Genres: Historical Romance, YA Historical Romance
Published by iOnlineShopping.com
Released on January 3, 2019
Source: Free Book
After just finishing The Blue Lagoon for the Classics Readathon, I was chomping at the bit to keep going with the story after that stunner of an ending so I chose the next book in the trilogy for another readathon entry. The Garden of God picked up right where the other left off.
For those who are considering the Blue Lagoon Trilogy, I will have to give spoilers for the first book though, in truth, a reading of the blurb will do that anyway just because of the way the plot happens.
At the start, The Garden of God picked up the story with what became of the other two boats that escaped the ship when Paddy, Em, and Dick’s dinghy got separated. Mr. Lestrange survived his illness and never stopped looking for his son and niece. He did all he could and eventually, years later, had a promising lead. Sadly, just as he finds the boat with his son and niece, he finds them dead and a small child who is still alive. From that point, he needs to see the island where they survived and lived so he can know how things went for them over the years.
The story returns to the island, which the sailors call Palm Island though it isn’t on any of the charts. With a sailor, Kearney and the small child the sailors have dubbed Dick Em because that is all he will say, Lestrange chooses to remain on the island because he is convinced his son and niece will be found there. Kearney volunteered to stay with the gently mad man and the little boy when the search ship sailed away and promised to return in a year. It never came back. Events take their course and this includes a Kanaka from the closest island being rescued from the sea and marooned. The girl Kanaka is about the same age as Dick Em and he is fascinated by his first female that he can remember and her odd rituals and ways that are different from what Kearney has taught him. There are further adventures caused by man and nature of a more breathtaking sort than ever came in The Blue Lagoon.
While the story is still that of isolation and survival and does involve a young man who has grown up isolated on the island with the skills and personality to thrive in such conditions, the plot has expanded and the conflict was more fierce to include the nearby island’s culture through the girl who is mysterious even by Kanaka ways who ends up on Palm Island. I liked the Blue Lagoon, but I loved The Garden of God. Dick is curious, smart, and brave, but also clever with survival living and taking care of himself and is the match for the supposed native girl who has her own curious history that the reader is given in her opening narration, but the girl herself was too young to remember. She was trained by the tribal witch doctor and has her own notions about Kearney and Dick Em that aren’t safe for them though they hardly realize it. But, as time passes, both young people have adventures together involving the elements, nature, a warring tribe, and visiting ships and they start to see each other differently and feel things that confuse them like understanding and attraction.
Like I said, I loved this one more than the first. It was written many years after and I could see the author’s writing had matured, but also he chose to infuse more action moments and suspense to balance out the ethereal ‘what if’ ponderings that filled the first book. And, while the first book left the reader hanging a bit at the end, this one closed out the storyline neatly so the reader could stop here or choose to go on with the last of the trilogy.
It was a wonderful classic island survival adventure, two protagonists that were brought up isolated and innocent about the outside world and people, and their ongoing learning about that outside world, themselves, and each other. Again, it is appropriate for Young Adult Classic or Adults the way it is written.
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