PAGES: 358


YEAR: 2012




When a flood destroys Gavin Weald’s home, tearing apart his family and his way of life, he doesn’t know how to continue. A year later, he returns to his rebuilt home and tries to start again, but when the new rainy season arrives, so do his daughter’s nightmares about the torrents, and life there becomes unbearable. So father and daughter – and their dog – embark upon a voyage to make peace with the waters. Their journey will take them far from their Caribbean island home, into other unknown harbours and eventually across a massive ocean. They will sail through archipelagos, encounter the grandeur of the sea, and meet with the challenges and surprises of the natural world. A miraculous future lies ahead of them, unknown territories wait to be discovered. But it will take more than an ocean to put the memory of the flood behind them…


The dog mumbles something under her breath.



Archipelago is a library book. It’s the second of three novels by Roffey I have checked out. I read it in one sitting.

I thought Archipelago was a fantastic novel. I had a great time reading it. I felt like Roffey had taken me on holiday somewhere beautiful, fantastic and exotic that I didn’t want to leave. I loved the characters and the setting and the story.

Archipelago is partly set in Trinidad like The White Woman on the Green Bicycle and most of the action takes place in surrounding Caribbean islands. I loved the sense of place Roffey created in Archipelago. She brought the Caribbean to vibrant, beautiful and wonderful life. I could smell the sea air. I could feel the sand between my toes. I could feel the heat of the sun on my face. I could taste the exotic food. I took me about four hours to read Archipelago and during that time I felt like I had been taken on a holiday of a lifetime. Roffey creates a rich, beautiful landscape in Archipelago. I fell in love with all of the places Gavin and Ocean visited. I loved all the little glimpses Roffey gave of different cultures.

I thought characterisation was excellent in Archipelago. The main characters are Gavin and his daughter, Ocean who’s six. You spend a lot of time with them. I got to know them well. Roffey does a great job of turning them into flesh and blood people. I felt Gavin’s need to escape from the pain caused by the death of his infant son in a flood a year ago and his wife’s becoming catatonic with grief. I felt Ocean’s confusion over their sudden escape and her need for her mother to comfort her and make everything all right. Gavin and Ocean encounter various people on their journey including a woman, Phoebe who helps them out as a skipper on the boat for a few days. Each of the minor characters is very well written. I loved them all a little.

I think Roffey offers a very unique novel with Archipelago. Gavin is struggling to get on with life a year after the death of his infant son. His wife is catatonic and his pain is made worse when he moved back into their rebuilt house. He packs for him and his daughter and sets sail in his rickety old boat. Most of the novel chronicles their journey across the Caribbean. I loved the concept of Archipelago. Who hasn’t wanted to ditch their crappy life and head off into the sunset?

Some moments in Archipelago brought tears to my eyes as Gavin and Ocean start to come to terms with the flood. One moment in particular broke my heart. Suzy, their ageing dog is knocked off the boat and is drowned at sea. I shed buckets.

I loved the ending of Archipelago. Gavin decides he’s run far enough away and needs to go back to the real world. He phones his mother in law and learns his wife has woke up. He speaks to her and tells her he’s on his way home with Ocean. Hankies all round!



Up next: Sun Dog by Monique Roffey. This is the last Roffey novel I have checked out of the library. It’s her first novel. It’s also the last in my current pile so I will be making a trip to check out some more soon. 

sun dog

Peter Coleborn, the publisher and editor-in-chief of The Alchemy Press ( approached me and asked me to review three upcoming short story anthologies. I agreed and am working my way through ‘Astrologica: Stories of the Zodiac’. Peter provided PDF copies and I have uploaded these to my kobo.



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