Bluebottle by Belinda Castles
Published by Allen & Unwin
Date: 23 May 2018
R.R.P. $29.99




I don’t know where to begin with this book.  It is a little different to any adult fiction book I have shared with you thus far. I thought I knew from the very beginning where this story was going and I just wanted to keep reading to prove myself right…I ended up proving myself wrong.

The author Belinda Castles certainly made me feel certain I knew the direction of the story, up until the very end.  This could go one of two ways for readers, one being that the reader thinks they know what is going to happen so gives up on it, or they will go the way I did.  I am glad that I plugged on with it, and towards the middle I couldn’t put it down as I wanted to see that I was right.  I loved being wrong, It was pertinent that Castles surprised me and took it to another place, an unexpected one.

Bluebottle is essentially about family and what comes with that, never perfect, some more connected than others.  There are times that families have secrets, that breakdown but stay together, that walk with trepidation.  There are other families that are all laughter and joy, that have peace but also the odd misdirection.  Also, there are simply others that are feeling the heaviness of loss, the weariness of pain, and brokenness.  This is Bluebottle and the Bright family, so much tightly squeezed into one family, about ready to burst.

Belinda Castles is descriptive in her writing and I got a great sense of where they lived and actually pictured a place that was in my home state that was very similar.  That really connected me to the story and I felt the familiarity of sand, sea water smell, the corner store and the oasis of the beach.  It is a gift to be able to take a person to a familiar place in your writing.

The characters are all great and developed well, however I really felt the addition of Don’s girlfriend, Monica, was a distraction and not a welcome one.  She didn’t see to fit the overall picture, in fact I felt her character was a little overdone.  Jack however really pulled at my heart, from the very first pages I felt his vulnerability and disconnection, I wanted much more for him because he seemed like such a smart and emotional guy.  I would love to see a follow up on Jack as I think his character still has a lot to say, and has a journey of his own that he needs to complete before he is whole.

Overall, I would recommend this book because it keeps you on edge, intrigues you and has the element of surprise.  You feel a kinship with some of the characters and like you have always been looking into their lives.  The window is open at the very beginning and slowly shuts as you turn each of the pages, and once it has pulled you into its walls you won’t want to put it down.

Thank you Allen & Unwin for the opportunity to read and review this book.