Little Island by Katharine Britton

Little Island by Katharine BrittonLittle Island by Katharine Britton
Published by Berkley on September 3, 2013
Genres: Fiction, Women
Pages: 320
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via TLC Book Tours for review consideration.
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Grace Flowers By the water Have fun!

Those were Joan Little’s last words to her daughter, Grace, written on a note she left behind. A grandmother herself, and proprietor of the Little Island Inn off the coast of Maine, Grace takes a pragmatic approach to the message, deciding these are Joan’s wishes for her memorial service. But it is the last instruction—Have fun!—that has Grace perplexed as she awaits the return of her far-flung clan.
The twins, Roger and Tamar, remain as close as they were in utero. Joy, the oldest, faces an empty nest that raises a troubling question: Who is she when she’s not being a mother? But something more than family unity binds the Little family together: a long-buried secret that haunts them all.
Now, they have come together to remember the past and discover that sometimes, all it takes is a few simple words to lift the fog and reveal what really matters.
Little Island is the deeply compassionate story of an extended New England family beleaguered by loss, misunderstandings, and terrible secrets from the past. It is also a story about the power of redemption and self-fulfillment. Ms. Britton understands everything there is to understand about the Maine coast, from the way fog "both muffles and amplifies sound" to the fishing techniques of ospreys. Best of all, she understands how, through love, the human heart can overcome just about anything.”--Howard Frank Mosher


Little Island caught my attention when I happened to be in the mood for a contemporary fiction, family-drama type of novel, and it had the added bonus of being set in Maine. It didn’t disappoint.

Joy, her mother Grace, her father Gar, and her twin siblings Roger and Tamar have been working through a tragedy from their past, one that has affected each of them in a different way. When they come together to hold a memorial service for Grace’s mother, tensions come to a head. Each family member is forced to deal with one another, as well as look within to find peace.

The dialogue was realistic, the characters complex. Britton spent plenty of time fleshing them out. Details about what happened in the past are revealed slowly, in pieces, giving the reader a chance to get to know the characters before judgment could cloud an opportunity to connect with them.

Gar seemed to get the short end of the stick as far as character development goes, but ultimately this is a book about mothers and their children, how motherhood affects identity, and the grief that comes with losing your mom. It’s wonderfully executed, complete with all the complexities that come with those relationships and the ways they change with age.

There wasn’t a single moment of this novel that failed to keep my attention. Little Island a feel-good women’s fiction type of story that kept me up into the wee hours of the night to finish it. Enjoyed this one.