Berkley Trade, April 2014
Paperback, 384 pages
Review copy provided by the publisher
Burton Book Review Rating:
(Read my review of McNee's debut novel, The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott)
Vivid and enthralling, Island of the Doves tells the story of a courageous woman who is desperate for freedom and of those who will risk everything to help her .
Susannah Fraser lives in one of Buffalo’s finest mansions, but her monstrous husband makes the home a terrible prison. When a local nun offers to help her escape, Susannah boards a steamship headed for Mackinac Island and a chance at freedom.
Magdelaine Fonteneau has seen her share of tragedy—a husband murdered before her eyes, two sisters lost—and she sees offering Susannah refuge in her island home as atonement for her many regrets. This act of kindness changes Susannah in ways she never could have imagined as she finds solace in the company of others who carry their own secrets and scars. Only together can they untangle their pasts—and find a future bright with the promise of new life.
The heroine Susannah Fraser is a strong woman who seemed doomed to her fate with an abusive husband until a complete stranger helps to spirit her away to Mackinac Island. It is there that her new protector Magdelaine seeks renewal and forgiveness for her past hurts, and we watch the two women form a bond that is heartfelt and true. Remembering the past and discovering the characters the reader is treated to a bit of a mystery, along with drama and a tender romance. With several supporting characters that weave together in an epic/saga type of way, several themes will play a part until it all comes together in a glorious finish.
Island of Doves was a fantastic story that involves sadness, grief, loss but ultimately gives us a longed for happy ending that the characters deserve. They will stay with you long afterwards, as you will fall in love with the courageous women of the odd little place of Mackinac Island who survive unhealthy relationships. The writing style of Kelly O'Connor McNees is enchanting and leaves no stone unturned while handling delicate emotions in a realistic manner. Very well done and highly recommended.