Anders Caldwell is a young, nerdy, and earnest journalist. He aspires to be successful like his childhood hero, Clark Kent. He works full-time at a low-budget newspaper and does a podcast in his own time. When he is sent to cover a ‘cake-walk’ on a nearby island, he life is irrevocably changed.
Piper Parrish is in her early twenties and is a very recent widow. Her beloved husband Tom was a waterman (crab fisher) who perished at sea during a storm. Unable to face her life without him, she invented his presence in her life and carried on as usual. The islanders, who all love Piper like a daughter, go along with her pretense so as to support her in her bereavement.
Frick Island – is a dying island located in the Chesapeake Bay. Climate change, pollution, and rising sea levels endanger its very existence. Accessible only by boat, the island is home to some 90+ people who are more like one large family than most communities. Eccentric and ‘salt of the earth‘ simultaneously, the residents are a colorful lot. Frick is a ‘dry island’ meaning that the sale of alcohol is prohibited. The island does not have a doctor, the internet, or cell phone signals. They are ruled by the things that the islanders have always been rules by – the tides and the weather. The main industry is crab fishing. I loved the way the character of Anders described the buildings on Frick:
“They weren’t abandoned looking – no broken glass or boarded-up doors – just worn, lived in, loved. The Velveteen Rabbits of real estate.”
What a fun and moving little novel! The story is told with equal parts humor and poignancy and the balance between the two is perfect.
Frick Island (inspired by the real-life Smith Island) is a unique, three-square-mile island community that makes you want to live there yourself. A place where everyone knows everyone else, and they support each other through everything life has to throw at them. An island that is indeed under threat of climate change. An island that values tradition over anything else and is adverse to change. An island that does have a special cake named after it.
Piper Parrish and Anders Caldwell were endearing characters that I’ll remember for a long time.
Yes this IS a love story – but it is SO much more! The island serves as a microcosm of society. It is a treatise on bereavement and grief with themes of loneliness paramount. It is a novel of assumptions, secrets, and learning to love.
Highly recommended! A delightful melding of women’s fiction and ‘Uplit’.
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Berkley Publishing via NetGalleyPublication date: May 25, 2021
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
ISBN: 9781984806482 ASIN: B08H15ZCWR 362 pages
Colleen Oakley is the USA Today bestselling author of You Were There Too and other unconventional love stories. Her books have been lauded by People Magazine, Us Weekly, Library Journal, and Real Simple, and long-listed for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, four kids, and the world’s biggest lapdog. Her fifth novel The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise will be published by Berkley/Penguin in March 2023.
Connect with Colleen Oakley via Twitter: @OakleyColleen