Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Castle of Water” as Want to Read:
Castle of Water
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Castle of Water

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  5,349 ratings  ·  813 reviews
Two very different people, one very small island.

For Sophie Ducel, her honeymoon in French Polynesia was intended as a celebration of life. The proud owner of a thriving Parisian architecture firm, co-founded with her brilliant new husband, Sophie had much to look forward to—including a visit to the island home of her favorite singer, Jacques Brel.

For Barry Bleecker, the

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 4th 2017 by Thomas Dunne Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,349 ratings  ·  813 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Castle of Water
Miranda Reads
Aug 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Read this one for TCE Book Club!
And so it came to pass that two utterly disparate lives happened to overlap ... bound together on an uninhabited island some 2,359 miles from Hawaii, 4,622 miles from Chile, and 533 miles from the nearest living soul.
Barry, a young banker, decides one day to quit his job and journey to the tropics like his artistic muse, Paul Gauguin.

Sophie, a French architect, is on her honeymoon in French Polynesia. She and her hubby are adventuring in the isolated isles.
Always Pouting
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Barry is a banker who recently decided to quit his job and is on a small plane flying to visit an island where his idol was buried. On the plane is a french couple on their honeymoon one of which is Sophie, headed to visit Sophie's favorite singer's home island. The small plane ends up crashing and stranding both Barry and Sophie on a deserted island where they try to survive until someone comes to rescue them. I really really loved the writing in this novel, the narration and prose really just ...more
Dane Huckelbridge
Sep 29, 2016 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Greetings and salutations!

It seems that other authors have commented on their own books, so I suppose I will do the same, with apologies in advance if that's weird or unsavory. I'll try to be as brief and sincere as possible. Forgive me.

I've always loved "literary" fiction (Nabokov, Borges, and Fitzgerald in particular), although these days, it seems that term has connotations of something that's boring at best, or at worst, inaccessibly high-brow. I've also always enjoyed stories with adventuro
Larry H
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it

I'm between 4 and 4.5 stars here.

Dane Huckelbridge, look what you made me do!

Sophie is a French architect. She and her new husband, Etienne, have spent the first few days of their honeymoon in Tahiti, and now plan to spend the second leg on of of the Marquesas Islands, specifically the one where the French entertainer Jacques Brel—who is Sophie's favorite singer ever—spent his last days.

Barry is, or until just recently, was, an investment banker in New York. The life he led in high finance isn'
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was surprisingly riveting going beyond the adventure and survival story and I loved it! How much? I read it in two sittings and would probably have done so in one if not for life. It speaks to the indomitability of the human spirit--two strangers finding a way to endure both physically and mentally on a deserted island--but it goes beyond the premise and gives us so much more.

This is storytelling at its finest with a rhythm that never faltered and a style that I found appealing. Sometimes t
Janelle Janson
All of my reviews can be found on

I read this novel SO incredibly fast. The story is so beautiful and the writing is EXQUISITE.

Sophie Ducel, a French architect, is on her honeymoon in French Polynesia with her brilliant new husband, Etienne. Sophie wants to visit the island home of her favorite singer, Jacques Brel. The newly married couple ventures off to stay for a couple of days.

Barry Bleecker takes the same trip for a new beginning. He quit his Manhattan job i
May 22, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-for-me, fiction
I’m not even entirely sure where to start with this one.

The story begins with a plane crash, after a tiny aircraft crashes somewhere in French Polynesia shortly after setting off. The sole survivors are Barry, a guy from New York who has upped and left his job and taken a spur of the moment trip to the area because he loves Ganguin; and Sophie, a French architect who was there on her honeymoon. Sophie’s new husband, Etienne, dies in the crash, along with the pilot.

So I guess this follows a sort
Jun 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Trust me: you've heard this elevator pitch before: Man and woman are stranded on a desert island after a plane crash. (The guy manages to keep his clothes, but the woman washes up to shore in her black bra. ...Guess if this story is written by a man or a woman.) They hate each other at first.... but then of course they love each other.

As it happens, I totally dig this elevator pitch. Sign me up for a "survivor at sea" tale any day. Sprinkle in a love story, and I'll bump that book to the top of
Sonja Arlow
I knew from the start where the story would end up and I think it’s a case of how the story is told and not the actual story that made this a good reading experience.

At first glance this is not a new story and one that at times almost almost felt too mundane while at other times hovered on the verge of being brilliant.

