Island Apart by Steven Raichlen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book resonated with me perhaps more than any other novel I have ever read. I'll still always have works like "Lord of the Rings" at the top of my favorites list, but LotR is more of a "I want to be there" and "this journey is important to me" kind of experience, "Island Apart" feels like the author got in to my head while he was writing and concocted a tale just for me. The setting, Martha's Vinyard, is an East Coast version of where I live in the Pacific Northwest. The male lead in the story is an extreme version of me: reclusive, introspective, and wary of painful contact with other humans. He's perfectly content in his solitude and comfortable living life his own way. The other islanders refer to him as "the Hermit", and it fits.
I'm a big fan of Rosamund Pilcher, and this is basically her style but told by a Yank in a Yank setting, with the requisite flashbacks to an earlier time and gentle explorations of interpersonal relationships in a colorful setting. Skillfully drawn characters galore. The female lead does a bit of overreacting at one point, dangerously close to the "psycho-harpies" who annoy me in cheap romance novels. But it's a brief, solitary moment and doesn't mar the story at all.
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