Love with a Chance of Drowning

What leads a woman to confront her deepest, darkest fears? Love, of course.

Torre DeRoche was paralytically afraid of water. Deep water. By extension boats were included in her phobia because they sail on deep water, don't they - and worse, sometimes sink in it.

But then a chance meeting in a San Francisco bar with Ivan, a charming, handsome Argentinian, changed everything.

Somehow he persuaded her to join him on his planned solo crossing of the Pacific and with massive misgivings she bravely went. Her journey with the accident-prone Ivan and his aged yacht Amazing Grace is one of the sweetest and scariest stories I have read in some time.

But there's more to it than the author's constant fear of drowning. "What if we die?" she beseeches Ivan repeatedly, to which he always answers: "We won't die!"

This is as the title suggests, a love story, as the couple battle out their novice relationship on the high (and often daunting) seas. Torre learns as much about herself as she does about her partner, gaining (some) courage and many seamanship skills.

Daughter of American parents who moved to Australia before she was born, Torre DeRoche is a gifted and instinctive writer, revealing herself as vulnerable and fearful, funny and thoughtful. It is impossible to read this book simply at the level of a travel memoir. As the journey goes on, the reader is drawn into admiring her and liking her as a person.

Ivan is her solid rock, drawn by Torre as strong and gentle, albeit sometimes forgetful and capable of landing them in some truly difficult predicaments. Their love story is the fragile thread of the journey, with the beautifully painted descriptions of remote coves and uninhabited isles the perfect romantic backdrop.

It would be an unacceptable saccharine tale were it not for Torre's very real dread of all that lies beneath the hull of Amazing Grace as well as her numerous battles with seasickness. Instead it is one of the most entertaining and inspiring travelling love stories - one that challenges readers to face their own fears. 

Others have been impressed too. Film rights have now been optioned and a script adaptation is underway. It will be a film worth seeing, but please do read the book first!

Love with a Chance of Drowning, a memoir by Torre DeRoche, published by Viking, 2013, rrp A$29.99, paperback.

- reviewed by Sally Hammond



0 #2 Aloha to you!Sallyh 2013-11-10 10:20
Thanks Marilyn. We were just looking at footage of you playing your ukulele last night! What a wonderful tour you gave us. Thank you.
0 #1 OwnerMarilyn 2013-11-10 06:41
Aloha Sally,
Just perusing your amazing food and travel site. Your Book reviews are wonderful. This caught my eye and I'd love to read. I travel vicariously through others like you and Gordon. Had a wonderful day with you on Maui and will blog post a story about all my Aystralian guests soon.
Have great ukulele footage of Gordon at Surfing Goat Dairy and wonderful photos of you both.

~ Marilyn
Please keep in touch

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