Thursday, October 17, 2013

An Island Just for Us by Barbara Hattemer

Elena is with her family as they summer at their cabin on an island in Maine's Penobscot Bay. She is anticipating her senior year in college and is weary of her shallow dating life. She longs for a relationship like her parents have – loving and committed.

Todd has come to the same island with his grandmother, remembering her summers there as a child. He'd recently given up a good job to help her, the only family support he had. But Todd's life was anything but settled. His father would be getting out of jail soon and Todd knew he wanted to help his dad – somehow. And his mother? No one knew where she was. Todd hoped the time he and his grandmother spent on the island would help him clear his mind and and prepare him for the future.

When Elena and Todd meet, a romance blossoms and it looks like this will be a summer they have both been looking for. But then Elena finds out her younger brother is getting caught up in pornography. Her family struggles to help her brother. They rely heavily on their Christian faith throughout the whole experience. Todd is affected too as his past comes to light. Will the relationship Elena and Todd survive the turmoil?

This is a good novel on a tough subject. I thought it was going to be a general and light hearted romance until Elena's brother and his friends get into pornography. Suddenly the novel took on a whole new level of meaning. I was struck by how quickly the boys got hooked on the material. I was also reminded how pervasive pornography is, even within the Christian community. Hattemer has done a good job explaining the seriousness of the issue within the context of a fine novel. She doesn't preach. She just tells it like it is.

Also, I liked the setting. Being from the Pacific Northwest, it was fun reading about the family summer activities. Hattemer has summered all her life in Maine's Penobscot Bay so her descriptions of places and activities are authentic.

This is a fine novel centering around a very serious subject. I recommend it. Just be aware that it is not one of those light and fluffy Christian romance novels. This is how life really is – not so neat and tidy. Even in the untidiness, however, God is always near.

Barbara Hattemer worked for a management consulting firm before marrying and raising four children. She has been active in the fight against pornography for eighteen years, debating, giving interviews, writing articles, and working with authorities and organizations. She has recently turned to writing inspirational women's fiction. Her first novel, Field of Daisies, dealt with Alzheimer's disease. You can find out more about her at

Oak Tara, 246 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through the Book Group Network for the purpose of this review.

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