Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Enchanted Islands - Book Review

Frances Conway and her husband Ainslie move to the desert island of the Galapagos during the 1940s. They gave up their relatively comfortable life in San Francisco to live in a ramshackle hut and grow their own sustenance. In Enchanted Islands by Allison Amend tells the story of Frances Conway beginning with her childhood in Duluth, Minnesota as Frances Frankowski at the turn of the century. The novel follows her adventures that eventually lead to her drastic move with her husband to the famous islands. Though Frances and her husband were real people and they did live on the islands, Amend tells a fictionalized version of the events.

Though I expected the novel to spend more time with the Conways on the Galapagos Islands--they didn't actually arrive there until page 154--I actually really enjoyed the early part of Frances's history. Amend crafts a beautiful story of friendship, betrayal and a desire for acceptance and love. The writing flows so smoothly, that I was able to easily get lost within the story and the characters. Frances was a vulnerable character with the odds against her, yet she continuously shows her grit and self-preservation.

Enchanted Islands is an unusual tale of intrigue, love and relationships. Secondary to that, is Frances and Ainslie's time on the island. The islands are fascinating and the idea of living a quiet existence bent mostly toward daily subsistence is at times appealing. By moving to the islands, Frances is denying herself certain comforts and luxuries but found a peace and amount of joy there to fully sustain her. Similarly, Frances's personal relationships mirror the lessons of the islands.

Enchanted Islands by Allison Amend was quickly devoured as I enjoyed reading more about the Frances. As formed by Amend, she was an engaging and inspiring character.

Enchanted Islands by Allison Amend is published by Nan A. Talese and released on May 24, 2016.

**I received a complimentary copy of Enchanted Islands. All opinions are my own. No compensation was received.**

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