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Apr 27, 2014

Ember Island by Kimberley Freeman

Another fantastic novel from Kimberly Freeman!

Ember Island by Kimberley Freeman
Simon and Schuster; April 15, 2014
Paperback 448 pages
Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for this review
Burton Book Review Rating: 4.5 Stars

A riveting story of secrets and scandal
1890: Orphaned as a small child, Tilly Kirkland found a loving, safe home with her grandfather in Dorset. But nineteenth-century England is an unforgiving place for a young woman with limited means and as her grandfather's health fails, it seems perfect timing that she meets Jasper Dellafore. Yet her new husband is not all he seems. Alone in the Channel Islands, Tilly finds her dream of a loving marriage is turning into a nightmare.
2012: Bestselling novelist Nina Jones is struggling with writer's block and her disappointing personal life. Nothing is quite working. After a storm damages Starwater, her house on Ember Island, she decides to stay for a while and oversee the repairs: it s a perfect excuse to leave her problems behind her on the mainland. Then Nina discovers diary pages hidden in the walls of the old home. And a mystery unravels that she is determined to solve. Though the two women are separated by years, Starwater House will alter the course of both their lives. Nina will find that secrets never stay buried and Tilly learns that what matters most is trusting your heart.
Previous reviews of Kimberley Freeman's novels:
Wildflower Hill
Lighthouse Bay

This newest novel by Kimberley Freeman has a bit of a Bronte/du Maurier gothic flair to it with the story line that features Tilly and a strange new husband in England's Channel Islands. And even though throughout the novel Tilly comes off as a crossover of a psycho whiny but lovely young lady, we get to fast forward to present day with Nina's story as she is struggling while writing her next novel while vacationing in an ancestral cottage in Australia.

When Tilly runs away from a disastrous life she finds herself acting as a companion and teacher to a very intelligent pre-teen lady who turns out to be our other main character's great grandmother. When Nina comes across the writings of this young lady she is inspired and longs to find more of what she has written. Tilly's effect on the young lady is profound and is quite a story of which you will just have to see for yourself. I'll give you a hing: It involves escape plans, prisoners, fire, death, nightmares, betrayal and love.

The settings were wonderfully portrayed with strong character development throughout, with the very strong supporting cast that created a fast moving narrative. I really enjoy the fluid writing style of the author, and she doesn't disappoint with Ember Island. With her novels she has always been able to cleverly intertwine the past and the present, and when the characters do switch back and forth I am never unnerved. There is a feel of epic-saga story quality, and with this one the gothic touch that I alluded to earlier is rather thrilling. Very well done and I highly recommend all of her novels. This one is definitely going to be mentioned in my best of 2014 list.