It has been twenty years since Lucie Bowen left the islands. Twenty years ago, the May Day Quake set loose catastrophic waves along the west coast, from Alaska to California, shattering thousands of lives. Read more...
It has been twenty years since Lucie Bowen left the islands. Twenty years ago, the May Day Quake set loose catastrophic waves along the west coast, from Alaska to California, shattering thousands of lives. Twenty years ago, Lucie's father disappeared in an explosion at the Marrow Island oil refinery, a tragedy that destroyed the island's ecosystem and sent Lucie and her mother to the mainland to start anew. Twenty years ago, Lucie and her best friend, Katie, were just Puget Sound children, tucked up under their desks, hovering under mylar sheets, hoping to survive.
Now, Katie writes with strange and miraculous news. Marrow Island is no longer uninhabitable, no longer abandoned. She is part of a community, a mysterious Colony, that has, somehow, conjured life again from Marrow's soil. Lucie returns. Her journalist instincts tell her there's more to the Colony and their charismatic leader--a former nun with an all-consuming plan--than its members want her to know. The island's astonishing rebirth seems to have come at great cost--perhaps to the colonists themselves. As she uncovers their secrets, will Lucie endanger more than their mission? What price will she pay for the truth?
I was always a part of you, and you were always a part of me, Katie writes. And in this marvelously spun story Alexis Smith reaches into the depths of our connections to our pasts, our loved ones, our devotions. Our choices may bring us to the brink, but within our promises to each other and our hopes for the future, at the intersection of science and faith and grace, there may well be miracles in the making.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-03-21
- Reviewer: Staff
Smith’s excellent sophomore effort (after Glaciers) follows struggling journalist Lucie Bowen who, after being deeded ownership of the island cottage of her childhood, returns there to live and regroup. It’s been 20 years since she and her mother fled Orwell Island on Washington’s San Juan archipelago, after a devastating 7.9-magnitude earthquake rattled the land, blew up a refinery, and took her father’s life. But a letter from her childhood friend Katie has beckoned her back. Katie has joined an environmentalist commune on previously abandoned nearby Marrow Island, and she touts that her farm collective’s efforts have revitalized the land and invites Lucie to visit and see the changes for herself. Their reunion and the looming sense of menace ratchet up the novel’s suspense; the dread is clear from the outset due to Lucie’s journalistic skepticism. As the two women—along with forest ranger Carey McCoy and colony leader Sister J.—interact over a weekend on the island, it becomes disturbingly clear that Marrow Island may be having a sinister effect on the dedicated, religious citizen farmers living off the primitive land. Smith’s story carries the same heft, descriptive nuance, and narrative spark that distinguished her debut, but this time, she more finely hones her characters’ emotional rhythm and atmospheric location to create a thoroughly eerie reading experience capped off with a startling conclusion. Agent: Seth Fishman, the Gernert Company. (June)