Sanctuary Island. Lily Everett. St. Martin’s Press. July 2013. 352 pp. pbk. ISBN #: 9781250018373.
Ellie and Merry Preston are on their way from Washington, D.C. to Sanctuary Island at the request of their mother, Jo Ellen, who has not seen them in years because of her former alcoholic status. While she has begged for contact over that very long time, it is only now after years of therapy that Ellie agrees to take Merry to meet their mother. Ellie insists she expects nothing and is only there to make sure Merry doesn’t get hurt, especially as Merry is very pregnant and not known for her wise decisions in the past. Jo Ellen is to have two weeks with her daughters but secretly hopes it will be much, much longer! Whether Ellie can get over her bitterness and anger to handle just the two weeks remains to be seen!
Immediately on arrival, the girls meet Jo Ellen’s handyman, Grady Wilkes, and the sparks fly! No, initially it’s biting, barbed comments back and forth operating between the romantic sparks, all of which don’t bode well for the impression both Ellie and Grady are making on each other and certainly creates a heck of a lot of confusion. Grady, nevertheless, winds up helping Ellie who has an accident and twists her ankle as she falls through a crack in the staircase leading up to her mother’s home. It could have been prevented but a young teen who avidly resents their presence isn’t quite careful in her warning for them to be careful on their approach to the house.
Now is where the plot begins to get interesting and no, it’s not predictable at all. Merry immediately warns to the mother she always longed for and Ellie will make things worse when she discovers a secret that doesn’t remain a secret for long with her mother. Grady turns out to have a serious wound but his internal wounds from the event causing the physical harm is much worse and threatens his future life with a confined existence on the island. A conflict about money will drive all through some big mistakes but eventually a well-thought-out plan that eventually brings harmony and promise for the future but not until Ellie and Grady thump it out verbally and emotionally and allow the romance to have a very small chance.
Lily Everett knows how to keep a reader’s interest by inserting problems and the struggle through them just at the right moment; all in all the plot development is superb and that makes the romance as it evolves even sweeter!
Sanctuary Island is a riveting read with something for everyone, as well as many descriptive scenes depicting a place everyone would love to visit or to live permanently. Finely presented, Lily Everett!