This is a modern castaway story that kicks off with a plane crash in the middle of nowhere, the only two survivors a mediocre financial sales consultant and a newlywed. They have
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an unassuming little book, the sum of which somehow manages to exceed its parts and become something unexpectedly extraordinary. There's nothing terribly original about this book's premise - a plane crashes, two strangers need to learn how to survive together - but reading Castle of Water is like taking a breath of fresh air. I was surprised by how much I loved it.

Barry Bleecker one day decides to leave his corporate Manhattan job and travel to the grave of his favorite painter, Paul Gau
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Genre: Literary Fiction

Castle of Water is a fresh take on the traditional castaway tale. Two characters will have to survive together after their plane crashes in the middle of the South Pacific. Barry Bleecker intended to inaugurate a fresh start. He had his sights set on fine art, turning away from his dull life in Manhattan. The second survivor is Sophie, a French woman. The purpose of her trip to French Polynesia was to celebrate her honeymoon. She and her smart new husband built
Rhonda Ruff
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness! Loved loved this book! Funny heartbreaking and unputdownable! This story will stay with me for awhile! Such and easy read too!
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a 5 out of 5 stars novel for me; as near a perfect emotional ride as you can take. 

How do you review something that blew you away? How do you add words to someone's creation that has prose that should be considered illegal? So beautiful that it drips like honey- thick and sweet- teasing and tempting all at once. A beatific message that you want to rush into and away from all at once, like a whitecap on a tortuous sea. One that sends your emotions simultaneously soaring wi
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Four things...

1. A special shout out to Victoria & Roxanne. Their reviews convinced me to dive into this book without hesitation. Thanks gals

2. Similar plot lines had me flashing back to ON THE ISLAND by Tracey Graves, which certainly differed in writing style and voice, but whose book I may have ultimately loved just a bit more than this one because.....

3. Damn! I was right there with Sophie & Barry through all the hunger, danger & hopelessness and then, WTF? Flash forward 12 years? No!!! Dane
Sep 19, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

I just don't know how to feel about this one. There are so many loose ends that I need fixing. I've read so many great reviews that I keep thinking... did I read a different book?!?!

What I can say is this... I didn't love the beginning. It took me a little longer (until part 2) to really understand the format and writing style that Huckelbridge was using. Once I got used to it, I was able to read in awe of his literary capabilities. However, I never fully loved the story. I loved Barr
Kaytee Cobb
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reread on audio in August 2018. Still loved every second.

please hold while I finish wiping my eyes and blowing my nose....... (Mary, you didn't warn me!).........

okay, ahem. so, Barry goes down in a tiny plane among the Tahitian islands, along with two other passengers and the pilot. He and newly - married Sophie (whose husband went the way of the pilot) wash up on the same shore. Dane Huckelbridge is an amazing writer. his prose is beautiful without being anywhere near overdone or bourgeoisie.
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Y'ALL. Y'all. Y'all. Y'alllllll. Maybe I should start by telling you that when I finished this book I was crying so hard that Jimmy almost had to pull the car over. I'm not kidding. It broke me. BROKE ME. This book is so dang good. And so much to take, I thought my heart might burst. My only issue is that Huckelbridge wrapped the end up wayyyy too fast. I wish he would have slowed down a little bit because it was a little jarring. But I loved it so much. I loved the characters, I loved the story ...more
What would you do if you were stranded on a deserted island with someone you just met a few hours ago but couldn't stand? This debut novel by the phenomenal storyteller, Dane Huckelbridge, is beautifully written! It's incredibly emotional - I laughed and cried! It was a pleasure listening to Max Winter narrate this audio-book. Definitely a 5-star story! I highly recommend it to everyone! ...more
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
A longer review is available on my blog:

Castle of Water was such a sweet little book. I am not usually a fan of romance novels but this book was recommended to me and I thought that I should give it a chance. Fortunately for me, this book had more to love than just romance. I loved reading about how the couple make the island their home. Some of Sophie and Barry's creations seemed a bit fantastical (it is unlikely that an architect and a someone who works
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have hardly any words for how deeply I loved this story. I was skeptical at first that it would be for me, but I am SO glad I picked it up. In my top five of this year, hands down. Read it– trust me.
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
Great way to start the new year - this book is fantastic. Heartbreaking but a beautiful story.
Dayle (the literary llama)
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I received this book from the author in exchange for a honest review.

