Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Review: The Islanders by Meg Mitchell Moore

"If once you have slept on an island / You'll never be quite the same" (Rachel Field, "If Once You Have Slept on an Island"). People head to islands for many reasons: a place to vacation, a chance to slow down and figure things out, a place to heal, a place to live. Islands are different places from the mainland somehow, even if people are just going about their lives, especially if the island is one dependent on summer tourism. Meg Mitchell Moore has captured some of the unique summer magic of an island and the people on it in her charming latest novel, The Islanders.

Anthony Puckett, the son of a famed thriller writer, is an author himself who had a much feted first novel. His second novel turned into a huge literary scandal. He started drinking and his wife kicked him out, withholding their young son from him. He's on Block Island house-sitting a friend's uncle's place while trying to come to terms with what he did to his life. Depressed and ashamed, he just wants to fade into the background and disappear. Joy is a year-round islander who owns and runs the island bakery. Joy Bombs is famous for its reinvented whoopie pies but this summer Joy is struggling both financially and personally. Her rent has increased and a French food truck that sells macarons is giving her stiff competition. Her 13 year old daughter is heading into the tough teen years, making Joy, a single parent, feel abandoned and as if she's failing as a mom.  That her ex-husband has gotten his life together with a second wife and cute younger daughter doesn't help her feelings of inadequacy.  Lu is a stay at home mom to two young boys. Her husband is a surgeon and she used to be a lawyer but she quit her career to stay home with their children. Their family has moved out to Block Island for the summer, compliments of her in-laws' (unasked for) generosity. Four years into this life of domesticity, Lu is unhappy and unfulfilled. She feels trapped. She's lost her sense of self but she's starting to secretly reclaim it, working on something that gives her great joy, something that has the potential to turn into a job that completes her, if only she can find the courage to tell her husband her needs and wants have changed. The summer proves one of great change for all three of them.

Each of the three main characters here are floundering, facing changes, and trying to see what the future holds for them. As their lives intertwine and their secrets and fears come out, they each find a way forward towards the life that will fulfill them. They learn more about themselves and learn to accept themselves, warts and all, as the summer unfolds. The novel rotates through each of the three main characters, opening their lives, decisions, and motivations up to the reader. If the characters start by seeming unconnected, they eventually come together in ways that are both expected and realistic. There are no big explosive secrets to reveal, just interesting personal dramas in characters living and making a life on the same island. Anthony, Joy, and Lu are not always sympathetic, making poor decisions, hiding things that shouldn't be hidden, but ultimately they are honest with themselves and about their needs. This is an engaging summer novel about people trying to get it right, trying to find themselves, trying to take the scary next step, personally and professionally. The ending comes a little quickly, like a sudden summer storm, and I for one, would have liked more time with these three flawed, human characters getting to that end but overall, the novel was a very satisfying way to spend a few hours.

For more information about Meg Mitchell Moors and the book, check our her author website, like her on Facebook, follow her on Instagram, look at the book's Goodreads page, follow the rest of the blog tour, or look at the reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and publisher Harper Collins for inspiring me to pull this off my shelf to review sooner rather than later.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a really good vacation read! Thanks for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours


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