So if you love books and reading and you haven’t yet listened to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s What Should I Read Next podcast, you’d better get on it. Stat.
Anne Bogel (Modern Mrs. Darcy) has come up with a genius formula for helping you decide what to read next. It started out as a blog series called “Literary Matchmaking,” and now she’s turned it into a weekly podcast where she interviews different readers and chooses books for them based on what they love, what they hate, and what they’re currently reading. Anne knows her stuff and I’m always fascinated by the titles she comes up with.
A lightbulb went off in my head when I heard her say it, and I thought, “Me, too!!”
Some of my favorite novels take place on an island.
Immediately after listening, I was inspired and decided to offer up to you — my lovely readers — a list of books to whisk you off to a remote island getaway. At least in the virtual sense.
Which is how I do most of my traveling anyway. Because books are cheap.
So here they are, in no particular order:
10 Island Getaway Books to Warm You Up This Winter
1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Set on the Island of Guernsey just after WWII, this epistolary novel is a delightful book, with authentic characters, a sweet bit of romance, and plenty of good ol’ human spirit. One of my all-time favorites!
When Libby receives a cancer diagnosis and equally devastating news from her husband on the same day, she escapes to the Caribbean island of Vieques to live out the rest of her days. Although the subject matter of cancer is serious, the novel itself is lighthearted and fun. A breezy, easy read, it will make you want to live life to the fullest.
3. The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
This one was discussed on the above-mentioned podcast and with good reason. It’s a fantastic little book about the owner of an island bookstore and the little girl who steals his heart. Fun and yet meaningful at the same time, this one’s a must-read for book lovers.
4. Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
This sweet novel is about Polly Waterford, who flees to a small island-ish town in Cornwall when her relationship falls apart. She meets plenty of interesting characters and cares for her wounded heart by baking bread that the villagers can’t get enough of. This one’s packed with romance and lighthearted fun. . . and it will make you want to get in the kitchen and knead some dough.
5. The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty
How could you not fall in love with a story that takes place on Scribbly Gum Island? I adore Liane Moriarty’s writing, and this book is no exception. It’s chock full of well-drawn characters who deal with serious issues, and yet the overall tone of the novel continues to be uplifting. The center of the plot is an unsolved mystery for which the island is famous. Along the way, Moriarty addresses hard topics with humor and a positive outlook, and she’s a fantastic storyteller. This one’s a fun but also heart-wrenching romp to the end.
6. The Blue Bistro by Elin Hildebrand
Set on Nantucket during summertime, this book tells the story of Adrienne, who heads to the island after her boyfriend leaves her broke. (Are you sensing a recurring theme to these novels?) The story is good, but my favorite parts of this novel are the descriptions of the food. Be warned: this breezy little book will make you hungry!
7. A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner
Taking a turn from the breezy summer novel, this story takes place on Ellis Island in 1911. Young nurse Clara Wood gets caught up in tragic circumstances and finds she cannot leave the island. There is also a modern day story that takes place in Manhattan. The two stories are tied together by a beautiful scarf. It’s an exquisite experience in storytelling.
8. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
A summer mystery set on a private family island, this is a story of family secrets and drama, with an ending that will knock your socks off.
9. Harbor by John Ajvide Lindqvist
So if you like your island getaways on the creepy side, this book’s for you. Also, don’t count on this one keeping you warm on a cold winter night. This story’s set on a snowy island, and there’s plenty of supernatural mystery and outright terror in this novel to keep you up all night. Quite Stephen-King-ish. I loved it.
10. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
If I never convince my daughter to read this book, I’m pretty sure I’ve failed as a mother. Anne Shirley might well be literature’s most lovable character. As a young orphan raised by a middle-aged brother and sister on Prince Edward Island, she finds her way into the hearts of everyone in town. Love, love, and love. And the Canadian TV series starring Megan Follows is absolutely superb.
Honorable Mention: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
It’s honorable mention because technically it’s not set on an island. It is, however, set on the Italian coast and is a gorgeous novel about love, lust, heartache and Hollywood. The story follows several characters along a path of 50 years, with lots of interesting turns along the way. A captivating book.
And there you have it. Your virtual island getaways to help you make it through the winter. What about you? Any “Island Getaways” you’d like to recommend? I’d love to hear ’em!