Claire Doheney, recovering from a serious illness, agrees to house-sit an oceanfront mansion on Chappaquiddick Island in Martha's Vineyard. The New York book editor hopes to find solace, strength, and sufficient calm to finish a biography of the iconoclastic psychotherapist Wilhelm Reich. The last thing she expects to find is love. Then she meets a mysterious man the locals call the Hermit. No one knows his real name or where he lives.
Quite by accident and to their mutual surprise, Claire and the stranger discover that they share a passion for cooking. As Claire gets to know the Hermit, she finds rare qualities in a man most people have long since dismissed as an outcast. As Claire comes to appreciate this tiny island, with its colorful inhabitants, she experiences healing, redemption, and a happiness she hasn't known for years....
Until she discovers what drove the Hermit into seclusion. Will his terrible secret bring them closer together? Or drive them apart forever? The clock is ticking. Can Claire make peace with her disaffected daughter, callous ex-husband, and cynical boss? Can she let love into her life once more before it's too late?
Told by a New York Times best-selling author and international TV host with a keen eye for Chappaquiddick's extraordinary natural beauty, Island Apart has it all - romance, history, travel, crime, lovemaking of exquisite intensity, and cooking scenes so vivid, they'll make your taste buds ache with hunger. Funny, tender, engaging, poignant, and ultimately triumphant, Steven Raichlen's novel is a smart love story - not to mention a terrific beach listen.
I seldom hand out 5 stars...I think they are awarded so often they become meaningless. However this book comes close in my opinion. For a fairly brief novel, the book develops beautifully and with amazing thoughtfulness and heart.
If you enjoy cooking, you'll enjoy Steven Raichlen's lead characters. Both are innovative chefs and creative cooking becomes part of their courtship. The book isn't centered around food and cooking but it plays an important part in their growing relationship. I've never been to Martha's Vineyard but felt like I got to know the area from the writing and details in the novel which is set on Chappaquiddick Island. Claire and "the Hermit" are a mismatched couple whose relationship slowly grows, as Claire battles breast cancer and "the Hermit" hides from his past.
The plot is finely tuned with excellent dialogue and development of the characters. As I got to know them, and the story of their lives, I became more fascinated with their past-especially that of "the Hermit". Both of them grew as the story progressed and their embittered lives and hearts heal slowly but gradually as their relationship grows.
I very much enjoyed some of the secondary characters, especially Molly, Claire's daughter who has a case of terminal bad attitude and is resentful about both her mothers breast cancer and her parents divorce has a revolving collection of unusual boyfriends, of whom Wrench was most finely written.
Susan Boyce's narration was excellent-one of the finest readers I've heard on Audible and I plan on looking for more work that she's done.
This is one of the best romances novels I've read in a long time and I encourage those who enjoy the genre to give it a listen. I'd say it combines Nora Roberts with Jodi Picoult, though I think its a finer novel with better writing than either of these authors has written. I'm impressed that a male author can draw a woman's attitudes and feeling so well.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Island Apart the most enjoyable?
The gastronomic descriptions were inspiring. I also enjoyed the the background history and natural history that the author gives of the area. I got out maps and found that the book gave me some insight into a place that is fascinating to me.
Would you be willing to try another book from Steven Raichlen? Why or why not?
Yes, for when I need light easy reading.
What about Susan Boyce’s performance did you like?
Her voice is good but her accents and pronunciation of certain words lets her down. If the author wants to name drop with designer labels or dishes, the reader should say the names correctly.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yes, it is a short simple book.
Any additional comments?
I found that the main character was a little shallow. It may be that the author is male and is projecting the way he thinks a woman would react. Some of it didn't ring true.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Don't let the author fool you about the lack of beauty of Chappiquidick Island. Martha's Vineyard and this island are beautiful and peaceful places to enjoy. The island is a wonderful backdrop for this touching story. Enjoyed it all.
A rather silly romantic story, I couldn't believe the romance at all. The narrator might be good for other stories, but she can NOT convey a sense of humor, and that was a problem in this story which tries hard to be funny, but can't quite find it.
It is yet another book out there which you do not gain or lose anything by reading or not reading it. On top of the weak plot, there are too many parts with food recipes, which some reviewers have mentioned as a plus, but if I wanted recipes, I would get a cook book.
This brings me to the title of my review. Some parts of the book may be very disturbing for vegetarians and vegans. Especially those parts where the author explains in detail how lobsters and oysters are prepared were among the most disturbing parts for me.
So vegetarians and vegans beware!
Where does Island Apart rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
One of the very best! Intriguing Read!
Who was your favorite character and why?
Which scene was your favorite?
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Reminder not to make up one's mind until all the facts are in!
Any additional comments?
Those not listening to Island Apart are missing a great storyh.
I liked it. I think it is mostlyabout how life even in its hardest is always giving something good.I could go on that line of thoughts, but suffice it to say that it leaves you warm and content.
Also it has a realistic approach to relationships, very refreshing to listen that love is not only for teens and young beautiful people!
And if you enjoy food, well the story interlaces the smells, flavors and feelings in a very smart way.
I think it is definitively worthwhile.
The narrator is good, my only complaint is that sometimes the voices are not very differentiated from one another which in turn makes it hard to know who's talking.
In the beginning of this story I thought..ugh...this is a book for book clubs to analyse, not for casual listen. But it so good. Just stay with it. It is a beautiful story. I am so glad I listened to this story. Great narrator. Everything you want....it's right here.
I bought the book out of interest of the food and locale, being a New Englander. While it's an enjoyable book, and the food descriptions are quite nice, it's only a so-so story. It's a pretty conventional, highly predictable, love story. That being said, it's short, well-read, and pleasant--just not great literature. A good summer read, particularly if on the Cape or Martha's Vinyard.