Island in the Clouds – in Dominica!

Soon after moving to Bequia in 1996, we received a message from a fellow Queen’s grad who saw our notice in the university’s Alumni Review about retiring to a Caribbean island. She wanted to pick our brains about our experience of moving to the tropics. That’s how we met Gwen Whitford who came to check out Bequia. She eventually settled on the island of Dominica and still lives there today, where she teaches and writes. I was in contact with her again in January when I announced the ePublication of my new novel. Gwen offered then to read and review it. As well as sending me some very kind words, she also attached pictures to be included in my Where in the World??? promotion. Thanks, Gwen!

It did take me a bit of time to read ‘Clouds’. Carnival season was hectic. I really did pick away at your book – only because I am loathe to read a book on a screen. I am sorry – I do not enjoy the electronic format for books. I can’t wait for the paper copy. I just find it too hard on my eyes and too uncomfortable. And I am on the computer for hours every day doing other things, so it takes away from the pleasure of plopping down on the bed or snuggling up in a chair.

Anyway, I finally finished it last night and I LOVE IT!

Whenever I had a chance, I read at least one chapter. I was spellbound by the development of the plot and the quirky twists that you sprinkled throughout. Sometimes I found I was even holding my breath! I also was laughing to myself about many of the cultural differences that you so cleverly pointed out between foreigners and Bequians – well I would say all West Indians for the most part. As an expat living in Dominica for almost 15 years, I could really identify with so many of Geoff’s remarks about life on Bequia. I also wondered how readers who have not spent much time in the Caribbean (other than as a tourist) would identify with the cultural differences. Don’t Stop the Carnival!

In addition, I was intrigued by the descriptions of Bequia and I could actually place myself in many of the locations (Admiralty Bay, Moonhole, the taxi stand, the Frangi, the ferry dock, etc), thanks to the two visits I had with you in 1997 and 2001. My slight familiarity with the setting really added to my enjoyment of ‘Clouds’, because I could easily picture the places in my mind. However, your narrative, but very descriptive writing style would make it easy for any reader to ‘picture’ the place. As well, some of the characters reminded me of people you had introduced me to there – but I am sure that is purely coincidental! 😉

In my dreams, I can see myself flopped down on one of Bequia’s lovely beaches with ‘Clouds’ on my lap, a cool brew beside me, and between chapters, a dip in the sea as I work my way through it in an afternoon or two.

I have attached a few pics of my office setting and the view from my office porch. My companion, Tia-pet, always patiently waits for me while I trance out on the computer.

Thanks again for this wonderful murder mystery. I can’t wait for the next one!

Keep in touch.

Best wishes and a cheery hello to Dennis too!

Gwen in Dominica

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