Miranda Schuyler returns to Winthrop Island, her former home she left 18 years before following tragic events. She’s now a famous Shakespearean actress married to a famous director and this is the first time she’s visited since then. A lot happened then and she’s not quite sure why she’s back but has reached a pivotal point in her life and is hoping the Island will help her find answers to questions she hasn’t even asked.
The story is told through Miranda’s point of view, transitioning between 1951, the year she first arrived on Winthrop Island, and 1969, the year of her return. The other narrative is provided by Bianca Medeiro in 1930, a crucial year when the future of so many of the characters important to the story in the present was shaped. I normally like past and present alternations but here it was extremely confusing, primarily because I didn’t know who Bianca was for such a long time into the story and had no context in which to place her narratives. And, Miranda’s reasons for leaving the island and for her return were shrouded in secrets, revealed slowly throughout the book. Maybe if I knew more about both women earlier, I could have become more invested in their stories. As presented, I never felt part of them or could experience what they did before, during and after their significant events.
It’s still an interesting story, one I sort of untangled before the big mysteries were revealed. The characterizations of those who “summered” on the island and those who lived there year round were well done. I got a really good sense of the dynamics of the cultures and how they coexisted. Miranda’s acting world was also fascinating. But, I failed to connect with anyone important in the story and their behaviors were often inexplicable, especially Miranda’s relationship with her mother and stepsister. I listened to the book and wonder if reading it would have been a better experience, even though the narrator delivered a fine performance.
- Release Date: July 10, 2018
- Narrator: Kristin Kalbli
- Audio Length: 11 hours, 54 minutes
- Publisher: HarperAudio