Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Book Review: The Islanders by Meg Mitchell Moore


Pages: 416
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: June 11, 2019
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Library Thing Early Reviewers
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Anthony Puckett was a rising literary star. The son of an uber-famous thriller writer, Anthony’s debut novel spent two years on the bestseller list and won the adoration of critics. But something went very wrong with his second work. Now Anthony’s borrowing an old college’s friend’s crumbling beach house on Block Island in the hopes that solitude will help him get back to the person he used to be.  Joy Sousa owns and runs Block Island’s beloved whoopie pie cafĂ©. She came to this quiet space eleven years ago, newly divorced and with a young daughter, and built a life for them here. To her customers and friends, Joy is a model of independence, hard-working and happy. And mostly she is. But this summer she’s thrown off balance. A food truck from a famous New York City brand is roving around the island, selling goodies—and threatening her business.  Lu Trusdale is spending the summer on her in-laws’ dime, living on Block Island with her two young sons while her surgeon husband commutes to the mainland hospital. When Lu’s second son was born, she and her husband made a deal: he’d work and she’d quit her corporate law job to stay home with the boys. But a few years ago, Lu quietly began working on a private project that has becoming increasingly demanding on her time. Torn between her work and home, she’s beginning to question that deal she made.  Over the twelve short weeks of summer, these three strangers will meet and grow close, will share secrets and bury lies. And as the promise of June turns into the chilly nights of August, the truth will come out, forcing each of them to decide what they value most, and what they are willing to give up to keep it."
Anthony Puckett had it all. A wife, a son, and a successful writing career despite the fact that his father, an even more successful writer, never really supported or encouraged him.  Anthony was trying to write his second novel, but buckled under the pressure. What if it isn't as good as his first? Can he meet the rigorous deadlines? He ended making a very poor decision and one that ultimately ended his career. Then his wife separates from him and takes his son.  Anthony needs some time to get his act together, so he borrows a friend's house on Block Island.  Anthony's next door neighbor is a young mother, Lu, who is an attorney turned stay-at-home mother to two young sons. She is spending the summer on Block Island, thanks to her in-laws.  Meanwhile her husband, a successful doctor, spends weekends there. Although this schedule is hard for Lu, she has learned to deal with it as her husband is never around.  It gives her a lot of time to work on her successful blog Dinner by Dad where she pretends to be a stay-at-home dad and shares antidotes, recipes, etc.  Much to her surprise, the blog has taken off and she is making a decent income, but it's hard to balance that with watching the kids all day. Plus, there's the huge problem of what will happen when her controlling husband finds out about her blog. Then there's Joy, a Block Island fill-time resident, who owns a whoopie-pie bakery and is also a fan of Lu's blog.  Joy is a single mom raising a teenager and trying to do it all.  She unexpectedly hits it off with Anthony, but there's so much baggage they are both bringing to the relationship. Can it actually work out? Joy doesn't even know about Anthony's past, his child, or his real last name.  Slowly Anthony, Lu, and Joy's stories intertwine and make for a delightful beach read; fans of Elin Hilderbrand will enjoy The Islanders by Meg Mitchell Moore.

When a writer has three main characters and breaks up the chapters with their narratives, it can either be a good thing or it can be really, really annoying.  In the case of The Islanders, it worked for me, because I actually cared about Anthony, Joy, and Lu. It was interesting to read their different point of view regarding a shared event.  

I really felt for Anthony in The Islanders and although he made very stupid decisions (plagiarizing!), you could tell he really wanted to start over and fix his mistakes. I just wish he would have been more upfront with Joy from the beginning, but that wouldn't make for a good story would it? I also was interested in his relationship with his father, a James Patterson-esque sort of prolific writer that puts out bestseller after bestseller.  Their dynamic was not only strained, but also competitive, so when readers find out a few family secrets, it gets even more dramatic.

I really liked the character of single mom, Joy, and loved her dedication to her bakery. Her relationship with her teenage daughter was realistic and when her daughter gets a job nannying for Lu, all of the characters' stories become a little more interwoven.  Her relationship with Anthony was definitely great despite the secrets.  Nonetheless, I was rooting for Joy in The Islanders, especially when her bakery gets some big time competition from a food truck.

Lu was also a character that I enjoyed and could relate to as she is a mother of boys.  I felt like Moore portrayed the highs and lows of being a stay-at-home mother very realistically.  Lu's relationship with her husband was cringe worthy though. I did not enjoy him in the least bit and felt he was extremely controlling. I mean she has to hide her successful blog from him, because god forbid she has something for herself? He was a straight up misogynistic creep.  I was definitely invested in Lu's story and was hoping things would end up ok for her in The Islanders.

This is my first novel by Meg Mitchell Moore and I have to say I am pleasantly surprised. I loved how she intertwined all of the characters' stories while making it a light, but engaging beach read. The setting of Block Island was fantastic and memorable. My only issue was the ending in The Islanders. It was a bit over-the-top and dramatic, but overall, it didn't bother me tremendously. 

If you love beach reads, give The Islanders a try this summer. It has something for everyone: romance, mystery, relationship drama, family secrets, a gorgeous setting, and more. 



2 comments:

  1. This sounds like a really great summer beach read!

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    Replies
    1. It truly was! I was pleasantly surprised and loved the setting of Block Island. I want to go now. ;) Thanks for visiting, Angela.

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