Whimsey is a novel of southern fiction with a splash of magic and a touch of fantasy, topped with a sprinkling of humor.
The magic was already there when cigar-smoking matriarch Elizabeth Calhoun established an artist's colony on an island off the coast of Georgia and named it Whimsey. Elizabeth's ghost still drops in from time to time to make sure things are going as she planned. There's also a wicked pixie named Earlene who fancies tight-fitting designer clothes and Louboutin stilettos.
Elizabeth's grandniece, Emma Hamilton Foley, a once-promising jewelry designer who moved away from the island, now fears her talent has deserted her. Along with her four best childhood friends, she has been invited to be a resident artist at Whimsey's new upscale gallery, Les étoiles. To join them, she'll need to regain her talent, face the demons from her past and her feelings about Eli Tatnall, whom she loved as a girl. Will moving back to the Island of Whimsey bring the magic back?
Whimsey is a story of hope and affirmation, about families and best girlfriends, connections and feelings. It's about the things in life that make us happy and the things that scare us to death. And the people who walk through life with us.
... because indeed, on the island of Whimsey, everything is, indeed, for the best, in this best of all possible worlds.
This book came along at just the right time for me - I was laid up with a badly injured ankle, in a lot of pain, and in need of all the good cheer that could come my way. And Kaye Barley's novel is as full of good cheer as Santa, Disneyland and the collected works of Norman Rockwell.
Jewellery designer Emma has lost her mojo in the wake of a personal tragedy, and is persuaded by the many who love her to return to the wonderful world that is Whimsey, an island established as an artists colony by her Grandmother (who still likes to hang around, a benign post-mortem presence, along with Emma's imaginary "evil" twin Madeline and a pixie names Earlene). Someone isn't pleased to see her back, even if old boyfriend Eli and a host of friends certainly are - but it's no spoiler to say that all ends well. This is a story of pure fantasy, where wonderful art meets fabulous food, friendships are deep and enduring, families are fully functional, and everyone can spend her days creating things of beauty in between reading her favourite books (Lee Child), playing with cats and corgis, wearing gorgeous clothes, drinking wine, and meeting her musical idol (Willie Nelson).
Susannah Burney does an excellent job as narrator, bringing light and colour, warmth and humour, and doing well to differentiate characters. I will look for more of her work.
I received this audiobook free for review purposes (though I had already bought the e-book on my own account), but my opinions are independent and my own.
This book proves not only can you go home again but that you should. Emma tried to leave Whimsey in the past but when things go wrong in her life and her artistic jewelry line takes the hit , she eventually figures out she needs to find her inner magic again and with some help from her long dead aunt Elizabeth the only place that it can be found is on the island of Whimsey. I loved the scenes with Aunt Elizabeth and the crayon and the story of finding you crimson, we all need this lesson!
I also enjoyed the pixie Earlene, I loved that she made silver glitter fall off of Emma without her even realizing it. Oh who am I kidding I loved every character in this book. The whole ensemble is there for a reason each with their own set of advise to Emma and when she finally decides to listen to all the people and island are trying to tell her things get much better for. I also want to see her jewelry; I want to see these colors the colors of a sunrise on Whimsey with colors no one has a name for.
This book is right up there with Sarah Addison Allen in southern magical realism; in fact I think these two authors should get together because the big grand opening of the gallery needs a caterer and who better than the Waverly sisters!
Susanna Burney narrates this book; her narration is good my only quibble was that sometimes her voices weren’t consistent. But overall I enjoyed her narration she didn’t go full out on a southern accent so it sounded fake she just had a hint of it that made it believable, her characters were good with my one quibble being the exception.
I highly recommend this book to southern fiction lovers, especially fans of Sarah Addison Allen. This book has the same feel good aftereffect that Sarah’s books do. I was surprised to find this is Kaye’s first novel; I look forward to reading anything else she writes!
I received this book from the author for a fair and honest review. Thanks for the pleasure of listening to this delightful story!
Any additional comments?
Whimsey is a story that centers on the island community of the same name, the women who live there, and the ghosts that look after the residents. I loved the premise of an island with a ghost that acts like a fairy godmother. However, this story would be much better with more character development and a coherent plot. Also, there were several grammatical errors that a good editing should have caught.
Susanna Burney's narration is excellent. She makes her characters sound likable with good pace, inflections, and tone. I also liked the differing voices she uses for the characters - not only between the genders, but the generations as well. It is because of her performance that I finished this book as she somehow made it better.