THE STRANDING By Kate Sawyer #HappyPublicationDay @CoronetBooks @KateSawyer #TheStranding #BookReview

Available now | Hardback | eBook | audiobook | Published by Coronet |



Ruth lives in the heart of the city. Working, drinking, falling in love: the rhythm of her vivid and complicated life is set against a background hum of darkening news reports from which she deliberately turns away.

When a new romance becomes claustrophobic, Ruth chooses to leave behind the failing relationship, but also her beloved friends and family, and travels to the other side of the world in pursuit of her dream life working with whales in New Zealand. But when Ruth arrives, the news cycle she has been ignoring for so long is now the new reality. Far from home and with no real hope of survival, she finds herself climbing into the mouth of a beached whale alongside a stranger. When she emerges, it is to a landscape that bears no relation to the world they knew before.

When all has been razed to the ground, what does it mean to build a life?

The stranding is a story about the hope that can remain even when the world is changed beyond recognition.


I will be absolutely honest here I wasn’t sure about this book when I read the synopsis, it was out of my comfort zone, and sounded so different from my usual reads, but I had challenged myself this year to try a few new genre’s and different reads. I am so glad I did with this one. But it had still sat waiting for me to read on my pile until it was nearer the publishing date. I can’t believe I waited so long now.

I started reading this straight after finishing another book at midnight, the joys, or not, of being an insomniac. From the Prologue I was hooked and before I knew it I was 100 pages in, before I put the book down to try and get some sleep. It was later the next day before I had a chance to pick it up again but once I did I was determined I wasn’t going to put it down until it was finished, which just happened to be 3.30am the following morning.

This has become a firm read that will be in my top 10 for sure this year. A beautiful, poignant, heartbreaking story. Told in two timelines mostly through the voice of Ruth. Structured around ‘before’ the catastrophic event that changes the course of Ruth’s life forever and ‘After’ the when she meets Nik.

When I initially read the synopsis and it said that Ruth climbs inside the mouth of a beached whale with a stranger it sort of blew my mind. I wasn’t sure how long they were going to be inside the mouth of this huge whale, or even why they would climb in. It actually turned out to be a genius move.

Ruth is a teacher, living in the city, she has a new man in her life Alex, just a slight problem he is married, but Ruth is in love or is she? She has parents who adore her, a best friend Fran who she has known since primary school, as well as a few other friends. Her life at times is complicated. Alex leaves his wife and children and moves in with Ruth at Christmas. Ruth refuses to watch the news despite Alex trying to persuade her to watch.

Ruth had always dreamt of going to New Zealand and working with whales in some way, she had been fascinated with them for years, with a poster of one on her bedroom wall at her parents. She was interested in saving the whales. As her life starts to drift in a way she is not happy with she decides to go and fulfil her dreams. But things don’t go quite the way she had planned.

With great characters that are three dimensional, and believable. Their relationships between friends and family, the memories told. I shed some tears at times.

An unforgettable story, of survival, endurance, resourcefulness, the story of two strangers, who meet after one of the worst things in the world could happen, has happened. A story of hope even if everything you know and love has changed. Starting from scratch.

A definite ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read, one I won’t forget, and one I will read again. A book I will highly recommend. This is an absolutely brilliant debut novel.

I would like to thank @CoronetBooks for my ARC of this book. All opinions and views are my own and in no way influenced.


Kate Sawyer worked as an actor and producer before turning her hand to fiction. She has previously written for theatre and short-film.

Having lived in South London for the best part of two decades she recently returned to East Anglia to have her first child as a solo mother by choice.

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