Something in the Water, An Ocean Romance by Ben Starling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was a very powerful and emotional book to read. At first, it seemed to be a fairly light story, but then its depth was revealed. And there were some very dark moments later on. I also didn't expect it to take such a spiritual turn (not religious, however).
Teal, the main character, is a journalist who's sent to the South Pacific to write a story about a businessman there. It seemed like a great opportunity, particularly because she gets to stay on a beautiful island. Surprisingly, her boyfriend decides to come along with her, and she's hoping she can save their relationship. Why she would want to save anything with this man is beyond me. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat wait staff and anyone they believe is below their pay grade. Bear, her boyfriend, is horrendous to wait staff and is an all around terrible person. I have no idea how she managed to stay with him for as long as she did because she's a genuinely good person, and everything that man did made me cringe. I just loathed him, and then I loathed him even more as the story progressed.
Fortunately for Teal, she meets Perry, who is the complete opposite of Bear. He's kind and caring and fun to be around. He's also a restaurant owner and marine biologist who's concerned for the environment and all the creatures that inhabit Earth. I was ready for her to ditch Bear and be with this guy, someone she's much better suited to. I was honestly surprised she was even upset with Bear over what he did when she had already fallen for Perry.
While Teal is on the island, some real and very serious environmental concerns are brought to her attention. As someone who would much rather be an investigative journalist exposing the corrupt, it's hard to write an article about a businessman in a positive light the way she believes her boss has requested her to do so. Now she feels she has to choose between her job and doing the right thing.
Not only does she meet Perry, she also befriends an elderly couple who are just as concerned about what's been going on as Perry's been. I loved this couple; they felt so real to me. And the resort owner and his wife were good allies as well. I also enjoyed reading the letters that her deceased grandmother wrote. She would have certainly approved of her relationship with Perry.
But then she meets Daniel Dragan. And it took me quite a while before I realized that this was the same man from the first story, "Something in the Air." What made me realize it was when they talked about him being a Vietnam War vet. And then I realized they had the same first name, but I couldn't remember his last name until I checked the summary of "Something in the Air." And sure enough, it's the same name. I never would've though they'd be the same person. His personality and his whole outlook on life changed so dramatically. I was pretty upset by this, and I was hoping he would somehow come back around...
As Teal and Perry investigate what's going on and as they try to literally save the whales and the island, they end up putting their own lives in danger.
This was a compelling read that had me on the verge of tears. I felt so many different emotions while reading it. The romance and the suspense kept me hooked, and then of course, it got me thinking about how humans are destroying the oceans and hurting and killing the animals that live there. And then it leaves you wondering what you can do to help...
*Disclosure: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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