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Another encouraging review for Sailing to Purgatory is published today, and this thoughtful critique comes from from the nom de plume, Bluebell. However, it's not flowery, but to the point and from a landsman's point of view.

Bluebell, an associate of the excellent Breakaway Reviewers organisation, admits right away that 'Going to sea in a yacht is not for sissies!'

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
A landlubber's view ... 'I'm not even remotely interested in sailing; however, Paul has managed to keep even my interest and curiosity alive while describing the storms ... even a late-blooming romance with almost poetic descriptions.' - Bluebell Thanks to Picabay for the photo

The review coincides with the 18th anniversary of the ambush that sent me off on England's longest criminal trial and a sentence of 17 years - two years longer than the Lockerbie bomber, with 270 killed, was serving. Bluebell, whose critique is appearing on Goodreads, Amazon, Breakawayreviewers.co.uk and its Facebook page, writes ...

'Paul Rodgers realises that he’s almost past the age of being able to sail around the world on his own. He decides to give it one last try and so begins his epic journey from Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, via many of the Caribbean Islands, dashing to the safety of St Helena before reaching Cape Town many months later.

Keeping my curiosity alive

I’m not even remotely interested in sailing; however, Paul has managed to keep even my interest and curiosity alive while describing the storms that he encountered, the winds that blew him off course, the people he met and even a late-blooming romance with almost poetic descriptions.

It's these passages of beautiful text that deserve the four stars. Possibly, if I enjoyed sailing, the descriptions of the storms, struggling to keep the boat upright and his attitude to 'carry on regardless' would have stirred something inside me.

Some of my favourite parts of the book are his descriptions of the bird life that seem to drop in from nowhere to share his journey.

It’s these passages of beautiful text that deserve the four stars.

Possibly, if I enjoyed sailing, the descriptions of the storms, struggling to keep the boat upright and his attitude to 'carry on regardless' would have stirred something inside me.

Instead, being a 'landlubber' and only keen to get into the sea to waist height, I’m afraid that all this did was convince me that staying on land or only going to sea in a huge ship, would get me to venture further than the edge of a beach.

The drug bust

The book’s final chapter only vaguely deals with the fact that on his return to the UK he was arrested and sent to prison along with several other members of the gang he was supposedly part of (he says he was completely innocent) bringing drugs into the country via small vessels.

The drug bust which led to his arrest, is still one of the biggest hauls of drugs ever seized in the UK with a street value of millions of pounds.

This final chapter had my eyes coming out on stalks while asking myself, 'Was there something I missed while reading this book?'

Because what I saw through his creative and descriptive writing were the storms lashing the boat with waves so high that they seem to blot out the sun. With winds so strong that it felt as if they could lift the boat and chuck it into the air.

Why therefore, would you risk all this in the latter stages of your life to lose your freedom?'

Thanks very much to Bluebell for the review and thanks to you for visiting the Sailing to Purgatory blog