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LITTLE ISLAND: A novel ~Katharine Britton

“How many of us live lives driven by rules and assumptions that we never test?  I stood a moment, watching the tide slip out through the channel, feeling a new sense of freedom and an understanding that we are only as stuck as we allow ourselves to be.”   Joy Little


The Little family is gathering at the family’s Inn for a memorial service for their maternal grandmother.  LITTLE ISLAND is a story about that Inn, the family which has been there for generations, and of the people who are connected to this family.  The family Inn is connected to the mainland of Maine by a causeway and the family has to be fully aware of the tides and the rules of nature. The Little family has experienced loss, a major tragedy and they have a wealth of secrets which keep them holding on to old assumptions and communications.

Joy is the narrator of LITTLE ISLAND and we see the family through her eyes and thinking.  She is the second born child, but holds the role as the oldest because baby Abigail died.  Joy’s partner is not at the weekend event because he is driving their only child to college.  She has an emptiness and is attempting to fill in the gap and tackle her sense of loss.  This weekend is also the 20th anniversary of a drunken driving accident which killed Joy’s best friend.  The family rarely talks about this event, though it is part of every moment of their lives.

Tamar and Roger are the twins and in LITTLE ISLAND twins are a big part of the story.  Roger is not married and has no children, but he is hoping his father will consider him “grown up” enough to take over the Inn for the family legacy.  Tamar is a lawyer who brings her twin daughters to the weekend without her husband so she can prove that she is a good mother. The reader can sense that divorce will be a part of her future.  She is hoping that Joy will take charge of the twins and provide childcare so that she can just be herself and not be responsible.  Tamar adores Roger and wants all his time; to be as close as they were as children.

Gar Little is the owner of the Inn and part of that family tree and he is busy keeping the family involved in traditions at the Inn and all the property issues that need repair and he wants his family to carry on the Inn’s legacy – his work is very physical and demanding.  Grace, the wife and mother, does a great deal of cooking and childcare while trying to figure out her mother’s wishes for a memorial service from a rather cryptic, short list she found.  Grace takes us on several memorable hikes, sharing the beauty of the island and her love of her home.

The writing is very beautiful and the capture of emotions and conversations are wonderful. I loved the moments of humor that the family shared.  The family peeled back the layers in short, little bursts and they did not yell or hit with their angers. Lots of good thinking and actions were part of the story. When there proved to be enough little reveals, they just stopped hiding and let go of the secret; it took a big event to pull them back together. LITTLE ISLAND provided the catalyst for discovery and resolution.  Each character was ready to let go and move forward.

tlc logo  TLC Online book tours sent me this book for review.  The writing was so thoughtful, hopeful, and I just held onto the story – I am sure I will want to read this book again – LITTLE ISLAND.

There is a reader’s guide for book groups included with this story.

The author lives in Vermont and teaches at the Institute of Lifelong Education at Dartmouth College.
Katharine Britton Online
Katherine Britton on Facebook

Related:
The Moon Sisters
My Mother’s Funeral
Coincidence
In The Land of the Living

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11 Responses to “LITTLE ISLAND: A novel ~Katharine Britton”

  1. Terrill Welch Says:

    This sounds excellent Patricia! I am looking for another book to read during our travels. Little Island by Katharine Britton just might be a perfect fit.

    Patricia Reply:

    Terrill,
    I really warmed to this story and the family transitions. Nicely written about Island life also. Yes, I think you would like this one.

    Loving your touring information on FB!!!
    Patricia recently posted..LITTLE ISLAND: A novel ~Katharine BrittonMy Profile

  2. Sara Says:

    I’m always amazed when an author can juggle so many characters in a story and keep their individual story lines moving forward. From your review, it sounds like the author did this well.

    Once again, an excellent review, Patricia. You’ve given enough to want to check this book out:~)
    Sara recently posted..The Italian VillaMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Sara
    I very much enjoyed this story, even knowing there were predictable parts coming up they enabled one to focus on the individual dealing with the crisis and not the crisis.

    Yes, lots of characters
    Patricia recently posted..LITTLE ISLAND: A novel ~Katharine BrittonMy Profile

  3. Sam Juliano Says:

    Yes, your trenchant summary of the plot pulled me in hook, line and sinker. It is always a riveting read when certain feelings are repressed, perhaps to re-surface at a specific moment of remembrance or tension. Sounds like there are two tragedies woven in here. Excellent review!

    Patricia Reply:

    Sam
    At least two tragedies, and then the back story reveal opened up some of the sources of these problems. Complex puzzle mixed with hope
    Patricia recently posted..LITTLE ISLAND: A novel ~Katharine BrittonMy Profile

  4. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Patricia – This sounds like delicious front-porch reading here in beautiful Boise, Idaho. As always, THANK YOU!

    Patricia Reply:

    Laurie it was just perfect sitting on my deck and enjoy some sunshine

    I just liked this story very much
    Patricia recently posted..THE QUICK: A Novel ~Lauren OwenMy Profile

  5. Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours Says:

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

    Patricia Reply:

    Heather J
    I enjoyed this book very mu

  6. Katharine Britton, author of Little Island, on tour May/June 2014 | TLC Book Tours Says:

    […] Tuesday, May 27th: Patricia’s Wisdom […]