Meg Mitchell Moore
Written by Kristen Boucher
I’ve always marvelled at the idea of summer reads. It’s as if a readers life automatically get’s put on hold when the weather turns itself up and we can all languorously relax beside a pool with a great read and a cocktail. We parents know however, that there is no time to stop no matter the weather and as such we take great reads when we can get them, come rain hail or shine.
Heading into the hottest part of the year however, if you can find time for the escapist beauty that is a novel, pick up The Islanders by Meg Mitchell Moore. A cathartic and uplifting book that will resonate with mothers, fathers and anyone who’s ever come face to face with a village full of secrets. As a mother, an unexpected one at that, reading about other mothers who are feeling and saying and being things that I also feel, say and be was transcendental. It can honestly make me feel that someone, somewhere for at least one moment in time - gets me.
The Islanders is a tale of three people, one summer on Block Island Rhone Island, United States of America. (Which is only 14kms from Montauk ironically because the book of the same name by Nicola Harrison was also brilliant.)
Lou, a stay at home mom with two boys who feels like her life just isn't enough; let alone her husband’s insistence on a third baby that she’s not sure she wants to have. Having left her high powered, respected role to become a stay at home mum, Lou thought she was living the dream, at first. As time goes on however, Lou realises that she doesn’t want to be identified as just a mum and sets out to find something more for herself.
Joy is a bakery owner and permanent resident on Block Island who is coming to terms with the fact that her baby Maggie, is no longer a baby. At 13, Maggie wants to test the perimeters of her world and Joy wants to hold tight to her little girl is not a little girl anymore. Couple that with a brand new food truck arriving for the summer and taking her business, Joy realises that her single mum, independent business owner world is being challenged by change.
And lastly is Anthony, a former best-selling novelist with a secret who arrives on Block Island to forget his own existence and avoid the troubles that have stacked up against him. Reeling from a mistake which has cost him his career, his family and his pride, Anthony has no idea that summer on Block Island is going to make sure he comes face to face with everything he’s left behind.
Together, these three characters form the basis for a story with so much heart it quite literally took my breath away. Each of the main characters and many of the side cast had a facet I could relate to, each of them dealt with their pain and their angst in such human ways that I could sincerely expect to show up on Block Is. next summer and have dinner with them as if we’d all been friends for years. The themes of identity, legacy and what it means to be a parent is so wonderfully woven and the backdrop of the New England Summer is a great landscape to paint such an intricate and heartfelt story upon.
The Island is a thought provoking story told at just the right pace, hitting just the right notes and saying all the right things. The perfect summer read is such a clichéd concept and I often wonder if it’s a term people apply to B grade books, quick romance reads and the fun trashy type novel that you can barrel through in a day. The Islanders is too good to be considered a 'summer read' in that regard but please do yourself a favour and pick it up. Definitely a story to be savoured when you have the time the lay around – possibly with a little umbrella cocktail.