Book Review: The Death & Life of Charlie St Cloud by Ben Sherwood

What’s it about?

As a boy on the verge of adulthood, Charlie St Cloud narrowly survived a car crash that killed Sam, his little brother.

Years later, Charlie has taken a job tending the lawns and monuments of the cemetery in the pretty New England town where Sam is buried. Graced with an extraordinary gift after surviving the accident, Charlie can still see, talk to and even play ball with Sam’s spirit. But his single-minded devotion to his brother’s memory leaves his friends fearing that Charlie will never recover from his loss or embrace his future.

Then into his carefully ordered life comes Tess Carroll, a captivating, adventurous woman in training for a solo sailing trip around the globe. Charlie and Tess discover a beautiful and uncommon connection that, after a violent storm at sea, leads to a race against time, a charged encounter and a desperate choice between death and life, the past and the present, holding on and letting go.

My thoughts

I’d picked this to read as I’d recently watched the movie which I quite enjoyed. Normally, I’d have read the book first and then picked the movie to bits afterwards with all the changes and differences that tends to follow so this was a new experience for me 🙂

This is a charming, moving tear jerker of a book spanning the romance, fantasy and paranormal genres. Because of his near death experience Charlie is able to continue his relationship with Sam everyday at sundown and because of the deep bond between them neither brother wants to miss a day and let go. It’s a really nicely written story of love, friendship and hope with a good twist.

When Charlie meets Tess, it’s the first time Charlie considers missing his meeting with Sam, but then Sam and Tess meet and everything works out. Without wanting to give the twist away I was a bit unsure about the physical relationship between Charlie and Tess, it feels a little weird but you’ll have to read it or watch it to find out why. Suspend your disbelief…unless you believe in ghosts and the afterlife.

This is an easy read, however there were some words tucked in there that I’d never heard before, such as diaphanous, quietus and careening. Diaphanous sounds angelic and mysterious, I’m off to Google now.

There are a few differences between the book and the movie, in particular Charlie and Sam’s ages. Charlie and Sam not big boaters in the book yet in the movie they’re out winning a race in the opening scenes. Mum’s occupation is different and it’s Charlie’s car in the movie but ‘borrowed’ in the book. Not deal breaker changes but you do wonder why they producers/directors change things that already work…just saying…who am I?!

The Afterword by Florio and believing in miracles was a really touching finish. Read this if you like romantic stories with a twist, such as The Time Traveller’s Wife and anything by Nicholas Sparks 🙂

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Connect with the author Ben Sherwood

 Website | Twitter


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