I read a lot and always enjoy reading stories which give clear pictures of wildlife around the world and which engage with some of the issues facing that wildlife. I enjoyed reading A Drop in the Ocean by Jenni Ogden. Here's my review:
Anna Fergusson is forced to give up a career in medical research when the funding runs out. She takes up an opportunity to live on a tiny island off the coast of Australia to look after a tiny campsite and write her memoirs. The campsite is in the middle of breeding colonies of wedge tailed shearwaters and noddy terns and is a favourite nesting site for sea turtles.
There are wonderful descriptions of nature here, from the eerie and disturbing night time singing of the shearwaters to Anna being on the beach when sea turtles come onshore to lay their eggs:
"Then I saw a dark shape pop out of the sea, only a short stone's throw from where I was sitting. I could see her bright eye in the moonlight then her head disappeared and I stayed still and quiet. Up her head popped again, and this time her great shell followed. I hardly dared breathe as she hauled herself onto the sand and then lolloped on her great flippers up the gentle incline of the beach. Every four or five lollops she would stop, her eyelids closing over her big eyes and then she would start again. I felt exhausted just watching her. Exhausted but exhilarated."
There are beautiful descriptions of snorkelling in the coral reefs too, poignant to read, given the current perilous condition of the Great Barrier Reef.
A section of the book takes place in Shetland, which I read particularly closely given we were just about to go to Shetland ourselves!
But this isn't just a book full of beautiful descriptions, it's also a moving story about how Anna becomes involved in the scientific studies of the turtles, becomes part of the local social circle, overcomes her fear of diving and comes to terms, finally with the death of her father. And will she be able to admit to her feelings for Tom, the team leader for the turtle surveys? Throw in a cyclone, an early birth, which Anna has to attend as midwife, health issues, family secrets and professional jealousies and this is an engrossing and satisfying tale, that will linger in the reader's mind.
A Drop in the Ocean by Jenni Ogden, published by She Writes Press
Disclaimer: I was sent a free e-copy of this book to review.
Meanwhile outside the window here in Edinburgh, the blackbirds and chaffinches are singing, the collared doves are calling and the occasional swift flies past (not as many as there used to be until recently).