You remember how I said that I would be featuring more Claire Thompson? Well, here you go. Castaways isn’t out for Kindle yet, but it is in paperback and the Kindle version is on pre-order and it will show up on your Kindle 2/3. This is different from the other stuff I’ve blogged about from Claire, because this one is vanilla-ish. Yes, she does write vanilla. I qualify it with the -ish because there is some fairly mild power exchange stuff going on, but that could just be because of the nature of the relationship between the guys.
So, here’s the story. Sam is an up and coming artist from NYC. He’s been working really hard to get ready for a big show, and his last one was wildly successful. His friend, Tim, who is also the gallery owner has given him a ticket for a Caribbean cruise. Sam has been spending a lot of time looking at the ocean and taking pictures so that he can remember the light.
Donovan is two years out of law school. He’s an associate at a high powered law firm. His father is a lawyer who helped him get this place, and he’s always pushed Donovan to do better, be better, yadda, yadda, yadda. He’s getting ready for his first big case, but he’s decided that he needs a vacation before his big case because he’s fighting burnout. One night, he bumps into Sam on deck as Sam is looking at the sea.
That chance meeting doesn’t seem like it would be anything, and it probably woudn’t be, if the ship they were on didn’t catch fire and sink that night. Donovan gets swept overboard by a huge wave and the current catches him and sweeps him away from everyone else. Sam gets knocked down and ends up a little out of it and all the lifeboats leave without him. Luckily he finds one last life raft, but he goes the same way as Donovan and fortuitously picks him up, where they find themselves floating further and further away from everyone else and on to their very own deserted island.
Now, this could be considered a first time gay novel, but I think to classify it that way would be a disservice to the book. There is so much more to it than just one guy finding out that he’s attracted to another guy and trying to deal with it. For one thing, Sam doesn’t identify as gay. He doesn’t identify with any label, really. There is a really beautiful passage where he talks about liking men and women and what attracts him to either. He says that he’s attracted to people, but that he emotionally connects with men. I love that whole section because it shows how much time and thought that Sam has put into who he is. It’s not easy to figure all that stuff out at the best of times and being alive is a continuity and you aren’t going to be the same person today as you are a year from now or you were a year ago, so putting a lot of time and energy into figuring yourself out is totally awesome. I love that Claire gives Sam the space to be that person. You don’t see a lot of characters like that, and I really would like to. Donovan is really interesting. He is really confused about what’s going on and his feelings. Sam is right there with him though.
I know no one wants to think that a disaster like a shipwreck could be good for someone, but I think that I could argue a case that it was almost a good thing for Donovan. He’d never had time to just be or to just connect with anyone, and the month spent on a deserted island with someone like Sam would give him the time to just be and to figure out who he is. Sam is a total superstar throughout the thing, and really sort of guides Donovan through the whole process, but not by taking his hand and leading him, more by just being there. Like I said, totally awesome.
OK, that’s all I have to say about this one today. When it releases on 2/3 go check it out or put it on preorder now. Happy reading!