While contest judges may not have considered my novel worthy enough to make their shortlist, I’ve just received far-better validation from a friend who offered to read and write an advance review I can now use in pre-publication promotion.
And what validation and praise it is, coming from an author who also intimately knows Bequia!
Thanks to Felicity Harley who I promoted previously on Reading Recommendations, and who sent me congratulations on Reading Recommendations‘ anniversary, and wrote a guest post about her two book clubs, and wrote a fabulous review on Amazon of Island in the Clouds … which is how we first “met” online, and since then in person this year while we were both on Bequia.
Here’s what Felicity has to say about One Woman’s Island:
Among its other virtues, One Woman’s Island beautifully captures the spirit of being on the island of Bequia. I also enjoyed the fact that the author’s ear for the local dialogue is faultless.
Besides its lush and exotic setting however, throughout its pages, the book accurately and with pathos reflects the end of an unsatisfactory marriage for narrator Mariana, who is constantly searching for something meaningful to take its place.
There are a slew of interesting characters in the book as well, including a talking parrot and the visitor from hell.
As Mariana tries to sort out her own life, she takes a young girl, Verity, and her two children under her wing, and is criticized about her “plan” in no uncertain terms by Al, one of the die-hard ex-pats who live there:
“I’m so sick and tired of you do-goodnik, butt-in-ski foreigners who come here with your socialist attitudes thinking life should be a bed of roses for everyone in the world. It’s not. What you don’t understand about Bequia is while it doesn’t have an organized social safety net like what you’re used to in pinko Canada, the people here do generally look after their own—maybe not to the level of your satisfaction, but there haven’t been any cases of people starving to death from neglect on this island lately, so far as I know. Am I right, Doc?”
Besides having interesting and believable characters, there is also a fast-moving plot that keeps the reader engaged, including several murders taking place over the course of the winter months Mariana is staying on Bequia.
Perhaps the heart and soul of the book is summed up at the end by Mariana and Tex, a fast-talking, larger-than-life guy with a heart of gold, and one of my favorite characters:
“When I came here last October, I thought Bequia was going to be paradise, Tex,” I said quietly.
“Here’s how I see it: any place you are can be paradise. It’s all in your mind; it’s whatever you want it to be.”
With its complex characters, fast-moving plot, authentic setting and underlying seriousness of questions so skillfully raised, One Woman’s Island is a book that should garner a wide readership, one far larger than those who are already familiar with Bequia.
But for those of us like myself who are familiar with the setting, we’ll enjoy the island the author presents in her book as one we’ve come to know and love, despite its all-too-human complexities.
I’d better get cracking and prepare that MS for ePublication! And I now have my “quotable quote” with that second-last paragraph. It’s perfect for advertising copy!!
Thanks, Felicity! I just can’t thank you enough!