Floating Island, Paperback Book

Floating Island Paperback

5 out of 5 (1 rating)


They say it's coming back. Before long the moon will find a shadow under the lake.

Bubbles will rise and the shadow will spread to a stain.

Then, in the night, in the dark, the floating island will surface.

Here again. As it was a year ago. The day Tom died. It's almost a year since fifteen-year-old Matt and his younger brother, Tom, rowed out to the island.

Matt, confined to a wheelchair and haunted by nightmares, can't remember what happened.

Nor does he want to. Only when Sarah Bell, a tough, Geordie girl with a no-nonsense approach, takes up the newly vacant position of Matt's carer, do things begin to change for him.At first, resentful of her presence, he tries to drive her away, but she isn't like the other carers.

She isn't like anyone he's ever met. Sarah's attention meanwhile, is focussed on Robert, Matt's psychiatrist.

Mature, attractive and a world away from everything she knows, he seems to be exactly what she needs.

But Robert, highly skilled at solving other people's problems, is struggling to deal with his own. As the floating island returns to the surface of the lake, Robert forces Matt to confront the truth about his brother's death, but also, unknowingly, exposes him to an adult world of passion, guilt, and betrayal...


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I loved this novel and all of it's characters. Likened to DH Lawrence in style by Helen Dunmore, Anna Ralph's debut novel is difficult to put down. Set in the Loweswater, Matt Logan is wheelchair bound having had an accident which resulted in the death of his younger brother Tom. Matt and Tom had wanted to plant a flag on the floating island that appears near Cat Bells when summers have been hot and the water levels have gone down. The Lake District is a lovely location for this novel, offering a beautiful backdrop for descriptive narrative. Matt is a teenager living with his mother who works full time but also manages two holiday cottages on their property. Matt needs a carer and in walks Sarah, only a few years older than him. The novel explores their developing relationship and Sarah's developing relationships with other characters. Whilst the novel centres around Matt there is another plot involving Sarah and it is good to see how the two were handled differently. Anna Ralph really had an understanding of how to give different 'voices' to the characters. Whilst narrated by Matt, Sarah's voice is still dominant and I enjoyed reading and learning about her just as much as I did Matt. Overall it is well written and no word is wasted. It's continually good right up until the very last word and I finished the novel completely satisifed and could've happily continued reading about the next instalment in their lives. It is rich with emotion and vocabulary, a novel that I found difficult to put down. ralph handles the obsessiveness and emotion well, and gives a depth of feeling to her characters - you will be able to imagine them vividly. A great novel, one I'd highly recommend.