It’s June and time once again for the Book of the Month series by David Christopher Johnston! We are diving into non-fiction this month, and a book you will struggle to put down. A Pearl in the Storm is the remarkable tale of the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
Tori Murden McClure dreamed of becoming the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic. She began her circa 4,000-mile journey in June 1998, leaving the East Coast of the United States in a twenty-three-foot plywood rowing boat. Her communications system broke down less than a week into the crossing, but she decided to press on for France. But unbeknown to Tori she was rowing into a storm of apocalyptic proportions, in what would prove to be the worst hurricane season ever recorded in the North Atlantic.
The journey starts as a jovial and uplifting tale of one woman and the open ocean. Passing dolphins, whales, and oil tankers provide Tori’s only company. But it becomes a truly terrifying ordeal, where her survival is nothing short of miraculous. Tori’s remarkable story is one of courage, failure, rehabilitation and resounding achievement.
The book is both inspiring and horrifying to read. Tori’s descriptions of the monstrous storm swells, where her tiny wooden boat capsized and rotated for hours like a devil’s washing machine, is more captivating and thrilling than any novel. The stuff of nightmares. And what makes this book so appealing is the carnage and the courage are real.
It makes me sad that our perception of what constitutes a “hero” in 2021 has become so entwined with money/fame. Searching for role models in Hollywood and social media is a baffling concept to me. And it is a travesty that living heroes of exploration like Ranulph Fiennes, Tori Murden McClure and Ed Stafford remain relative unknowns.
But perhaps that is part of what makes these people worthy of our admiration. Because true heroes don’t seek fame and fortune. Their success is free of self-interest and something to which we should all aspire. So if you want to read about a real modern-day hero, and about what it truly takes to be heroic, pick up A Pearl in the Storm.
You can buy A Pearl in the Storm in paperback or digital download from Goodreads by clicking this link (CLICK HERE). And if you liked this article then check out the rest of my Book of the Month blog series. This free, informal book club introduces a variety of fiction authors and genres to keep you entertained. You can access the series on my website (CLICK HERE).