Island in the Sun by Katie Fforde: A super, slow-cook love affair – book review –

A trip to the Caribbean island of Dominica to track down a rare archaeological stone for her father should have been a treat for Cass, who is happy to revisit a place she loves.

But the remote island has been hit by a powerful hurricane, leaving destruction its wake, and Cass’s visit will not just test her personal resilience and bravery, but take her down a rocky road of self-discovery.

Escape to a beautiful (but in this case battered) landscape across the seas in popular author Katie Fforde’s love letter to Dominica... a tale of intrigue and romance inspired by her own family history and experiences in Dominica, and in particular those of her cousin, Dr Lennox Honeychurch, an anthropologist and writer of numerous books on the history of the island.

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Packed with the breathtaking dangers and dramas of an island population coping with the aftermath of a fierce hurricane, and Fforde’s trademark cast of eclectic characters, this is the perfect antidote to the tail end of winter.

Convinced that her divorced parents will never accept her dreams of becoming an artist because they believe there is no future in it, Cass is giving herself a final summer of freedom before starting a course to become a teacher.

When her famous, professional photographer father Howard invites her to his home in a remote corner of Scotland, he asks her if she will travel to Dominica to fulfil a promise he made years ago to an old friend, and she can’t see a reason to say no, particularly as she fell in love with the island on a visit some years ago.

Howard wants her to photograph a petroglyph, a rock with figures carved into it, dating back to prehistoric times. He has a map showing how to get to the site, but a photograph of it could potentially help the island benefit from a competition prize worth thousands of pounds.

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Accompanying Cass on the journey will be the ruggedly handsome ’hotshot journalist’ Ranulph who is a neighbour of her father and has his own connections to Dominica but when they arrive it’s all hands on deck to help the battered island before they can begin looking for the rare stone.

What’s more, there are others looking for the petroglyph – one of them dangerously ruthless one –and soon the hunt leads Cass down a path that will test both her courage and her initiative. Add on the complication that she is falling head-over-heels for cool-headed Ranulph and this is a summer she will never forget.

Cass’s rollercoaster journey takes her from a youthful blend of defiance and uncertainty to a woman discovering her fighting spirit, the stirrings of a love that might be more than just a fleeting romance, and on a very different path in life to the one her parents might have mapped out for her.

From the crystal clear sunshine of the Scottish highlands to the devastation of an island struggling with the aftermath of a terrible storm, Fforde plunges us into the heart of community brought together by a disaster, and into a high-stakes race against time to find the ancient stone carvings.

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Packed with the author’s natural warmth and wisdom, and her special brand of sparkling storytelling, Island in the Sun is a super, slow-cook love affair, perfectly spiced with surprises and danger, and served up with all the finesse of the ‘godmother of romantic fiction.’

(Century, hardback, £16.99)

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