The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud
By Ben Sherwood.
From the back cover:
“Refreshingly romantic, dangerously good fun, hugely addictive…Intelligent, moving and sweetly wise” – Joanne Harris.
Any book that begins with a line such as “I believe in miracles” is good with me. I love a miracle and a bit of faith. The Life and Death of Charlie St. Cloud is a heart-warming, tale of love and loss and the guilt felt by those left behind. I became emotionally attached to the characters in this story within the space of a few pages, the writing is fluid and sincere.
A short synopsis:
Charlie St. Cloud and his younger brother Sam were in a car accident in which they both died. Charlie was successfully resuscitated by Florio, a fireman at the scene, unfortunately Sam was not. In the thirteen years since Sam’s death Charlie stayed in their home town of Marblehead and began working, and living, at the Waterside cemetery where Sam is buried.
After Sundown each night, Charlie heads out to a clearing in the woods by the cemetery to play ball with his brother. After spending time in the ‘in between’ following the car accident all those years ago Charlie has the ability to see the spirits of the departed who have yet to pass over to the other side. Sam stays the same 12year old boy he was when he died and Charlie suffers from immense guilt that Sam will never be a man. He is determined never to break the promise that he made to Sam when they were in the in between – I will never leave you.
Tess Carroll is a young woman getting ready to sail around the world, on a weekend practice sail Tess runs into a storm which starts to cause severe damage to her boat. Out of pride Tess refuses to signal for help, believing that there is still time for her to move out of the storm and effectively save herself. Her boat begins to fill with water and is being constantly battered by strong winds and high seas. She begs her dead father to save her. As she wakes up by her father’s graveside she is happy to be in the one place she feels safe, but she has no recollection as to how she got there.
When Tess and Charlie unexpectedly meet they feel a connection with one another prompting Charlie to invite Tess to dinner. They begin to fall in love, but all is not as it seems. They’re relationship will not be as easy as it should.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the character development was excellent, the spiritual feel was refreshing and it was an interesting look at a subject many would rather avoid. My only issue with this book was that I guessed the plot twist fairly quickly, it wasn’t a major issue and didn’t spoil my reading experience but I do prefer to be surprised. All in all a wonderful book, I will be looking at reading more by this author.
Recommend for fans of Nicholas Sparks and The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom.