A Drop in the Ocean

A Novel

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Pub Date 3 May 2016 | Archive Date 14 Mar 2016


On her 49th birthday, Anna Fergusson, Boston neuroscientist and dedicated introvert, arrives at an unwanted crossroads when the funding for her research lab is cut. With her confidence shattered and her future uncertain, on impulse she rents a cabin for a year on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. However Turtle Island, alive with sea birds and nesting Green turtles, is not the retreat she expected. Here she finds love—for the eccentric islanders who become her family; for Tom, the laid-back turtle whisperer; and for the turtles whose ancient mothering instincts move her to tears. But Anna finds that even on her idyllic drop in the ocean there is pain, and as the months fly past her dream for a new life is threatened by a darkness that challenges everything she has come to believe about the power of love. Evocative and thought-provoking, A Drop in the Ocean is a story about second chances and hard lessons learned in the gentlest of ways.


A Note From the Publisher

Jenni Ogden grew up in a country town in the South Island of New Zealand, in a home bursting with books and music. Armed with NZ and Australian university degrees in zoology and psychology, she took up a postdoctoral fellowship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and worked with H.M., the most famous amnesiac in history, before returning to an academic position at Auckland University. There, she immersed herself in clinical psychology and neuropsychology, as well as traveling extensively and writing about her patients’ moving stories in two books, Fractured Minds: A Case-Study Approach to Clinical Neuropsychology and Trouble In Mind: Stories from a Neuropsychologist’s Casebook. Jenni has had a love affair with the Great Barrier Reef since her twenties, when she spent summers on a coral cay rather like Turtle Island, tagging sea turtles. Ogden and her husband now live off-grid on a spectacular island off the coast of NZ, with winters spent traveling and at their second home in tropical Far North Queensland. When she is not writing or traveling, Jenni can be found on the beach—always with a book—or spending time with her family.

Jenni Ogden grew up in a country town in the South Island of New Zealand, in a home bursting with books and music. Armed with NZ and Australian university degrees in zoology and psychology, she took...

Advance Praise

“In A Drop In The Ocean, protagonist Anna Fergusson learns that love is about letting go. Jenni Ogden takes us on a sweeping journey, rich with unique characters and places, moving backward and forward in time, to reach this poignant and heartfelt lesson.”—Ann Hood, New York Times best-selling author of The Knitting Circle, The Red Thread, and The Obituary Writer

Evocative and thought-provoking, A Drop in The Ocean is a story about belonging—and the ripples that can flow from the family we choose to the family that chooses us.”—Anita Heiss, finalist in the 2013 Australian of the Year Awards and best-selling author of Tiddas and Manhattan Dreaming

“Reading A Drop in the Ocean was everything a reading experience should be, endearing and enduring, time spent with characters who seem to be people I already knew.”—Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times #1 best-selling author of The Deep End Of The Ocean

"A novel about turtles, the fragility of life, and the complexity of love, A Drop in the Ocean will transport you to remote islands with its lyrical natural imagery. This is a story to savor, discuss, and share.”—Barbara Claypole White, bestselling author of The Perfect Son

“A Drop in the Ocean is about connection – between humans and between humans and the natural world. Jenni Ogden’s descriptions of life on a small island on the Great Barrier Reef, with its nesting turtles and exotic birds, sparkle like a brilliant sun on azure water. A Drop in the Ocean is a deeply affecting story of a woman’s journey to open up to love, life, and, most importantly, herself.”—Céline Keating, author of Layla and Play for Me

“This is a quietly majestic book, taking on quests for identity, for connection, for love, for self - always with dignity and with an impressive breadth of understanding. Like the turtles whose lives and habits are tracked in these pages, the characters at the heart of A DROP IN THE OCEAN move gently but with enormous consequence. Here is a book to lose oneself in - and then share, enthusiastically, right away.”—Robin Black, bestselling author of Life Drawing and Crash Course: 52 Essays From Where Writing and Life Collide.

“In A Drop In The Ocean, protagonist Anna Fergusson learns that love is about letting go. Jenni Ogden takes us on a sweeping journey, rich with unique characters and places, moving backward and...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781631520266
PRICE US$18.95 (USD)

Average rating from 58 members

Featured Reviews

Boston Neuroscientist Anna Fergusson celebrates turning 49 by losing the funding for her research project. Feeling at a loss both personally and professionally, she decides to rent a cottage on the Great Barrier Reef. Turtle Island is beautiful and Anna quickly comes to care for the Green turtles who nest there, the locals and for Tom, a man who seems to have a special affinity for the ancient creatures who nest there. I fell in love with the island and with Tom myself, but those turtles. Oh, those turtles, I wanted to quit my day job and head to Australia to do everything I could to protect those magnificent, wise creatures

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I'd highly recommend this book. It's interesting and commendable that the author was able to combine two serious issues, Huntington's Disease and Marine Turtle Conservation in the same novel, and make the plot line and characters believable.

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I wasn't sure I would like this book but it totally captured me. Jenni Ogden opened my eyes to Huntington's Disease and somehow managed to write a very good story which also incorporated saving the turtles.

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Initially I found this book a little staid. However as Anna, one of the main characters in the book, begins to settle into life on the island in the Great Barrier Reef, and find herself, so I was able to settle into the book. I loved many things about the book, including the realistic portrayal of family relationships, the love and friendships which developed and the descriptions of the wildlife on and .around the island. I have had the privilege of working with two people from the same family who had Huntingdons disease, I applaud the realistic and honest way this horrible disease is portrayed in the book and had a tear for the lovely people I worked with and the characters in the book who suffered through this disease. This is a multi-faceted book which I will want to read again.
Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Anna is a 49 year old scientist who lives in Boston. She is alone, with the exception of a few friends and her Huntington's Disease research lab. She receives notice that her grant will not be renewed. Not sure what to do with her life, she ends up on a remote island in Australia. She meets new friends, explores her family's past, and tries to find herself.

Jenni Ogden's story is warm and touching. She weaves scientific knowledge about HD and turtles into a refreshing study about how life is not over at 49 and is only really beginning. Anna has the opportunity to grow in life, live, laugh, and love.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for this review!


I could have lived without the epilogue. I didn't need the story to follow the characters 15 years later. I think the story is so much better off without it.

4 "a cool dip in the ocean" stars.

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This is an amazing story that deals with two issues. Marine wildlife conservation and Huntington's disease. Anna goes to a small island near Australia after years of researching human genes and hunting a cure for Huntington's Disease. She meets a turtle researcher named Tom and his brother Morrie. She starts making friends for the first time in her life. As she learns to live life and have new adventures she finds that sometimes curve balls make things seem impossible. I love Anna and enjoy that is is older (49 years old) . The island sounds remarkable and the people are real.

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Not only was this book amazing, but i love that it had Marine wildlife in it. I've wanted to study the sea life for as long as i can remember. but I choose a different life in path. This book reminded me of all that i love. But with it comes heartbreak with the Huntington's disease. This book, to me, is about second chances in life.

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Full of emotion, prepare to be captivated, a touching read.

I really enjoyed this book and the story that it told. Until reading this book I hadn't really heard much about Huntington's Disease or Marine Wildlife Conservation and I really enjoyed how they fitted into the plot and how informative the author was about them both,
The Characters were real and refreshing and the plot was engaging,
I will be keeping Jenni Odgen on my radar.

Thankyou for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.

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It's hard to put into words how much I enjoyed this book!

A drop in the ocean is about Anna, a research scientist, who after losing her grant decides to try something new while she decides what to do next. She chooses to go to Turtle Island helping to run a camp site there. Whilst there she truely comes out of herself and discovers who she really is and what she is capable of.

I really liked the central character of Anna. I liked that she was normal and flawed unlike some of the apparently super woman depicted in other books. I enjoyed reading about how she discovers the world isn't necessarily black and white, how to interact with people and gains confidence in herself and her abilities. At the beginning of the book she often describes her reactions as being similar to a teenager which is accurate but as she grows through the book they become decidedly more adult especially when dealing with some of the emotional events that happen. The description of Turtle Island is breath taking and had me running to the computer to see if such a place really exists (it does!). I was transported to the Island sitting on the sand and swimming in the reefs with them. The turtle research and nesting parts of the book were also fascinating as I didn't know a lot about it as was the information included about Huntington's disease.

There were a few things I didn't like about the book, though not enough to detract from my overall enjoyment of it. Some of the drama in the book is resolved really quickly with big arguments being g forgotten in a few hours which I'm not sure is very realistic. There were also a few times that the things neddec to help solve the crisis just happened to be available next door, conveniently stored there by someone as a surprise or information needed was found by asking the first person available which was a bit sickly sweet in places and maybe a tad unrealistic. Finally some of the descriptions of hurt wildlife and how nature deals with such incidents, whilst true, seemed a bit harsh and out of place in whatbis otherwise a very gentle story.

The ending wasn't the ending I wanted but it was an appropriate and brave one for the characters involved. It kept me thinking about it long after I finished reading the book, especially as to how I would have handled the situation

Overall I really enjoyed this well paced and interesting story of Anna discovering herself and learning from past mistakes. I look forward to reading more from this author and will definitely be recommending it to others!

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Jenni Ogden's novel, "A Drop In The Ocean", is a very thought provoking story. It was well written and a joy to read. The main character, Anna Fergusson, has had many things happen to her up to her 49th birthday that has molded her into a job focused person, cut off from personal interaction even with her staff and she can only claim one close friend, who is an extrovert to her introvert personality. She then finds out her job as a researcher on Huntington Disease has lost its grant to more progressive proposals. When she is offered a year away on a coral island on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, she heads off to write an account of her life as a researcher. What she finds is a "family" of new friends and a love that she did not expect.
You will find throughout this year in Anna's life a vast array of emotions as she becomes involved with the islanders, the turtle research being done on her little island home, her own view of her life and relationships, and is faced with people who have the very disease she has spent most of life researching and analyzing but never personally associating with.

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This author has an absolute talent for descriptive writing and I felt like I could see Turtle Island. The birds, the coral reefs, the ocean life ~ I could see it all. Can you tell that I just love this book?

There were two big issues dealt with in this book, Huntington's disease and ocean conservation. Both issues were handled in good way, without preaching to the reader or boring them with extremely technical terms or jargon.

I did wonder how a middle-aged doctor that had spent most of her life researching Huntington's disease and writing research grants would do in the middle of the ocean on a tiny island and wondered if this story would keep my attention. It totally did! I was pulled in immediately and found myself enjoying everything about this novel.

The inhabitants of Turtle Island were fun, all had their reasons for living there and just seemed like the kind of neighbors I'd enjoy having. The turnaround that Anna experienced while living on Turtle Island was the kind that can really change a person's life and I was excited to be on that journey with her.

I will be looking for more books by Jenni Ogden in the future. Thank you very much to Negalley, the publishers and Ms. Ogden for allowing me to read a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Who hasn’t dreamed of getting away from it all and spending a year on a tropical island swimming, snorkeling and catching up on your to-be-read books on your Kindle?

Anna Fergusson has spent her adult life writing grant proposals which keep her Huntington’s research laboratory funded. She has a staff of four researchers and lives a quiet unassuming life in Boston. When she receives notification on her 49th birthday that her funding has been cut she is left wondering what to do with her life. Encouraged by her best friend, she applies for a position as caretaker of a camp ground on Turtle Island on the Great Barrier Reef for a year.

Jenni Ogden has given us a feel good chick-lit read with A Drop In the Ocean. We get to ride on the introverted shoulders of Anna as she joins Tom in the annual monitoring of the sea turtle nesting grounds and befriends the locals who live on the small island. From a guarded life in Boston to a world of migrating birds, social connections and learning skills she would never have thought possible, Anna’s world expands and opens up to the possibilities of love and sharing herself with others. Hours spent in contemplation reveal her past and lead her to forge new relationships both with the turtle whisperer Tom and her estranged mother who lives on the Shetland Islands. A journey of discovery to be sure.

