Author: Caren J Werlinger
Published: March 2018 by Corgyn Publishing
Category: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Drama, F/F
Nearly twenty-five years ago, Kathleen Halloran’s brother drowned during the last summer they ever spent with their grandmother on a remote island off Maine’s coast. Like a siren’s call she can’t resist, Kathleen is pulled back to Little Sister Island. She leaves her job and her girlfriend, packs up her few belongings, and moves into her grandmother’s cottage.
After almost twenty five years Kathleen (Katie) Halloran is returning to Little Sister, a tiny and remote island off the Maine coast. Her grandmother had lived there all her life and Katie and her brother spent summers there as children…until that summer twenty five years ago when tragedy changed everything. Now her grandmother has passed and Katie feels the need to distance herself from her estranged parents and a toxic relationship. The cottage on Little Sister is the perfect solution.
Katie knows little to nothing about life on Little Sister. Spending summers there didn’t prepare her for the reality and Molly Cooper, the island sheriff and general handy woman, wasn’t the only one convinced Katie wouldn’t be able to cope with the storms that blew in, the lack of mobile phone signal, sometimes intermittent ferry services, among other things that affected life on a small, isolated island. For one of the residents, Katie’s return is a painful reminder.
Unexpected tears filled her eyes as her grandmother’s cottage came into view. She sat with her hand pressed to her mouth as memories came flooding back. This had been her refuge—a place of summer magic for the first ten years of her life. Carefree days wandering the trails down to the rocky beach with its narrow strip of sand, nights spent reading or lying curled up with Nanna as she and Bryan watched the stars with her. And then…
Katie proved herself to be made of sterner stuff than some of the islanders thought or expected, despite having deep rooted parental and relationship issues to deal with. She was learning that people can and do care about her, without being controlling or cruel. It was lovely to see Katie blossoming, the transformation, discovering her potential while becoming part of island life.
The cast of island characters is quite large, likeable and sometimes quirky but they are all very well drawn and an integral part of the story. The main characters particularly show a marked development throughout and community spirit is always in evidence, everyone looking out for one another. I enjoyed them all, although sisters Olivia and Louisa, and Katie and Molly, were the stand out ones for me.
The setting, with vivid imagery of the island, the history of the islanders going back centuries, the rituals and traditions handed down from the original Native Americans and the shipwrecked Irish immigrants who joined the community, the simpler environmental way of life, are all a fascinating and special part of the story.
The romance is slow and steady and doesn’t overwhelm other aspects of the story. As with the other books from Caren Werlinger that I’ve read, this is also beautifully written, contemplative, though provoking, with the feel good factor. Very pleased that there’s a sequel.
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