19 July, 2012

From the Review Pile #11

From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by 
Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review, but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

These Granite Islands by Sarah Stonich

In this beautifully written novel set in the small town of Cypress, Minnesota, Isobel, a former milliner, now an older woman on her deathbed, recalls the summer of 1936 -- a pivotal season that forever changed her life. That summer her husband, Victor, bought a remote island where he took their two young sons to vacation while Isobel slaved at home in her hat shop with her daughter, Louisa. When a striking, enigmatic woman named Cathryn enters the shop, she and Isobel forge a fast friendship, sharing intimacies and deep secrets. As Isobel says, "A person need only walk over your threshold and your life can become forever changed, lived under a different sky." Stonich weaves her story seamlessly between the present -- the elderly Isobel's hospital bed in the wake of a stroke -- and the past, where she acted as a lookout for Cathryn and her lover, Jack, a handsome forest ranger. But Cathryn and Jack not only hide but disappear that summer, culminating in a fiery mystery. Reflecting on that summer and beyond, Isobel examines her own tragic losses -- losses even more devastating than that of her friendship with Cathryn, forcing Isobel to view her life, her marriage, and her own choices in a new light. These Granite Islands is a thoroughly accessible literary debut -- Stonich's lovely prose is speckled with atmospheric detail, revealing an affecting tale of love, loss, and unusual friendship. 

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