I enjoyed this gentle read and appreciated the research the author put into this novel. Not only do we learn about life on a coral cay but the scenes on the Shetland Islands were magical. This is the kind of book which points to possibilities. There is life outside of that nine to five job. All it takes is the courage to take a chance on opportunities and the desire to follow your dreams.

ARC provided with thanks from publisher via NetGalley

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Lovely story of Anna, a woman who thought she could never love again. After losing her research grant she takes the opportunity to live on Turtle Island for a year. There she becomes reacquainted with all the true pleasures of life: good food; good wine; good friendships and, even, love. This book is not a murder mystery, or a disaster drama, it is a sweet story softly told. I highly recommend this book, particularly to any woman who has forgotten how to enjoy life.

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This was the most fabulous book I have read in a long time, and I read a lot! My usual preferred genre is mystery and so this was a step away from the usual for me. I loved that a professor, stuck in her ways, being forced to do something - anything - because of her work situation, ended up on a remote island, somewhat out of her depth. Life can change when you get older in years, and although scary, it can change for the better. Absolutely fabulous how her work subject managed to fit into the adventure she was on. I have actuially read this book twice, I enjoyed it so much. I have a reminder in my online diary to purchase it for two family members as soon as it is released. I am happy to have been introduced to the work of Jenni Ogden. Read this book!

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Particularly enjoyed Anna's adventures involving marine life. Good descriptions brought it to life for me.

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A bittersweet romance that stayed with me after the book was done. A good sign that it was a good book. A star because of time wasted on her insecurities, when I would have preferred more on their time together with each other and the turtles. Also, never did learn what happened to Jeff. Would highly recommend this book if you like a more accurate struggle of two people who have many of life's obstacles, mainly age and disease, and if the idea of living on an island of the Australian coast appeals to your sense of adventure.

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She Writes Press and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

After 24 years of researching and studying Huntington's Disease, Dr. Anna Fergusson has the rug pulled out from under her when the funding for her grant is not renewed. Four months later, after all of the final reports are written and the lab closed down, Anna's friend Fran comes up with a crazy idea for an interim job: renting a cottage on Australia's Great Barrier Reef for one year, with a job as caretaker for a small private campground on Turtle Island. Intrigued with the photos of the island, Anna jumps at the chance to get away from Boston and the bad memories. One look at the tiny cottage with breathtaking views and Anna is powerless to remember all that she has left behind. As she writes her memoirs and takes in the fabulously simple life on Turtle Island, Anna comes to certain realizations and learns how to let love into her heart.

Well imagined with wonderfully written scenes about the vistas and local wildlife, A Drop in the Ocean would not have been the same novel without Anna. She proves that, whatever your age, you can live your dreams and let go of the baggage that is holding you down. Anna's strength and courage to face that which frightens her, especially when doing nothing is the more practical course, gives her a realistic quality. Although romance does have a part to play, this book is more about the beautiful ballet that the turtles perform as they come out of the sea to lay their eggs. Its other main focus is about Huntington's Disease and how it can both tear apart and put together families. I highly recommend this book and I look forward to reading more by author Jenni Ogden in the future.

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Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Loved the characters.

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Truly one of the best books I have read in quite some time!

When middle-aged Anna loses funding for her Huntington's Disease research grant, she isn't sure what to to... until her friend, Fran, shows her an ad for someone looking to rent a shack on a remote island in Australia for a year. Anna does what we all dream of doing (or at last I do) - take a break from the "real world" and spend it on a beautiful tropical island where only a couple people have internet and the only access to the mainland is by boat (which only visits once every two weeks) or by helicopter in the case of an emergency.

Anna meets some of the best friends of her life and discovers more about herself than she ever dreamed of. A fabulous story about life, love, and reflection.

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After losing her grant money for research into Huntington’s disease, Anna gets a temporary job on a small isolated island on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The island is not only home to a tight-knit but welcoming human community but it also the nesting ground of sea turtles and birds. She has barely settled into island life when she is recruited by Tom to help with his research and tagging of nesting turtles. Soon their relationship develops beyond working and friendship but Tom makes it clear that, for reasons he will not give, it can never be anything more.

