When I first put down Eastbound Sailing, I found myself reflecting on pivotal moments in my own life. During the emotional journey that unfolds, readers will undoubtedly identify with Aiden’s search for wholeness, making Eastbound Sailing timeless and relatable.
This first novel by Todd Foley is a redemptive tale of sorrow, remorse, discovery, and joy viewed through its characters different philosophical constructs. At the same time it is a coming of age story for a late-bloomer who is slowly learning to let go of his egocentricity and control, finding out how to simply “be.”
Eastbound Sailing is set in the Island community of Cielo. It’s that quintessential “time moves slower here” town where everyone knows each other, and locking the doors is the hallmark of an outsider. Foley describes Cielo in such enchanting and vivid detail that the island becomes more of a character than a setting. It’s Foley’s descriptive ability that truly makes this story shine, elevating it from good to great.
Aiden, the troubled protagonist with a haunted past, arrives in Cielo a lost and broken soul. Ready to cut all ties, he is intent on selling his deceased father’s cabin and getting back to civilization as soon as possible. It turns out that fate has other plans for Aiden. While he is waiting for repairs to the cabin, Aiden comes across a wise and loving cashier who he slowly lets into his life. Through her, he begins to heal and rediscover Cielo. Their conversations are among the most poignant in the book.
Aiden is then introduced to a free-spirit who offers a refreshing take on life, and a nihilistic carpenter who is performing the repairs on his cabin. At first these characters seemed one-dimensional in their idealism– especially the carpenter–but as the story unfolds we learn the events that created their philosophy. Each person shapes, and saves, Aiden in a different way.
Aiden’s initial moment of change was so abrupt that it seemed jarring and almost unbelievable. As I reflected on it, I realized that is the way true change often occurs–dramatically and rapidly. Thankfully as the story progresses it shows Aiden continuing to struggle with his epiphany, even having a character pointing out that while he has coped with his past, he hasn’t dealt with it and moved on.
I won’t spoil the ending of Eastbound Sailing for you, but I will leave you with one of it’s main thoughts…