- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Harper (May 15, 2012)
- ISBN-10: 0062107968
- Source: Publisher
Nora Cunningham is married to the youngest attorney general in Massachusetts state history. On the surface she appears to have a perfect life with two daughters, Annie and Ella. This perfect life is shattered when news of her husband’s infidelity is spread like a virus by the local media. Humiliated, Nora escapes with her daughters to Burke’s Island, a small bit of land off the Maine coast.
Nora spent her early childhood on this island but hasn’t returned since her mother disappeared decades ago. Not much of her family remains, save for her aunt. When she arrives, she is greeted with warmth from the majority of the island’s citizens, but there are a few who hold her, and her mother, responsible for some of the island’s tragic past. Then there is Owen Kavanagh, a shipwrecked man whose body Nora finds on the shoreline. He’s quite mysterious, his memory lacking due to his injuries.
The Island seems to be the perfect place for Nora to reevaluate her life, including her marriage and her mother’s disappearance, and plan a new course for her life…
This is where this book went wrong for me. At times I felt there was too much detail, too much information and then there were others I wanted more details. I wanted to enjoy this book, truly, given my fondness of the author’s previous book, The Lace Makers of Glenmara. Unfortunately, it fell short for me. I felt there was too much happening, too many details, that didn’t really come together for me at the end. Nearly halfway through the book I was tempted to stop, yet something inside me urged me to go on. Unfortunately, my hopes of the book really coming together, really moving me, didn’t happen.
It’s not that I didn’t connect with Nora, I really did. Perhaps without her character I would have stopped reading midway through the book. It’s just that so much was left hanging, so many things not tied together. The hints of Irish mysticism that were thrown in perhaps would have brought everything together if they were developed more. It’s hard to gauge with a book like this: would more information help in developing the storyline more or would it simply be unneeded, extra text?
That’s not to say that I wouldn’t encourage others to read this book. The setting is absolutely gorgeous, matched with the author’s beautifully detailed prose. Perhaps you’ll pick up on something I missed, something I overlooked. It really is unfortunate that this book fell short for me.