Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Blog Tour: The Stranding by Kate Sawyer

Published: June 24th, 2021
Publisher: Coronet
Genre: Saga, Science Fiction, Dystopian Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio

Today is my stop on the blog tour for this magnificent debut novel. Thank you to Niamh at Hodder for the invitation to take part and the gifted proof copy.





Ruth lives in the heart of the city. Working, drinking, falling in love: the rhythm of her vivid and complicated life is set against a background hum of darkening news reports from which she deliberately turns away.

When a new romance becomes claustrophobic, Ruth chooses to leave behind the failing relationship, but also her beloved friends and family, and travels to the other side of the world in pursuit of her dream life working with whales in New Zealand.

But when Ruth arrives, the news cycle she has been ignoring for so long is now the new reality. Far from home and with no real hope of survival, she finds herself climbing into the mouth of a beached whale alongside a stranger. When she emerges, it is to a landscape that bears no relation to the world they knew before.

When all has been razed to the ground, what does it mean to build a life?

The Stranding is a story about the hope that can remain even when the world is changed beyond recognition.



“A rush of air, a groan so forlorn it hurts her heart.
A noise that connot be unheard.
A white frame above her, a spine, the ribs splayed wide, the jaws like pincers, brackets.
The bones of the whale glow slightly in the dark.
She closes her eyes. My old friend, she thinks, my home, my sanctuary.”

This is a story about the end of the world. About humanity, love, survival and hope. Utterly magnificent, captivating, imaginative and original, it is like nothing I’ve ever read before. I don’t know what I was expecting, but what I read exceeded anything I could have imagined or wanted.

“They sit in silence, watching the sky grow pinker and pinker. She gestures to the reddening sky. ‘It’d be beautiful, if it wasn’t, you know, The End.'”

With spectacular storytelling the author crafts a richly imagined story filled with evocative imagery, transporting me to the shores of New Zealand as the apocalypse dawns and taking me back to the bustling streets of London as Ruth talks about her life before. It is all so vivid that I felt like I was watching it in technicolour on a movie screen. The scenes describing the apocalypse: Nik and Ruth’s terror as they seek safety in the stomach of the whale, the devastation of the world when they re-emerge, and their burned and blistered skin, are seared into my mind as clearly as if I had experienced them myself. I could hear the deafening silence of a world where only the two of them appear to have survived and feel their bewilderment and grief. Ruth and Nik were fascinating characters that I enjoyed reading. Their love story felt authentic and inevitable and I thought they made a great team.

“How ironic, she thinks. Now she is marooned in silence, and despite her best efforts to avoid it, the conflict of mankind caught up with her in the end.”

I was swept away by this glorious tale; in awe of the author’s imagination and talent. Exquisitely written, beautifully observed, atmospheric, and with an almost dreamlike quality, it is a masterclass in storytelling. I was transfixed. It manages to be strong, powerful and thought-provoking, but also mellow, peaceful and soothing, a riveting contrast that pulls you into this wonderful story. I never wanted the story to end and felt bereft and hungry for more when it did. I still can’t believe this is a debut and will be buying any future books she writes without hesitation.

An absolute triumph, The Stranding is a magnificent debut that you don’t want to miss.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮



Kate was born in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, where she grew up in the countryside as the eldest of four siblings. She lived in South London for the best part of the last two decade (living briefly in Australia and USA) but recently returned to East Anglia.

​Kate trained in acting at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art and has worked as an actor since. She is a founding ensemble member of award-winning theatre company The Faction and established her own theatre company The Curious Room. 

​Previous writing includes adapting Lorca, writing short films and plays and recipes. The Stranding is her first novel.

​She is the mother of 1 year old daughter as a solo mother by choice. 



Waterstones* |* | Amazon* | Google Books | Apple Books | Kobo
*These are affiliate links


Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx

2 replies on “Blog Tour: The Stranding by Kate Sawyer”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s