3 and half star rating
Little Island
By Katharine Britton
ISBN# 9780425266359
Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Dawn


By the water
Have fun!

These are Joy’s grandmother’s last words—left behind on a note. A note that Joy’s mother, Grace, has interpreted as instructions for her memorial service. And so, the far-flung clan will gather at their inn on Little Island, Maine, to honor her.

Joy can’t help dreading the weekend. Twenty years ago, a tragedy nearly destroyed the family—and still defines them. Joy, Grace, her father Gar, and twins Roger and Tamar all have their parts to play. And now Joy, facing an empty nest and a nebulous future, feels more vulnerable than ever to the dangerous currents running through her family.

But this time, Joy will discover that there is more than pain and heartbreak that binds them together, when a few simple words lift the fog and reveal what truly matters…


The story begins with Joy. Her son Rex is going off to college. The empty-nest-syndrome is hitting hard.

She has lost herself over the years. She has no purpose. Joy holds in some serious emotional issues that result in her cutting. I was glad the author weaved this into the story because we often hear of younger people cutting but we rarely hear about a woman with a grown child doing it. The cutting spurred my interest. Why would she do that to herself? What happened in her past?

Britton takes us on a journey of discovery. She tells us a bit about each member of Little family. Grace and Gar have 3 adult children: Joy, Tamar and Roger. Roger is single, never married. Tamar is married to Daniel and they have twin daughters. Each member of the Little family is deeply flawed; it is what makes them memorable.

Grace and Gar has been married a long time. They run the Inn but they are getting older. They had hoped Roger would step into the roll but he has been a disappointment to them. Grace has called everyone home for a memorial service for her mother. It has been a long time since they were all together.

Tamar is a lawyer who has never truly bonded with her children. I initially thought Tamar was a cruel woman. She taunts her siblings; she seems lazy as well as unconcerned about how she effects others. By the end of the book I understood her much better but it does not excuse her behavior.

Roger is the only son. He is a fraternal twin to Tamar. They have always shared a unique bond. Roger is an alcoholic as well as addicted to pain killers. I think he uses them to escape his life.

There was a horrific incident 20 years ago. It deeply effected each one of the Little family in a different way. It has torn them apart but it not what it seems. As the information is revealed, it is shocking.

I connected most with Joy. I was really proud of her for confronting Tamar. It was a pleasure to see Roger grow as well. He deserves better. He has had such a weight on his shoulder for 20 years. It was very satisfying to see him rise above it as the truth comes out.

My only complaint with Little Island is its a bit too descriptive. The daily minutia is difficult to trudge through. That said, it is a well written book with memorable characters.

Little Island is not a quick read. You will need to immerse yourself in the book. I recommend the book to men and women but not young adults. I think there are too many adult situations for YA.