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The Castaways

by Lucy Clarke

Thriller and Suspense Books of the Month Crime and Mystery Family Drama Star Books

LoveReading Expert Review of The Castaways

A compulsive, enthralling and beautifully written psychological thriller that should go to the top of your reading lists

Oh my word, as I sank into the pages of this brilliantly addictive psychological thriller I actually forgot that I was reviewing and just read for pure pleasure. Sisters Lori and Erin are travelling to a remote part of Fiji for a holiday, after an argument before the final inter-island flight, only one leaves on the small plane, which then goes missing.

Lucy Clarke takes psychological thrillers to a whole new level. I adored You Let Me In, and The Castaways now ensures she is a must-read author for me. Set in two time frames, as the story progresses ‘Then’ inches, then hurtles towards ‘Now’. Each change in time frame felt like a hammer blow before I was immediately gathered up in the story again.

The most exquisite tension builds and thrums with increasing intensity. The release of information is so clever, almost teasing, and I balanced on a razor sharp wire of awareness. I felt a deep connection with the sisters, their relationship was wonderfully complex yet tangible. If you love intelligent, yet hugely entertaining psychological thrillers, then put this to the top of your list.

Chosen as a LoveReading Star Book, The Castaways really is the most compulsive, enthralling and beautifully written tale, it’s a 2021 sure-fire winner.

The LoveReading LitFest invited Lucy Clarke to the festival to talk about The Castaways.

You can view the event by subscribing to the LitFest programme for as little as £6 per month - or you can pay per view. For just £2, go, see Lucy in conversation with Paul Blezard and watch them talking all about this absolute belter of a psychological thriller. You won't be disappointed!


Check out a preview of the event here



Liz Robinson

The Castaways Synopsis

A SECRET BEACH. A HOLIDAY OF A LIFETIME. WISH YOU WERE HERE? THINK AGAIN... 'We're tipping it as one of 2021's best reads' Marie Claire 'Totally addictive, clever and atmospheric' Erin Kelly 'Tense, unnerving and emotional' C. L. Taylor 'Packed full of intrigue' Heidi Perks You wake on a beautiful, remote island. Sparkling blue seas, golden sunsets, barely a footprint in the sand. Yet this is no ordinary escape. Next to the wreck of a plane, a stranger paces. Another sharpens a knife, scoring a list of the dead onto a palm tree. Others watch from the shadows of a campfire - all with untold stories, and closely-guarded secrets... This is no ordinary holiday. This is no ordinary island. This is no ordinary beach read. Gripping, twisty and full of sun-soaked atmosphere, THE CASTAWAYS will whisk you far away to the island - and never let you go. Everyone's talking about the hottest thriller for 2021: 'Wow... Beautifully paced, tense and twisty' B A Paris 'A twisty, wonderful heartfelt story about sibling love, this is the author's best yet' Prima 'A beautifully written, emotional and intelligent thriller. Full of atmosphere and tension as well as brilliantly drawn characters that I cared about. I loved it!' Claire Douglas 'Wow wow wow! I've enjoyed The Castaways more than any book for years!' Netgalley reviewer 'The Castaways is a genuine page-turner - a taut, utterly compelling tale that will make you wonder just how far you'd be willing to go to find out the truth' T M Logan 'Fantastic thriller, full of twists and turns!' Netgalley reviewer 'This deft thriller is as emotionally intelligent on the complex dynamic between sisters as it is compulsive. I stayed up way too late to finish it' Kate Riordan 'I was hooked from the very first page' Netgalley reviewer 'I found this the perfect piece of escapism' Netgalley reviewer

About This Edition

ISBN: 9780008340919
Publication date: 8th July 2021
Author: Lucy Clarke
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 400 pages
Collections: 2021 Preview - Exciting New Books on the Horizon, 100+ Female Led Crime Fiction,
Primary Genre Thriller and Suspense
Other Genres:
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What To Read After The Castaways

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The Castaways Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

Couldn’t put it down. Wasn’t what I was expecting from the teaser on the front cover at all, but I really enjoyed it.

I whizzed through this book, it was completely unputdownable. The way it was divided into Lori’s story and Erins meant that you were just completely invested and needed to keep reading to find out what was coming next. It seemed that every chapter left you on a cliffhanger.

The descriptions of the Fijian islands and the climate made you feel that you were actually there in the stifling heat, getting eaten alive by the insects. I do think as it was really a story about being stranded on a desert island that more could have been made of the desperate struggle for survival. There was lots mentioned about losing weight and hunger, but the main emphasis was on the relationships between the castaways.It does shine a light on how the human condition changes when survival and maternal instincts kick in.

I did see the ending coming from a mile off, but to be honest, when you’ve been invested in the story so much I really don’t think it would be fair to have any other ending.

I enjoyed this book so much, a great summer read I think.

Amanda O’Dwyer

A gripping, tense thriller.

The Castaways by Lucy Clarke is about a group of people who landed on a deserted island and what happens to them. The chapters are split between two sisters, Erin who was suppose to be on the flight but wasn't and Lori who was.

I found it to be such a gripping read, one more chapter turning into several! The atmosphere was tense and so well written. I really felt like I was there. I really wanted to know what had happened and I wasn't disappointed with the ending it was a good ending. A gripping tense thriller that doesn't disappoint.

I've only read one other of Lucy's books will definitely be reading more!

