When the Stars Sang (Little Sister Island Book 1) by Caren J Werlinger #ContemporaryFiction #TuesdayBookBlog

515Ap+LpMoLAuthor: Caren J Werlinger

Published: March 2018 by Corgyn Publishing

Category: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Drama, F/F

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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.

Book links ~ Kobo | Book Depository | Amazon | Audible 

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4815447Bestselling 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.

Author links ~ Website | Facebook 

An Unlit Candle by Caren J. Werlinger #DualTimeline #LiteraryFiction #TuesdayBookBlog

58950251._SY475_Author: Caren J. Werlinger

Published: September 2021 by Corgyn Publishing

Category: Contemporary, Historical, Fiction, Religion, Literary

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Patricia Horrigan is the eldest daughter of a family determined to gain entry into the upper echelons of Rochester society as the 1950s give way to the turbulence of the 60s. Born of an Irish father and a French-Canadian mother, Pip inherited the stubborn pride and fierce determination of both.

In present time, Lauren Thackeray has managed to put her life back together—in a manner of speaking. She has her weaving, her home, her chosen family, and she has the monastery and the lasting friendship of the nuns there. The one thing she doesn’t have, she doesn’t want. She won’t open her heart again after she barely survived the last time.

I enjoyed In This Small Spot so much I jumped at the chance to read An Unlit Candle. Told in two alternating timelines, part sequel, part prequel, and woven together beautifully. I think this story would definitely benefit from being read after In This Small Spot.

We first meet Patricia (Pip) Horrigan in the late 1950s as she and brother accompany their parents to a ball at the Wasserman’s, where it pays to be seen. Mr Wasserman would play an ongoing role in Pip’s life.

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In This Small Spot by Caren J. Werlinger #LiteraryFiction #BookReview for #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

41ezoS8RCxL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Author: Caren J. Werlinger

Published: May 2013 by Corgyn Publishing

Category: Literary Fiction, Lesbian Romance, Book Review

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In a world increasingly connected to computers and machines but disconnected to self and others, Dr. Michele Stewart finds herself drowning in a life that no longer holds meaning. Searching for a deeper connection after losing her partner, Alice, she enters a contemplative monastery, living a life dedicated to prayer, to faith in things unseen. Though most of her family and friends are convinced that she has become a nun to run away from her life, she finds herself more attuned to life than she has been in years.

In This Small Spot is a beautifully written and emotional story following the life choices, ups and downs, and introspections of Dr Michele Stewart, a renowned oncology surgeon. Several years after losing her much loved partner, Alice, to cancer, she questions her role as a doctor and her place in the medical profession.

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A Bittersweet Garden by Caren J Werlinger ~ reviewed for #RBRT #IrishFiction #GhostStory with a touch of #Romance #FridayReads

Author: Caren J Werlinger

Published: March 2019 by Corgyn Publishing

Category: Irish Fiction, Ghost Story, Paranormal, Romance, Book Review

Nora McNeill has always dreamed of exploring her Irish roots. When she finally gets the opportunity to spend a summer in the village where her grandparents grew up, the experience promises to live up to her very high expectations. Except for the ghost that is haunting her rented cottage and is soon invading her dreams.

Fulfilling what seemed like her lifelong dream, Nora McNeill has arrived in Ireland and is on her way to Cong, the location of her favourite film, The Quiet Man. Nora’s grandparents had been born there, were extras in the film’s village scenes, and Nora had been raised on stories of their home town.

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