Apr 16, 2014

Island of Doves (Review and Giveaway) by Kelly O'Connor McNees

Unforgettable storytelling
Island of Doves by Kelly O'Connor McNees
Berkley Trade, April 2014
Paperback, 384 pages
Review copy provided by the publisher
Burton Book Review Rating:4.5 Stars

(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.


  1. Great review!

  2. The title sounds intriguing! The cover looks it too!

  3. Well I absolutely love historical fiction and I love the idea of a woman breaking free from her monstrous husband and venturing out to find her own happiness and freedom. And the cover is gorgeous! The title helps be visualize the island and it seems just beautiful (who doesn't love doves!).

  4. Great review, Marie. I agree with your taste in books so I look forward to reading this one. The cover is beautiful!

  5. This historical sounds captivating, the characters unforgettable and the story wonderful. Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. The setting on Mackinac Island draws me as I love to visit there as often as I can.

  7. I love the cover. The novel's subject of an abused wife, leaving her husband and finding a better life, also draws me to it. Thank you for the giveaway.

  8. First, I was drawn to Island of Doves because of the title. Then, the cage lying on the sand drew my interest. Ever since I read the book "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou, cages have drawn my interest. I also like the fact that the main character starts a new life on an island, Mackinac. It also interests me that she survives emotionally after living through so many trials, a horrible marriage, etc. I think this book is a page turner. Would love to win it and read it to find out.

  9. Gorgeous cover and the setting has me really intrigued! Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. I've always wanted to go to Mackinac Island so reading a novel set there might have to do. Hope I win :)


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