Image source: www.cestopisykatka.com
From an early age I fell in love with reading and escaping to faraway places among the pages of my favorite books, it was one of the ways I travelled around the world. Today I continue to read books that spark adventure for my imagination and the most recent was SUNLOVERS by Katerina Dehning and Wendell Joseph. Follow Katerina and her daughter as they meet colorful characters while visiting a few of the Caribbean islands in part I of the book. In the second part go in depth with Wendell as he and Katerina introduce you to local people, the cuisine and culture of the beautiful island of St. Lucia.
“Like beads threaded in a necklace hundreds of islands stretch in a three thousand kilometer arch between the Atlantic and the Caribbean sea” (pg. 17.) Katerina illustrates each of the islands, describing each one with such detail that you feel like you are right there with her, dipping your toes in the blue Caribbean Sea. As Katerina and her daughter travel from each bead on the Caribbean necklace new characters pop up and you instantly fall in love with them, like the Barbados taxi driver they meet or the group of ladies they sit with at dinner every night on the cruise ship. I don’t want to give too much away but know that every day there is a new adventure that awaits on each island they visit.
“The turquoise sea grove of coconut palms right on the shore and high green hills make St. Lucia very alluring” (pg. 45) and are one of the reasons St. Lucia catches Katerina’s interest in particular. In this first introduction to St. Lucia you briefly learn about the island and are introduced to a local, Wendell Joseph. From his perspective you get a glimpse into how locals view visitors arriving on their island for the first time. Wendell writes “no book and no tourist guide can replace one’s own experience, which you can share with guides and local people. The time is slow here and if someone looks for fun, he can find it here. We all have fun all the time” (pg. 52). This quote stuck with me as I continued to read, what he writes is so true, no matter what you read or are told cannot be compared to your own experience. This is one of the reason’s I find travel so important, the more you travel and learn about other cultures you open your mind and invite new understanding of how people live around the world.
Katerina and her daughter continue on from island to island but you can sense that there was something special about their day in St. Lucia. Their cruise ship docks in Puerto Rico and both mother and daughter leave the ship with new memories they have shared together. But the story doesn’t end there. The island of St. Lucia charmed Katerina that she decided to return again a year and half later and so begins part II of the book.
From Katerina’s outside perspective and Wendell’s local wisdom you are taken further in depth of the history, local customs, day to day life and culture of the St. Lucians. Growing up on the island Wendell paints the picture of being a young carefree boy in St. Lucia, when the days were spent surfing from sunrise to sunset, helping harvest bananas on his aunt’s plantation and proudly celebrating national holidays. Katerina shares her thoughts and experiences while visiting St. Lucia and how genuinely interested she is in learning from the locals. She visits a preschool, attends Sunday mass, cheers on the local soccer team at a match and even joins in the fun at the weekly local jump up (a local neighborhood party held each Friday night). “I have realized that there are no foreign countries, because the only one who is foreign in those new places is myself” (pg. 172) Katerina writes. I admire Katerina for fully immersing herself in the local culture and taking the time to learn about a new country from the local’s perspective.
Opening your mind and traveling is the best gift you can give yourself, even if it begins with turning the first pages of a book like SUNLOVERS. Katerina and Wendell do a brilliant job of teaching you about St. Lucia and how one place can be viewed differently through two perspectives, the local and foreign. I really enjoyed reading this book and was so excited to share it with my readers. If you’ve liked reading this review hopefully I can share more of my favorite books with you and if you have any recommendations I would love to hear them!
You can now order Sunlovers e-book SUNLOVERS or pre order a hard copy which will be available for purchase in January. Wendell and Katerina will personally sign each hard cover copy too! Check out Katerina’s website and learn about her other travel books on her website: www.cestopisykatka.com
x the Adventurer
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