A Drop in the Ocean by Jenni Ogden could be classified as a romance but, admittedly, I am not a fan of romance novels so I figure I’ll let others critique that aspect of the novel with just a couple of exceptions. It shakes up some of the stereotypes about romance – strong women can have satisfying relationships and even marriages with younger men and older women can experiment with lesbianism or be lesbians, or they can live perfectly satisfying lives without a partner, that the only thing wrong with these things is the negative judgments of others. I will also say that Ogden handled the ending perfectly and realistically – it may not be the ending many people will want but any other ending would have been a cheat.

But beyond the romance there is so much else to like about this novel and I enjoyed it immensely. Most of the story takes place on isolated islands both in Australia and in Great Britain and her descriptions of the flora and fauna are breathtaking. I dare anyone to read them without developing a strong wanderlust. It is also about living a fulfilling life away from the hustle and bustle, about appreciating the beauty and complexity of nature, about the joy and contentment that can come from friendships, and the ways that these things can enrich our lives. It is also about how we view our parents through the eyes of childhood, how, too often, these childish perceptions are wrong and, worse, how they can rob us of truly knowing them as independent people with lives that not only are separate from ours but rich and interesting.

And it is about the devastation of diseases like Huntington’s and how important research is as well as how politics and religion can too often stand in the way of finding a cure. Ogden examines the symptoms and implications of the disease, how it affects not only the sufferers but their families, and others and she does it with a great deal of empathy and knowledge (she is a Neuropsychologist) but with realism as well. It was a disease I knew little about before but I have seen the devastation of Parkinson’s and much of her descriptions moved me to tears.
Oddly, I would recommend this book not necessarily to people who like romances but to people who love to read and learn about new and exciting things. I came away from this book with a desire to travel to more remote areas, to learn more about turtles and their nesting habits and about Huntington’s. At the end of the book, Ogden provides more information and makes suggestions about other places to look if you are interested. For the curious, this is one very enjoyable read. 4.5

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A brilliantly written novel of a woman at a crossroads who begins again in uncharted territory. Anna has only known life as a neuroscience researcher. When she loses her grant she retreats to Australia's great barrier reef where she does research on turtles and enjoys the work.
She is a strong independent woman in this book. A woman to be admired. This is a great story and it resonated with this reader. Great information on the turtle research that is enjoyable. Lovely book of starting over and finding yourself again.

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My Thoughts

"I simply carried on in the same old way because that's all I know. I'm a fraud. I've always known it deep down, and now I've been sprung."

It was refreshing to read a book about an older woman and the issues she was facing. Anna is 49 years old, an introvert, research scientist who has just had her funding cut. Wondering what is next in life for her, she decides to journey to a remote island off the Australian coast for a year. Throughout the year Anna will meet new friends, fall in love, but more importantly, make a journey of self discovery. Immersing herself in island life, Anna helps with the turtle research and becomes involved with other islanders in their daily lives.

One cannot help but appreciate the amount of research Ogden has gone into for this story. I enjoyed learning about the marine conservation efforts for turtle research and the very real issues surrounding Huntington's disease.

It is written so well it reads like a biography, even autobiography. You will listen to Anna and the array of emotions that run through her over the course of the year. Life on the coral cay was idyllic and, even when Anna travelled to visit her mother in Scotland, I likewise enjoyed the Shetland island descriptions - two extremes in island living.

The characters are real and the plot engaging, as you journey with her in learning that life at 50 can really only be just beginning. It was anything but:

"A pedestrian account of a dried up, middle-aged academic's broken dreams."

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Book Description

On her 49th birthday, Anna Fergusson, Boston neuroscientist and dedicated introvert, arrives at an unwanted crossroads when the funding for her research lab is cut. With her confidence shattered and her future uncertain, on impulse she rents a cabin for a year on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. However Turtle Island, alive with sea birds and nesting Green turtles, is not the retreat she expected. Here she finds love—for the eccentric islanders who become her family; for Tom, the laid-back turtle whisperer; and for the turtles whose ancient mothering instincts move her to tears. But Anna finds that even on her idyllic drop in the ocean there is pain, and as the months fly past her dream for a new life is threatened by a darkness that challenges everything she has come to believe about the power of love.

