Adrift on St. John
Publisher: Penguin Group
Release Date: March 6, 2012
Retail Price: 7.99
No one knows better than resort manager Pen Hoffstra that the idea of a tropical paradise is an illusion. So when a young woman named Hannah Sheridan disappears off the island of St. John, she is not surprised that all is not what it seems to be. Pointing out Hannah's resemblance to the Amina Slave Princess from the 1733 slave revolt on St. John--whose ghost is rumored to haunt the island--the local community quickly latches on to the belief that her spirit is behind the sinking and the disappearance...
Hannah Sheridan, an employee at the resort managed by Pen Hoffstra, has disappeared at sea. While the captain and the other two passengers survived when their water taxi sank, Hannah vanished. Some of the superstitious island people think Hannah was a victim of the spirit of the Amina Slave Princess, a woman from island history. Pen knows Hannah came to the resort under a false name and false pretenses but keeps as much information about Hannah to herself, for mysterious reasons of her own.
Adrift on St. John is a very unusual book. The premise of someone from the mainland United States relocating to the Virgin Islands to run a resort is a good one. There are plenty of unique characters in the book that add to the story. Pen, the main character, is not a typical main character for a cozy mystery. At best, she can be described as a slacker who is “ethically challenged”, but from the beginning we see she that she has a shady past that she may or may not have left behind when she moved to St. John. She often shows up to work hung-over and naps on the couch in her office and delegates all important tasks and decisions to her assistant Vivian. I could relate to Pen during the few times when her vulnerability shows through her casual attitude, but most of the time I found it hard to care about her.
The book starts out intriguing with the disappearance of Hannah, an introduction to some of the main characters, and historical information about the sugar industry and the slave trade in the Caribbean. Island history and current island politics play a part in the mystery, so this background information is both interesting and necessary in understanding the relation of the iconic Slave Princess of the Amina, a tribe who rebelled against the Dutch, to the current story. There is more to Pen than meets the eye as well, and a surprising plot turn near the beginning definitely caught my attention.
Unfortunately, after a promising beginning, the book quickly goes downhill. While there is the framework of an interesting story in this novel, it is lost in the way the story is told. Throughout the book, there are so many changes in time, place, and point of view from one chapter to the next, the plot becomes disjointed and the smooth flow of the story is lost. Starting each new chapter became so much of a struggle to determine who was narrating, what was going on, and when it was occurring that I lost track of the story several times. Something is wrong when a mystery becomes more confusing than intriguing. The humor, historical details, setting, and plot twists are great, but unfortunately the jumbled way the story is told make this a less than average book for me.
Reviewed by Christine
Your ReviewYou must register before posting a comment.
Click to login
There are no comments to displayYou must register before posting a comment.
Click to login