Little Island, book review and #giveaway

by Jennifer Donovan

5 Minutes for books managing editor Jennifer Donovan received a copy of this book to facilitate her review, but as always, her opinions are her own.

little island

Family drama — we all have it, right? I often think that my family’s trials and tribulations, skeletons and challenges are unique, but the more I talk to people, the more I see that they are not. Reading a novel such as this one makes my family seem practically plain vanilla.

When Grace’s mother dies, she tries to put together the funeral based on a note she finds: “Flowers. By the water. Have fun!” Planning a funeral is difficult enough, but when it occurs on the 20th anniversary of the tragic car accident that altered the lives of every member of their family in some way, it makes it even more difficult.

Joy, the oldest, lost her best friend Bonnie in the accident. Her brother Roger served time and is still drowning his sorrows all these years later. His twin sister Tamar seems to almost have lost the ability to feel anything.

The Little siblings meet up on the Maine island to pay their respects and support their mother, Grace. Even though they are all adults, their childhood personalities come out. They bicker some, they cast blame, they nurse resentments, and they all seem to feel misunderstood in some way.

In addition to the past, they are all dealing with their own issues from the present, which intensifies the emotion. Tamar has brought her eight-year-old twin girls along without her husband, who is the primary caretaker, and she’s nervous about the responsibility. Roger is contemplating moving back to the island and helping his parents run the inn, but worries if they even want him to. Joy is taking her only son’s recent departure to college hard.

Little Island by Katharine Britton felt so real and warm and comfortable, and also somewhat magical, as life on a small island seems to feel all the time. There’s laughter and fighting, running away and a rescue. Each of the characters grew, which makes this kind of read satisfying to me.

I enjoy these kinds of books, because as I said, it makes my family and my own baggage seem normal, but also because it reminds me that people can always change.

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Email Author    |    Website About Jennifer Donovan

Jennifer Donovan has been a part of the 5 Minutes for Mom team since 2007. She writes product reviews, covers events, and manages the 5 Minutes for Books weekly column and website. She lives in Houston and blogs at Snapshot about life with her family.

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mozi Esmes mom September 9, 2013 at 2:24 am

It’s easy to relate to! :)


2 Anne September 9, 2013 at 11:23 am

the emotions, friction and interaction of the characters is always fascinating.


3 DEBIJOT September 9, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Family drama usually make for good reads.


4 Liz September 9, 2013 at 3:40 pm

The realization that family issues are not unique to my family.


5 Cindi September 9, 2013 at 9:11 pm

I have a degree in Psychology and the relationships
among people; especially, families, has always
fascinated me!
Thanks, Cindi


6 Kerrie Mayans September 9, 2013 at 10:18 pm

I just like the drama that families can put each other thru but still stick together because after all, they are family. :0


7 riTa September 9, 2013 at 11:06 pm

drama and love= constants in our family


8 Jessica T September 10, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Haha! Cause my life is always full of it!


9 Heather September 11, 2013 at 11:01 pm

I like reading about other peoples lives.


10 Tarah September 12, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Usually they make you feel like your family is normal in comparison. Plus who doesn’t love to be nosy and read about someone elses drama.


11 Marian Boll September 12, 2013 at 1:52 pm

To think that my family is a normal standard family.


12 Allison September 12, 2013 at 8:53 pm

It’s easy to relate to family stories


13 samantha w September 13, 2013 at 8:15 pm

I love reading about families and how they interact together.


14 Irene Yeates September 14, 2013 at 4:38 pm

I really want to read this book! Every time my siblings and I get together, it amazes me how much our memories of the past are so different! I really was shocked when my younger sister (the baby of the family) always thought I was Mom’s favorite. When I told my brother (middle child), he started laughing, and when he stopped, he commented, “We were the serfs; she was the Queen.”


15 Megan Parsons September 14, 2013 at 6:11 pm

I like to see how other people handle situations and family drama!


16 Madonna September 15, 2013 at 4:40 am

I like the dynamics and how they interact with each other. I like when the writer lets you see how each person sees a specific situation and you can learn about how misunderstandings occur.


17 Aimee September 17, 2013 at 5:07 pm

We have so much drama in my family, you’d think I’d be sick of it! But, I still enjoy reading a good novel with a dash or two of family drama!


18 deana c September 18, 2013 at 8:19 am

What draws me is they seem somewhat realistic and not fantasy. Like it could happen to someone you know. I love to see how they work through it and I can relate!


19 Susan Smith September 18, 2013 at 10:28 am

I like reading about other peoples lives and how they interact with one and other.


20 katklaw777 September 18, 2013 at 10:56 am

It’s nice to know we all have problems to solve and we can change to make things better!


21 Stephanie Larison September 19, 2013 at 1:48 am

I love family drama, lol since my family is so boring it’s a nice change to get a peek into someone elses.


22 melodi September 20, 2013 at 9:00 pm

its always enjoyable to read something you can relate to


23 Lori Walker September 21, 2013 at 7:30 am

grew up in a chaotic household – so i like to read about family drama


24 Laura September 21, 2013 at 8:14 am

I don’t have enough in my family ;)


25 Monja Blue September 21, 2013 at 8:31 am

Fascinated by the characters patterns, problems and plot. Thanks for a chance to win this intriguing book!


26 Melissa B. September 21, 2013 at 8:53 am

I’m drawn to books about family drama because the mixed up lives of the characters make my family look more normal!


27 kathy dalton September 21, 2013 at 9:15 am

I like reading books that are real!!!


28 Nancy September 21, 2013 at 9:18 am

I like to see the relationships in the family as well as across the generations.


29 Diana Hatch September 21, 2013 at 9:24 am

Love reading other families dramas but my own


30 Virginia September 21, 2013 at 11:57 am

I love to read and stories about families always give an insight as to how others live and solve their problems.


31 Virginia September 21, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Everyone has summer memories. Last year was one for us as we celebrated two weddings from two different adult children’s kids with all the family together to enjoy one another. We love everyone; there is no drinking or wild parties or brawling, etc. There is just expressions of joy at being together as a Christian family.


32 Tara C September 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm

The level emotional involvement that dramas evoke in the reader.


33 Mihaela D. September 21, 2013 at 10:55 pm

because they make you feel like your family is normal in comparison.


34 Sara Duff September 22, 2013 at 12:12 am

To compare family stories with my own and bring back my own memories and experiences.


35 Barbara Butler September 22, 2013 at 12:16 am

love those types of books they just keep me into them


36 Rajee ( September 22, 2013 at 12:28 am

love to read thriller and family drama


37 Barbara Butler September 22, 2013 at 12:29 am

love a good book


38 Michelle C September 22, 2013 at 12:37 am

Because you can relate to them.


39 Sand September 22, 2013 at 1:59 am

The interaction between characters.


40 Kathie Craig September 22, 2013 at 2:12 am

It is real. What we see on TV and in the movies is scripted. No one’s life is perfect.


41 Melissa Mazzur September 22, 2013 at 7:22 am

Its so relateable


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