Evocative and thought-provoking, A Drop in the Ocean is a story about second chances and hard lessons learned in the gentlest of ways.

My comments ...

The evocative title immediately drew me to this book and the story did turn out to be a thought-provoking one. I very much enjoyed the journey, although not a fast paced one, and in particular I loved learning about the nesting of turtles. This thread is beautifully told, along with the authors obvious love of the myriad bird and marine life, which the main character, Anna, encounters while on the island (which is in the amazing Great Barrie Reef).

While the author ties all the threads together well, I’m not sure how I feel about the decision made by the characters, but to go into detail here would spoil the ending for others.

The plot is skilfully woven and introduces a number of diverse characters that each play an integral part in Anna Fergusson’s life. A story that allows me to become a part of the birth of new relationships is always enjoyable and I certainly envied the time Anna spent on Turtle Island.

A Drop in the Ocean is a story about love, life and the pain of letting go.

This review will be published on my Blog closer to release date.

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Anna Fergusson has been a research scientist for twenty-five years leading research on Huntington's disease. On her forty-ninth birthday, she gets noticed that her funding is cut and she loses her lab. At a loss what to do an opportunity to spend a year on the great Barrier reef on island is brought to her attention. She takes it. Little does she know that her worlds will come full circle as she is challenged from to go outside of herself by the other islanders. Anna Fergusson is surprised at what she finds.

In an Oyster Shell - This was a very moving story, that will stay with the reader long after they are done.

The Pearls - As you have seen me point out in other reviews, I love coming of age stories in women who think their life has passed them by. This is an invigorating story about second chances. The premise is promising and delivers more than one could imagine.

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Favorite Quotes:

“I hadn’t cried, even when alone, since I was in my twenties, and it felt wonderful in a strange sort of way.”

“If I’d been a bloke, as they say in Aussie, I’d have woken with a boner the morning of our trip. The very thought of being alone with Tom tonight on Lost Cay turned my insides to goo.”

“My self-esteem always hit rock bottom in fashion shops. Telling myself that I made more money and had more university degrees than any saleswoman made no difference. But I sallied forth, credit card trembling in my handbag, past caring about cost.”

“There is no genetic reason why Hamish should resemble Dad, of course, but as the grandson of my heart I think he has rearranged my memories of my father in some mysterious way.”

“My last act of love will be to stand back when he takes his final ride out over the reef edge and falls backwards into his beloved sea.”

My Review:

I enjoyed reading this tale – structured as the personal musings/journey of an intelligent, well educated, and mature woman who has finally come of age at the ripe age of fifty – yes – that is exactly what I meant. A closed off workaholic, she had buried herself in study and work until she no longer had either. Being an unmarried woman, social isolate, unemployable research scientist, she suddenly had no one and nothing to fall back on but herself. Encouraged by her one and only friend, she sets off on a quiet adventure of monitoring campsites on a tiny isolated island cay in Australia near the Great Barrier Reef - a surprising choice given her fear of the ocean. I was struck most by the enigmatic, poignant, and emotive writing, which seemed to be craftily and stealthily tapping emotions with words moving far beneath the surface… more than once I was surprised to be midsentence and discover the words were squeezing my heart and constricting my burning throat. The plot was interesting and relevant, and story was generously descriptive as well as active. I learned a considerable amount about off the grid island living, reef fish, turtles, research projects, and the Shetland Islands - and I greatly enjoyed the lessons. I am also now knowledgeable of several interesting Aussie words and expressions like dosh, doorstop sandwich, bommie, japes, bitumen, and fair dinkum – love my kindle with instant Wikipedia access.

