‘The flowers work!’ he said. ‘I don’t know how, but they …’ the wind caught his words as he spun and spun, ‘ … they make things change, make things beautiful that were swirling-dark before.’
(Storm Wake by Lucy Christopher. P23.) Synopsis:
Moss has lived on the island with Pa and Cal for as long as she can remember. Pa says the island is a safe place. A place of stories and dreams. He says the rest of the world vanished during a flood, and that the island is the only place to have survived.
When something strange is swept up during a storm, Moss is forced to question what she knows about herself and the island. A lyrical reworking of The Tempest which will hold you in its dream.
When the twist comes, it hits you with the force of a tempest.
The first part of the story swept me into the same dream as Moss and Pa. Everything was hazy. Peaceful. It was almost possible to believe that Moss and Pa were safe and well on their beautiful island. Except that’s not how stories work. When you are disabused of this notion, you are disabused well and hard. The island no longer looks like such a paradise.
At the end of The Tempest, dream fades into reality. Lucy Christopher has reworked this idea to give it additional depth. The story hinges around Pa, a counterpart to Prospero. Pa is manipulative, but he is also vulnerable. Desperate. Loving. As Moss reaches adolescence, she is no longer content to listen to Pa’s stories. Many young readers will relate to the moment of discovering that their guardians do not hold the definitive answers.
The second half of the book is about internal conflict. It is a battle of wills, and a story of discovery.
The writing held my attention as much as the plot. The words themselves are lyrical. Storm and Cal use unusual phrases, such as storm-woke, which reflect their isolated upbringing on the island. I was also held by the description. I could imagine the world with all my senses – the crashing of the waves and the heady scent of flowers.
A dreamy book which will make you rethink escape and isolation.
Do you have a favourite retelling? Have you read The Tempest? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks to Chicken House Books for my copy of Storm Wake. Opinions my own.