Cheryl Watson

The Castaways by Lucy Clarke is not your typical desert island novel. So many twists and turns along the way. The main characters, sisters Lori and Erin are totally believable and their anguish makes you want to keep reading in the hope it will all end harmoniously. Brilliant novel, thoroughly recommend!

A plane crash involving one of two sisters, the other searching for answers, a desert island with no hope of escape or rescue.

When I began reading I thought it was going to be a typical 'castaway - heroine gets rescued' type of book, but I was wrong! So many twists and turns to keep you engrossed, with survival being at the heart of the story.

I found this book easy to read, and even easier to pick up and not put down! I read in within two days and was sad when it ended. Erin and Lori the two sisters who were so close are separated by this dreadful crash - was it pilot error or a fault with the plane? Is Lori dead or alive, if dead how did she die, did she survive the crash only to perish on the island. The descriptions of the other passengers, some of whom died are brief but totally human and you can imagine their characters. I became totally engrossed in the experience of survival of the fittest and even though desert island novels have been done before this gives it a breath of fresh air. Having finished this book I have now purchased another of Lucy Clarke's novels to try, I hope it's as good as this one!

Glenda Worth

A clever and twisty psychological thriller that will keep you glued to every page.

A psychological thriller that's brilliantly crafted. One of the best things I've read for a while. It explores the relationship between two sisters and what happens when they should both be on a plane but only one of them makes the flight, which then goes missing. Perhaps survivor guilt then turns into an obsession to find the truth about what happened. The mystery of why the small aircraft crashed, and where, builds beautifully. The characters and locations are vivid. There's tension on every page and I flew through it in a couple of days, it's such a page turner. Loved it. Not quite the ending I expected either.

Lorraine Blencoe

Best book I have read in a long time. Unpredictable. Highly recommended!

This was the best book I have read in a long-time and I think it will be a top bestseller for 2021.

Castaways is a thriller about seven strangers ending up on a remote island. I liked the style of writing which alternates between two sisters and their complex and tense relationship. They are desperately searching for something, when one sister is lost in a plane crash without trace. As well as alternating between the two sisters, the story switches between then and now over a two year period.

There is a lot going on which kept me interested throughout. It was really well written and the characters all carried an element of intrigue. Were they good or bad, dead or alive? A group of strangers all alone on an island with secrets they'd kill to keep. There were twists which kept me guessing and it wasn't predictable.

If I had more time I would have read it in one-sitting. A really good plot and I was hooked right from the beginning. I will definitely read more from this Author. Highly recommended.

Nicola Cooper

A tense, spine tingling thriller full of secrets surrounding a group of plane crash survivors and a final explosive twist that readers will never see coming.

A story about plane survivors on a deserted island has been used as a plot many times but author Lucy Clarke manages to give it a fresh twist.

Clever use of intriguing characters whose lives are suprisingly intertwined make this possible and the regular switches between past and present gradually reveal hidden secrets. The island provides the perfect tropical background and could be an island paradise, in other circumstances, but underneath lurks menace and danger. Some passengers have their own agendas and nothing will get in their way as they fight for survival. A riveting page turner and an emotional rollercoaster.

Lori and Erin are sisters. Erin never turned up for the flight and now they are torn was part by the crash. The passengers are presumed dead but Erin can't give up on her sister and spends two years trying to find out what happened. Sure to be a bestseller, readers will be enthralled by this compelling thriller.

Adrienne Kinsella

An absorbing read from the start full of twists and intrigue.

An absorbing read from the start full of twists and intrigue. Sisters Lori and Erin have always been close but when things go awry on the way to a desert island getaway, there are questions that must be answered. The characters are all interesting characters and I loved that the story was told via a dual timeline from each sister’s point of view. It’s well paced and totally draws you in. I absolutely loved this brilliant book.

nicola telling

Lucy Clarke Press Reviews

'Beautifully-written, we're tipping it as one of 2021's best reads' Marie Claire

'Totally addictive, clever and atmospheric. It's a rare thriller that melts your heart as well as it keeps you turning the pages, but Lucy Clarke has pulled it off' Erin Kelly

'THE CASTAWAYS had me hanging onto every word . . . Packed full of intrigue and beautifully imagined characters, it has to be on everyone's reading list this summer' Heidi Perks

'A tense, unnerving and emotional psychological thriller about the bond between sisters' C L Taylor

'This deft thriller is as emotionally intelligent on the complex dynamic between sisters as it is compulsive. I stayed up way too late to finish it' Kate Riordan

'THE CASTAWAYS is a brilliantly tense and evocative mystery - lushly written, and as tender as it is twisty . . . It's the perfect holiday read' Emylia Hall

'Clarke's set-up in THE CASTAWAYS is to die for. This is pure, indulgent summer escapism . . . If you like your sunshine thrillers with a heart of darkness, this is for you' Emma Stonex

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780008340919
Publication date: 08/07/2021
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780008334123
Publication date: 18/03/2021
Format: Hardback

ISBN: 9780008453671
Publication date: 18/03/2021
Format: Paperback

View All Editions

About Lucy Clarke

Novelist, traveller and fresh air enthusiast, Lucy Clarke is the author of four novels, including the Richard & Judy Book Club pick, THE SEA SISTERS. Lucy is married to a professional windsurfer and, together with their two young children, they spend their winters travelling and their summers at home on the south coast of England. Lucy writes from a beach hut. 

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