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The Island    by Elin Hilderbrand Amazon.com order for
Island
by Elin Hilderbrand
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Birdie Cousins, her sister India, and Birdie's two daughters, Chess and Tate, are heading to the Tate family cottage on Tuckernut Island, off the coast of Nantucket. The woman are going for a month, to rest and heal. Chess has recently broken her engagement to fiancÚ Michael, and then received the devastating news that he was killed while rock climbing with his brother Nick. Chess feels Michael's death is her fault. No one knows why Chess called off the engagement or the secret she is keeping. She has quit her job, shaved her head, and refuses to eat. Birdie and Chess have never been close and Birdie hopes that this month away will bring them closer and help Chess's heart heal.

Tate, the younger daughter has been recruited to help with Chess. While growing up, Tate was always the tomboy while attractive Chess received all the attention from the opposite sex. Tate is a successful computer consultant and travels for her job, but at thirty and still single, she has always remembered the boy she fell in love with on Tuckernut, Barrett Lee. Barrett only had eyes for Chess back then, but now Tate knows Barrett lives on the island and will be their groundskeeper while they are there for the month. All grown up now, Tate believes she wants to tell Barrett how she has felt about him all these years.

Birdie has recently divorced Grant, her husband of over thirty years. Grant is a dedicated lawyer and Birdie felt that she and the girls deserved more of his time. Birdie is moving forward in her life, enjoys living by herself, and has started dating Hank Dunlap. He is a true gentleman but Birdie is getting mixed messages from him and is confused. Aunt India, Birdie's sister, is an art curator in Pennsylvania, and widow of the famous sculptor Bill Bishop. Fifteen years earlier, Bill committed suicide, leaving India to raise their three sons and carry on in life. Now India has an admirer in a twenty-six year old art student, whom she knows her family would not accept.

The Island is a story of family love and healing, in which four women, different in ages and circumstances, all try to navigate themselves back to happiness. They have come together to help heal each other on a remote island with very few conveniences or interruptions. Hilderbrand delivers with plenty of sea air, sand, and love of family.

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