure, love story


“And so it came to pass that two utterly disparate lives happened to overlap … bound together on an uninhabited island some 2,359 miles from Hawaii, 4,622 miles from Chile, and 533 miles from the nearest living soul.
Crap, as Barry liked to say.
Putain de merde, as Sophie was known to exclaim.”
― Dane HuckelbridgeCastle of Water

Sophie, an architect and honeymooner, and Barry, disillusioned with his career in finance and seeking inspiration for his love of art end up on one very small island when their plane is hit by lightning and crashes in the middle of the South Pacific. Strangers and sole survivors and as different as night and day, Sophie and Barry wash up on a small uninhabited island and survival becomes their primary objective. Sophie and Barry draw from each other’s strengths and skills and through harrowing experiences, keep the hope of rescue alive.

Amazon Rating (September): 4.5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Escapist: Castle of Water found me at exactly the right time as I needed a break from reading tragic and heavy histfic. It is truly an escapist and/or vacation read with interesting elements of history and geography woven into the narrative.

Themes: At first glance, Castle of Water might seem like a classic castaway survival story, and it is….yet it’s so much more….. it’s a charming, witty, poignant, engaging, and beautifully told story that explores themes of home, love, loss, sadness, perseverance, heartbreak, hope, resiliency, friendship, and desperation.

Engaging: Castle of Water is easy to get into with memorable characters, unexpected humor, and it’s full of heart. The story alternates between the present and past timelines, and I devoured it in one day. Unputdownable.

Point of View: Even though Mr. Hucklebridge has a unique style of writing that was refreshing and at times exquisite, Castle of Water has a slightly impersonal feel to it and at times I wished that I could know what Sophie and Barry were thinking and feeling from the first-person point of view. The author’s decision to write from an impersonal viewpoint is at its most effective when he speaks directly to the reader because it allows us to become true cohorts in the adventure and we can appreciate all their joy and sorrow. The impersonal viewpoint is a minor concern because overall I enjoyed his masterful writing and simple telling of a complicated situation and relationship. I could easily reread this book and that is rare for me.

“He smiles and shakes his head, a smile that’s bewildered and content and still pursed by that same tender sadness that visited him by the arch, that trails him as doggedly as his gratitude and his guilt … the wonder of it all, the unknowable mystery, to serve as fleshy custodian to such a fragile flame.”
― Dane HuckelbridgeCastle of Water

Castle of Water is highly recommended for all adult readers who are looking for a masterfully written tale of adventure and survival, for those looking for an engaging vacation read, for readers who love the enemies to lovers trope, and for fans of unputdownable stories.

Rating: 5 Stars (rounded up from 4.5).


Castle of Water

Castle of Water Information Here

Meet the Author, Dane Hucklebridge

Author, Dane Hucklebridge

Dane Huckelbridge was born and raised in the American Middle West. He holds a degree from Princeton University, and his fiction and essays have appeared in a variety of journals, including Tin HouseThe New Delta ReviewThe Wall Street Journal, and The New RepublicCastle of Water is his first novel, although he has also authored two historical works on American whiskey and beer, respectively. He lives with his wife in Paris, France, and New York City.


Read an interview with Dane Hucklebridge here as seen on Top Shelf Text.


What have you been reading lately?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in comments on Castle of Water if or when you read it!

Happy Reading Everyone!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

Looking Ahead:

Next week, I’m eager to review The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas (a YA diverse literature pick dealing with racial issues currently in the news) if you’d like to “buddy read.” Lots to discuss here. *Language alert

The Hate You Give

Get more information on THUG here.

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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.



  1. […] Many readers give this book high ratings, so I encourage you to read more reviews before deciding whether or not to read the book. Readers who are looking for a light and engaging vacation/beach/plane read focusing on feminism and politics might enjoy this. For a really exciting vacation read, I might suggest an alternative Castle of Water (reviewed here). […]

  2. I really like the sound of this one, Carol. I definitely would never want to be a castaway, but this sounds a bit more entertaining. My library has a copy, so adding it.

  3. […] A castaways trope is not what I’m usually seeking. However, a blogger raved about this book and FOMO hooked me. I enjoyed it far more than I expected and have recommended it numerous times. It would make a great beach read because the majority of the story takes place on a deserted and isolated beach where they must build a shelter and fish for their food. My review here. […]

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