QBD Reviews: Below Deck by Sophie Hardcastle

Below Deck is the highly anticipated debut novel from author Sophie Hardcastle. A heartbreakingly poetic and haunting story about the vagaries of consent, about who has the space to speak and who is believed.


Wow. Sophie Hardcastle’s latest establishment rides the horizon separating captivating prose and political relevance. It is the written equivalent of a group hug with a united front of woman. This book is exactly what the world needs.

Twenty-one year old Oli, accompanied only by her colour synaesthesia and newly learned boating skills, journeys across oceans and platforms. Along the way she meets people who feel like home, and people who will oversee her nightmares for years to come.

Below Deck” is a love story between a woman and her surrounding world. Three parts, each jumping four years further into Oli’s adulthood, prove the stages that come with not only growing up, but growing into the power you have the potential for, despite the attempted drownings.
Because: we choose to breathe, don’t we?

Sophie’s writing is pure poetry, each word rich with layers of feeling. You either write what you know or what you love, and she does both. No wonder each lyric is laced with magic. Her talent is unmatched, and empowers. She will have you shouting, “Here I am! I am here!”

Below Deck” is the book of 2020. 5 stars.

Hannah, Kotara QBD