Maurice and Maralyn: A Whale, a Shipwreck, a Love Story by Sophie Elmhirst


Book of the Month: March 2024

Reviewed by Valerie:

The extraordinary quiet, determined heroism which kept Maurice and Maralyn alive for the four months that they were adrift on a small raft on the Pacific Ocean after their precious boat was capsized by a whale within minutes. Their survival of their lives, sanity and marriage is miraculous.

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Maurice and Maralyn couldn’t be more different. He is as cautious and awkward as she is charismatic and forceful. It seems an unlikely romance, but it works. Bored of 1970s suburban life, Maralyn has an idea: sell the house, build a boat, leave England – and its oil crisis, industrial strikes and inflation – forever. It is hard work, turning dreams into reality, but finally they set sail for New Zealand. Then, halfway there, their beloved boat is struck by a whale. It sinks within an hour, and the pair are cast adrift in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. On their tiny raft, over the course of days, then months, their love is put to the test. Filled with danger, spirit and tenderness, this is a book about human connection and the human condition; about how we survive – not just at sea, but in life.

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