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The Island House    by Nancy Thayer order for
Island House
by Nancy Thayer
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's a light yet satisfying read, ideal for beach or hammock, and set in a place with plenty of both - Nancy Thayer's The Island House. Most of its events center on a summer house on Nantucket, that has become a second home for many. There, Susanna Vickerey welcomes her children's guests as her own summer children.

The story evolves mainly from the point of view of Courtney Hendricks, who spent all her summers on Nantucket with her college roommate, Robin Vickerey. In fact she has been going there for a decade. Courtney grew up in Emporia, Kansas, loving to ride and with neighbor Monty Blackhorse as her best friend through childhood. He seems interested in a closer relationship, but Courtney (now an English professor in Kansas City) has unfinished business with Robin's brother James.

Life has not been all rosy for the Vickereys. The family patriarch is a surgical genius and the eldest son, Henry, seemed destined to follow in his footsteps, but had a breakdown as a sophomore at Harvard. He continued his studies but has wrestled with his 'bipolar demon' ever since. Now, though Courtney and James love each other, he is concerned about his genetic heritage and unwilling to commit to having children together, a deal breaker for Courtney.

Readers get to share Robin's perspective - and her secrets - as well. In fact, quite a few relationships go on the rocks in The Island House, and not all are recoverable, which can be a good thing. This is a sweet story, in an idyllic setting, yet one that also addresses some tough topics and hard decisions. A most satisfying read!

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