Author: Caren J. Werlinger
Published: September 2022 by Corgyn Publishing
Category: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Women’s Fiction, F/F
Life on Little Sister Island is idyllic. Until it isn’t.
Now that the island will have its own teacher for the first time in decades, Rebecca Ahearn is tasked with making financial arrangements to build a new school room. While on the mainland, she barges straight into her first—and only—love, a woman she hasn’t seen in over forty years. Suddenly, the choices she has made for her life seem empty, and she begins to wonder if it was worth the sacrifice.
For Kathleen Halloran, distance and limited communication have been the keys to maintaining a tolerable relationship with her parents. She’d like to keep it that way, but when her father needs her help to take care of her mother—the woman she knows never loved her—she’s forced to confront the pain and resentment she can’t seem to let go of.
Kathleen’s mate, Molly Cooper, galvanizes the islanders to pitch in and help Kathleen and Rebecca weather the stormy seas ahead. The question is, can wounds that deep ever truly heal? Perhaps the magic of Little Sister Island can do what humans cannot—and make the impossible possible after all.
The New Shore is the third in the Little Sister Island series and it was so good to revisit the place and the people. Kathleen and Molly, Miss Louisa, Meredith and her parents and many more. There are big changes on the horizon for some of the residents, particularly Rebecca and Kathleen, with soul searching and internal second guessing decisions made when it seemed the path in life was clear. I enjoyed how characters were explored and also the general progression in all of the residents’ lives.
Kathleen’s estrangement from her parents, particularly her mother, who has never been interested in Kathleen or what’s going on in her life since her brother’s death, is brought to the fore by illness. Despite her mother’s disinterest and the hurt she has always felt, Kathleen steps up and hopes her mother might finally show some acknowledgement of her, if not actual affection. Apart from that there is a major challenge for Kathleen that she knew would happen eventually but was unprepared for it happening so soon.
Even now, she could see the wraithlike expression on her mother’s face as they’d gathered on the island’s ancient stone circle to perform the ceremony that would link Kathleen to Little Sister forever. While everyone else had celebrated Kathleen Halloran’s life, Kathleen had seen in her mother’s cold eyes that she only wished it had been Kathleen’s brother, Bryan, standing there.
There are many challenges associated with living on a small, remote island and, although a new school is in the offing, meaning the island’s children wouldn’t have to be schooled on the mainland, the lack of access to medical care is an issue which is highlighted.
The characterisations are as flawless as ever, very realistic and dynamic, and the inclusion of new characters adds to the story, one in particular is an intriguing addition. The fascinating spiritual, cultural and magical elements were a huge draw from the start, as was the close knit community. The wonderfully descriptive prose brings the island, with its changing weather patterns, impressive landscape, ceremonies and traditions rooted in history, to vibrant life. The link between the island and islanders is an extremely strong one, nature and ancestry play a huge part in island life.
This is a series to be read chronologically, and savoured, in order to get the full impact of the characters, their lives and Little Sister Island.
I chose to read and review The New Shore for Rosie Amber’s book review team, based on a digital copy kindly supplied by the author.
Bestselling author Caren Werlinger published her first award-winning novel, Looking Through Windows, in 2008. Since then, she has published fifteen more novels, winning several more awards. Influenced by a diverse array of authors, including Rumer Godden, J.R.R. Tolkein, Ursula LeGuin, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Willa Cather and the Brontë sisters, Caren writes literary fiction that features the struggles and joys of characters readers can identify with. Her stories cover a wide range of genres: historical fiction, contemporary drama, and fantasy, including the award-winning Dragonmage Saga, a fantasy trilogy set in ancient Ireland. Most recently, she created the magical setting of Little Sister Island (a place she and her readers wish were real) in When the Stars Sang and Face the Wind.
She lives in Virginia with her wife and their canine fur-children.