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A Drop in the Ocean by Jenni Ogden. Release date 5.3.16, 5 Stars Such talent in writing. I was right there with her on her journey. Our protagonist, Anna Fitzgerald is 49, and has just lost her research grant on Huntington’s Disease. She is an introvert and has let all of her assistants deal with the patients in her study and she dealt with writing that pulled it all together. Now left with nothing to do she takes a job for a year on Turtle Island in Australia. This is a huge move for her. AND it is so rewarding. She meets and builds a family with the other residents on the island. This is a novel of finding one’s self, romance, friendship, and forgiveness. Would be a wonderful book club selection and I highly recommend it.

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I was first attracted to A Drop in the Ocean by the cover, which just goes to show the power of a good cover! However it has a lot more going for it, than just a pretty face.

This really is the story of Anna, a research scientist who has just lost her grant for further research and because of it everything grinds to a stop. Or... you could say it all begins for Anna. Challenged by this she takes a big step and on a whim goes out to Australia to an island on the Great Barrier Reef. She is kind of a recluse, hands off kind of person. In the past she has been happy to head the research but not be involved with the face to face human interaction that her assistants have done. She opted for this kind of life rather than be involved with kind of emotions that real people bring to the table. She has one good friend and is not close to family, i.e her mother. How she changes is at the heart of this story, and it at times brought a tear to my heart.

The island is involved with research on the local turtles, and if you enjoy nature and these amazing creatures, you'd enjoy this story. The setting is rough and beautiful. The islanders most certainly are eccentric, but they sure have heart. Among them is Tom, the person gathering the information on the turtles. He is ten years younger than Anna, and when they become close this is a challenge for Anna, how could he want her. However Tom has a secret too, and that could even be more of an issue for him.

Anna's area of research is Huntington's Disease. I first came across this when reading Carrie Beckort's Kingston's Project. It is a terrible genetic disease and for the families involved heart breaking. I loved how Jenni Ogden explores this in her novel with such compassion, bringing a very real human face to it. I also liked learning of the ways they endeavour to prevent it being passed on to another generation.

There is an epilogue at the end, it is twenty five years into the future. The epilogue updates the reader on what has happened for the beloved characters and how they have chosen to go forward in their lives. Very satisfying!

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Imagine having the opportunity to move into a little cabin on a remote tropical island with seabirds, turtles and hardly any other people. Well, that’s what happened to Anna Fergusson. This story was set in a great location with an interesting mix of characters.

Although I didn’t completely fall in love with the story, I did enjoy it, and found it to be an interesting and thought provoking read, covering the subjects of Huntington’s disease and the conservation of turtles, both of which are expanded upon in the facts section after the novel, which I thought was an interesting and important addition.

I also enjoyed the epilogue, and thought the book club questions section was a nice touch, as it made me think about aspects of the story after I had finished reading it.

I would like to thank the publisher, She Writes Press for allowing me a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Boston Neuroscientist, Anna Fergusson finds herself at a crossroads when she loses her funding for her Huntington's Disease Research Project. Spurred on by her friend Fran she rents a cabin on Turtle Island, a remote island on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Here she finds love, makes friends from all walks of life, comes into her own when she helps fellow islanders and truly finds out who she is. A stunning story which I absolutely loved.

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At fifty years old Anna Fergusson, a medical researcher of Huntington's Disease has had the rug pulled out from under her feet. Her granted that has been forthcoming for the last 15 years has suddenly been rejected. Faced with indecision she decides to take a 12 month contract to live and look after a camp ground on Turtle Island off the Australian Barrier Reef. Coming from USA this is a life major change.

I really enjoyed this novel of Anna, it's like a coming of age novel with a mature protagonist. Whilst on the island Anna plans to write her memoirs of her research project over the years, instead we are taken back into her younger years and this proves to be quite cathartic. I loved the description of the turtles and their habits and all the island inhabitants who pull together in times of need. A lovely story that was enhanced with the epilogue that tied it together.

Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for a copy to read and review and the author when my original copy was in an unreadable format for me.

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Visiting friends in Baja Sur, Mexico, I joined them on turtle patrol, so OF COURSE this book caught my attention. Jenni Ogden is one of those writers who puts you into a story, and makes you not want to exit until you've drunk in every word. This novel was so poignant, and so very beautiful. A must-read.

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