I don't accept books straight from the author very often as a matter of course. This isn't a snobbish or elitist response, it's quite simply because I don't have the time to read every book or even photograph every book (for my Instagram) and I have to draw the line somewhere. But when CASTLE OF WATER showed up in an email, I was compelled to read it, to need it. There was something about the synopsis and packaging that spoke t
Kate Olson
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Review to come - I need to ponder this one for awhile before trying to write about it......
Ali Edwards
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I added this to my Kindle this month after reading a review from a friend who said to drop everything and read it now. After finishing a couple other books this month I started this one and didn't really have any idea what it was about or what was going to happen. I loved it. ...more
Megan C.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
*Quick and dirty summary*
Newly married Sophie is on her way to the last half of an idyllic honeymoon with her husband.  Barry just walked away from a lucrative job in a New York finance firm to pursue a career in art, and is traveling to the South Pacific island where Gaugin, his artistic inspiration, once resided.  The small plane they are all on crashes into the ocean and Sophie and Barry, the only survivors, find themselves washed up on the shores of a remote and deserted island.  There, thes
Dec 15, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was just okay. Barry and Sophie were charming characters. The writing was sharp, precise and generally flowed well.
The story created such a perfect storm, however as a reader I was so well-sheltered that the devastating impact barely touched me. Everything just felt too perfect to fall in love with. It was a story of Barry and Sophie's three-year struggle to survive on a deserted island, but thanks to both of them being master of all trades, the struggles were largely diluted.
The boo
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
Barry and Sophie are the sole survivors of a small plane crash. Due to some shady decisions by the pilot, they are completely off course and stranded on a small island with little to no hope of ever being found. Clashing personalities make for hard living in such close quarters and soon they must work together in order to survive.

I absolutely love the author's writing style. I felt like I was sitting with someone over a glass of fine whiskey and being told a story. It took me until about page 1
Madeleine (Top Shelf Text)
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Note: Top Shelf Text received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own!

Before we begin, I'll just say this:

Please read this book.

If you trust me, and trust that I will not lead you astray, then please put Castle of Water on hold at the library. Or go right now to your preferred book-buying destination and secure yourself a copy, because this book is going on my top ten list this year and it deserves to be in the hands of more readers.

If that's
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Well! That was certainly hard to put down.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
An American and a French couple board a flight and the plane goes down. Barry and Sophie, the two survivors could not be more different. However the two must find some sort of common ground if they want to survive on the uncharted island that they end up on. This novel was very well written and contained memorable characters as well as a nice mix of drama, humor and adventure. If you read this you will want to find out whether or not these two will make it or not.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Cancel the Wedding
  • The Net Beneath Us
  • Blood Solace (Blood Grace, #2)
  • Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives
  • Powerful Deception
  • Remarkably Bright Creatures
  • Nora Goes Off Script
  • High Spirits
  • The Measure
  • Pardon Falls (Phoenix Book 2)
  • Phoenix (Book 1)
  • Prospera Pass (Phoenix Series Book 3)
  • The Mortal Instruments Special Edition Box Set (The Mortal Instruments, #1-6)
  • Lessons in Chemistry
  • Comfort Me with Apples
  • Take My Hand
  • It Started With Paris
  • Thank You for Listening
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Dane Huckelbridge was born and raised in the American Middle West. He holds a degree from Princeton University, and his fiction and essays have appeared in a variety of journals, including Tin House, Literary Hub, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, and The New Republic. His debut novel CASTLE OF WATER was published by St. Martin's Press in 2017, and his book NO BEAST SO FIERCE was published b ...more

News & Interviews

It’s hard to believe the year 2022 is already coming to an end. That went fast, didn’t it? Still, there’s just enough time to wedge in a...
19 likes · 2 comments
“He smiles and shakes his head, a smile that’s bewildered and content and still pursed by that same tender sadness that visited him by the arch, that trails him as doggedly as his gratitude and his guilt … the wonder of it all, the unknowable mystery, to serve as fleshy custodian to such a fragile flame.” 3 likes
“Surely an unremarkable moment for most, but for the man, it is a parting tinged with a tender sadness—he has noticed over the years that even the briefest and most incidental interactions can, with the appreciation of time, take on far richer shades of meaning. It is a realization for which he is eternally grateful.” 2 likes
More quotes…