Brief Thoughts: A Drop in the Ocean by Jenni Ogden

Author: Jenni Ogden
  Title: A Drop in the Ocean
  Rating★★★
  Links: GoodReads IndieBound Chapters | Amazon  
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

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. .

I wanted to read this book because it is set in the Great Barrier Reef (a location I was planning to visit at the time, and have now visited!), because it features an older female protagonist, and because it sounded like a good vacation read.  My main reason for not giving this book a higher rating is the plot. The story takes awhile to get going. Everything is picture perfect for a good while. I wondered when any sign of conflict or ‘trouble in paradise’ would finally happen. Certain dramatic sub plots are resolved too conveniently for my liking. The writing can be very episodic. A lack of transitions or connections makes the story feel choppy at times. The depiction of a wise cancer survivor and cheerful Huntington’s patient irked me as tropey and unrealistic.

 Despite these criticisms, I enjoyed the book enough to finish reading it. The ending took the road I wasn’t expecting, which was a nice change. Overall, I found the plot somewhat bland and stiffly progressive, but I enjoyed the setting and the role of Huntington’s and marine turtles. These aspects brought a dimension of reality to the tale, not usually found in these kinds of stories. I especially appreciated the author’s note at the end providing more information on each topic.