Sailing Paradise


5.00 · 1 ratings · Published: Jun 9th, 2013 {{ book.ratingTitle }}
Sailing Paradise: A Romantic Caribbean Adventure

The heat of the Caribbean is felt through the heart of shipbuilder Luke Nordstrom as he sails his traditional schooner, Twilight, to the Virgin Islands. Abandoned as a baby by his mother and raised by an alcoholic father, Luke prefers the unencumbered life of a sea gypsy. The only semi-close relationship he has had is with his Navajo first mate, Jonas Whitehawk, who served as his gunner aboard the helicopter Luke piloted in Viet Nam.
On St. Thomas, Luke meets Ricki Long, a talented singer/songwriter and chef extraordinaire. Music is Ricki’s life. Her ability is renown on the island that dances to a Reggae beat. Having had her heart broken by a previous fiancée, Ricki desires commitment. When Jonas is struck with debilitating seizures at the beginning of the charter season, he asks Ricki to take his place as first mate.
Chartering deepens the relationship between Luke and Ricki. They provide a week of pampered service, historical overviews of the islands and their inhabitants, gourmet food, and charter experiences of a lifetime on the sugar-spun beaches and in the aquamarine waters of the American Paradise for their guests. Luke discovers Ricki is the foundation of his happiness and Twilight’s success. However, the partnership is tested by Luke’s reserve and trepidation as he learns how to love. Multiple events test his mettle from hurricanes to Carnival.
The multicultural society of St. Thomas provides memorable characters and background for the novel. Seafaring vernacular interspersed throughout the narrative will delight the armchair and active sailor alike, and actual place names give the story a travel-log familiarity as demonstrated by John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Hurricanes, migrating humpback whales, steel drum beach bars, the Piña Colada Regatta, and St. Thomas’s week-long Carnival add authenticity and excitement to the experience of island life, yet all are viewed by the heretofore unheard voice of the skipper of a charterboat. Through their lighthearted antics, support characters such as Crazy Alice and Lynette Du Pres give the reader insight into the pleasures, promise, and pitfalls of life afloat in a Caribbean playground.
The author and her husband built the 75'LOA schooner Satori in Los Angeles and sailed to St. Thomas where they chartered for 14 years. Many of the adventures portrayed in the novel were developed from actual experiences form their wild, wacky world of chartering in its heyday.

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