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Review: The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley

Title: The Invisible Husband of Frick Island
Author: Colleen Oakley
Year published: 2021
Category: Adult fiction
Pages: 368 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location: (my 2022 Google Reading map)USA (MD)

SummarySometimes all you need is one person to really see you.

Piper Parrish's life on Frick Island—a tiny, remote town smack in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay—is nearly perfect. Well, aside from one pesky detail: Her darling husband, Tom, is dead. When Tom's crab boat capsized and his body wasn't recovered, Piper, rocked to the core, did a most peculiar thing: carried on as if her husband was not only still alive, but right there beside her, cooking him breakfast, walking him to the docks each morning, meeting him for their standard Friday night dinner date at the One-Eyed Crab. And what were the townspeople to do but go along with their beloved widowed Piper?
Anders Caldwell’s career is not going well. A young ambitious journalist, he’d rather hoped he’d be a national award-winning podcaster by now, rather than writing fluff pieces for a small town newspaper. But when he gets an assignment to travel to the remote Frick Island and cover their boring annual Cake Walk fundraiser, he stumbles upon a much more fascinating tale: an entire town pretending to see and interact with a man who does not actually exist. Determined it’s the career-making story he’s been needing for his podcast, Anders returns to the island to begin covert research and spend more time with the enigmatic Piper—but he has no idea out of all the lives he’s about to upend, it’s his that will change the most.

Review: Oh my, this is a good novel. I saw it recommended on a number of book blogs, bought a paperback copy, and finally got around to reading it and I am so very glad.

This is what I like to call a gentle read. There is no violence, no drugs or drinking, no blood, no murder. What it does have is excellent writing, great characters, and a plot that drew me in from the start.

I think everyone can relate to Piper and how she feels about her dead husband: she wishes he was still here. She talks to him, pretends he is still present. I get that. But everyone around her playing along? That's a whole new level of... love. That's what this book is really about. 

And Anders. Young and gung ho though awkward. He's so well intentioned even when he screws up that I wanted him to be ok. 

I would go crazy living on an island like Frick. Too few people, too little going on, but in this novel, I wanted to be there. I wanted to know the characters, walk its streets, and appreciate the pace of life. That's the mark of a really good story.

Challenges for which this counts:
  • Literary Escapes--Maryland

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