I loved the descriptions of the island and the butterflies. The women on this island were made from sturdy stock. I loved learning all the secrets that the women on this island had accumulated throughout their lives. I did find it hard to understand what was really happening at times and I really did not like the ending all that well. It seemed to leave me hanging a bit as to what the island was really like. I enjoyed most of the story and I really liked the characters. I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
I give this book a four out of five stars.
THE WOMEN OF PEARL ISLAND
Author: Polly Crosby
Publication Date: December 7, 2021
Publisher: Park Row Books
Instagram: @ polly_crosby
Polly Crosby grew up on the Suffolk coast, and now lives deep in the Norfolk countryside. THE BOOK OF HIDDEN WONDERS was awarded runner up in the Bridport Prize’s Peggy Chapman Andrews Award for a First Novel, and Polly also won Curtis Brown Creative’s Yesterday Scholarship, which enabled her to finish the novel. She currently holds the Annabel Abbs Scholarship at the University of East Anglia, where she is studying part time for an MA in Creative Writing. THE WOMEN OF PEARL ISLAND is her second novel.
With the same atmosphere and imagination of THE BOOK OF HIDDEN WONDERS, Polly Crosby’s new novel, THE WOMEN OF PEARL ISLAND is set on a lush, secluded island where family secrets bring together an unlikely friendship.
On a secluded island off the British coast, an elderly woman named Marianne collects butterflies and memories from her past. No longer able to catch butterflies herself, she enlists the help of a young woman named Tartelin who has peculiar birthmark on her cheek. Tartelin’s mother has recently passed, leaving her unmoored and eager for new beginnings on the island.
Marianne has spent most of her life on the island, her family having owned it for generations. She begins to tell her young assistant her family’s story – from the prosperous days when they harvested pearls and held banquets, to the harder times and her father’s desperate money-making schemes. But during WWII, the British government commandeered the island for nuclear testing and they were all forced to leave. Though, secret to everyone, Marianne stayed behind and experienced something she calls “the blast,” an event that changed everything for her. Now, the older woman is obsessed with tracking the changes in butterflies and other creatures on the island to prove what she witnessed so many decades before.
With a mystery spanning decades, this is an emotional and atmospheric story of a young woman coming into her own as she forges an unlikely friendship with her employer, both women grieving their pasts and together, embracing a new future.