Jungle Eyes (Jungle Eyes Trilogy) (Volume 1) by Lindsay Marie Miller is part one of an adventure-romance trilogy set in 1899. Wealthy New Yorker Henry Rochester, fleeing his mother’s matchmaking efforts, boards a ship with a friend and thus embarks on what is supposed to be a one-year adventure sailing across the Atlantic. Instead, his ship sinks, killing everyone on board except for Henry. Improbably, Henry washes ashore on a deserted island inhabited by a young woman named Elaine, who washed ashore herself years prior after a similar shipwreck. Together they battle both the jungle’s natural dangers and human menace, facing wild animals, poisonous plants, extreme weather, and pirates. Inevitably, they fall in love and navigate their new relationship while trying to survive their circumstances.
Jungle Eyes is engaging light reading, with constant motion; there are no dull moments in the story. I read it within a day or two, and enjoyed being transported to another time and place. To read it, though, the reader must suspend any notions of reality. I find it completely fanciful and improbable. Plot elements like Henry’s shipwreck are treated very lightly, as is the fact that Elaine spends so many years alone on an island at such a young age without parents to guide her. In that regard, Elaine’s temperamental interactions with Henry make a lot of sense, but the link is never drawn by the author. Fanciful elements like Elaine’s friendly relationship with a panther and Henry’s ability to navigate a ship on the Atlantic with no more than a week’s experience at sea round out the fantastical story.
Reading Jungle Eyes was a bit like watching a fun romance movie. It offered an entertaining way to spend some time, but I don’t need to do it again and I’m not so interested in the sequel. You may feel differently if you enjoy this kind of superficial, surreal love story. It’s not my usual kind of reading, and for me, this falls into the “good enough” category, and earns 3 stars.
Rating: 3 stars
Buy the book: Jungle Eyes (Jungle Eyes Trilogy) (Volume 1)
*Many thanks to author Lindsay Marie Miller, who provided a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.