The Island 2 (2% – 17%)

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I love it!!! The book has just taken off, and I already love it!!!

The trip to Tuckernuck Island, which was planned for Birdie and her daughter Chess, has become a grander event, including Birdie’s other daughter Tate and her sister India. The trigger of this situation is when Birdie gets a call from Chess at 3 o’clock in the morning, telling her that she has called off the wedding. That night Birdie had been on her first date after the divorce. Her sister India had set her up with Hank Dunlap, a former teacher, whose wife has Alzheimer’s. Birdie is first reluctant to go out with Hank, but then she has a wonderful time, and the night ends with a kiss and a promise to see him again.

That night Chess calls Birdie, and explains that she went out to a pub with a friend, and then a few hours later she left the pub without her friend, went to her flat and called Michael to tell her that their relationship was over. Birdie tries to tell her that she might see things differently the next morning, but Chess is adamant. Then Michael tries to call her, but even though they talk for hours, she won’t change her mind.

Birdie is worried for her daughter, and her worries increase when she stops taking her calls. Then one day it is Chess who calls her mother to tell her that she has resigned from her job and sublet her apartment, so she is moving in with her. Birdie can tell that her daughter is depressed as she looks haggard and her usual good looks show the turmoil she is going through. Birdie, though, won’t talk about her worries, and Birdie decides to respect that.

Then something terrible happens. Another call that brings news. Michael, who was on a climbing holiday with his brother Nick, has died after falling when he was climbing. This shatters Chess, who thinks it is her fault that Michael died. The poor young woman is devastated, and in her miserable state she goes to a hairdresser’s and has all her hair shaved off. Seeing the state Chess is in, Birdie decides that she needs to do something. So the holiday she had planned for her and Chess now also includes Tate, her daughter, and her sister India.

As the four women are on their way to the island, we learn that the real reason why Chess left Michael is that she is in love with Nick Morgan, Michael’s brother. We don’t know the particulars and what has happened between Chess and Nick, but from her thoughts we understand that now that Michael is dead, Nick refuses her, so that adds up to her misery.  I think Birdie’s idea has been good, and this break will do Chess good.

Apart from Chess, we know more about Tate, who I think is a very interesting character. Tate is an expert in IT, and thanks to her job she is well-heeled. Tate used to be a tomboy, who hang out with geeks who also liked computers and Bruce Springsteen. She even heard her mother and aunt speculating about her sexuality and whether she might be a lesbian. Tate once thought that she wished she was. Her worst disappointment in life was when she was seventeen. She had a big crush on Barrett Lee, the son of the caretaker of Tate House. Soon she realised that Barrett hardly looked at her and made sheep eyes at Chess. However, one day when her parents invited Barrett to dinner, she tried to show interest in something he liked, which in this case was fishing. Tate made it clear that she wanted him to take her fishing, but Barrett’s responses were vague. Only when Tate’s father, Grant, offered to pay him for the fishing classes that Barrett agreed to take Tate fishing. This was not the disappointment, but the fact that after the day fishing, Barrett had prepared a basket for a picnic to go with Chess. That night Tate cried her eyes out, but she couldn’t help but feel relieved when Chess came back telling her that she had thrown up what she had eaten, and after that Barrett didn’t try to touch her.

Now that Barrett is the caretaker and has made all the repairs to Tate House, Tate still finds him very attractive and has designs for him. She tells herself that she won’t let Chess get him this time. I am rooting for Tate here. I hope that she gets some romance with Barrett.

The fourth woman in this trip is India, Birdie’s sister. We know that she was married to Bill Bishop, and they had four children. Her life changed when Bill committed suicide, and India was devastated for months. Yet, she managed to move on in life, found herself a job as a curator in a museum, and now she dates all kinds of men. Actually, Hank, the man who Birdie is dating now, is one of India’s castoffs.

I am enjoying the book so much already, and I think these four women are so interesting in all her differences. I think July is going to be unforgettable for these ladies.

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