Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Genre: Historical Fiction
Ember Island is a remarkable historical novel that hooked me from the word GO! It’s a dual storyline, with the chapters alternating between 2012 and 1891. It reminded me a lot of The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow, which I also greatly enjoyed. Nina is a highly successful writer who is feeling mad pressure to finish her next novel. When she gets word that her great-grandmother’s island home has been damaged, she decides to stay there while it undergoes repair. It’s the perfect secluded place to write, or so she thinks. Pieces of Nina’s great-grandmother Tilly’s diaries are popping up all over the house and in the walls. Tilly has always been the family outcast, so Nina is fascinated as she discovers, piece by piece, what is hidden in her ancestor’s past.
Dual storylines can be tricky to pull off, but I feel that Freeman did a fabulous job at it. Also with dual time periods, I tend to enjoy the parts that take place in the past more, and that’s certainly the case here, though Nina’s story wasn’t a throw away. I’m not a writer, but I can imagine the stress involved to continually produce best-sellers.
Escapism at its best, Ember Island is a great novel to get lost in! A great setting, touch of romance, and suspense, I highly recommend checking it out. Fans of Susanna Kearsley, Lucinda Riley, and Liz Trenow will appreciate this novel. Now, I’m off to get my hands on Wildflower Hill and Lighthouse Bay!