I read several favorable reviews about this book, but sadly I wasn't as impressed. It was definitely a character driven novel, but I found the writing overwrought and lacking substance.
The story takes place on Vaschon Island, Washington, a remote island accessible only by ferry or boat. The locale seemed lovely and the beauty and tranquility the island seemed to offer takes on a life of its own -- makes me want to live there. There are (2) major characters in this story: Walter, a grumpy senior citizen, who is also awell known writer of children's books. He is also a man who has struggled with alcoholism. Maggie, the other main character, is a former school librarian who is now retired. At 65 when she thinks of Walter, she can't help but recalls a much earlier encounter with him when she worked as a librarian. Maggie's also a nosy lady who likes to snoop on others, and she spends much of her time feeling sorry for herself, and the way her life turned out. Both of these characters enjoy their solitude and privacy. There are a few minor characters on the island as well. Miss Martha, a senior, senior citizen who shares wisdom of the ages; she's now 91, and, there is Bill Bailey, Walter's dog who is mentioned so often I had to count him as a key player.
When the story begins, Maggie hears Bill Baily, Walter's dog, howling non stop and goes over to check things out during a high wind and rain storm. She finds Walter has fallen off of a ladder and is injured. She calls for help and he is taken to the hospital. In the interim, Walter asks Maggie to care for his dog, which she does. As the novel progresses, and it is a painfully slow process, they begin to see the good in one another and form a connection.
I can see the appeal of this book for some readers who enjoy setting more than story, but it's just not the type of novel that I typically enjoy, and honestly I didn't care for the main characters either.