I was excited to read this novel chosen as the Whidbey Reads for 2017. While the novel takes place on a fictional island in the San Juans, the author notes that she borrowed heavily from Whidbey Island of which I am a resident and native.
The plot revolves around an event that happens once every hundred years. For six nights a bay on a small island glows, tiny creatures giving off light. The event has been a part of native lore, passed down from generation to generation. Researchers descend on the bay. One of them has an ulterior motive and that will change the destiny of many.
I enjoyed this novel, mostly because it takes place nearby. The characters were not developed as well as I would have liked. The character driving the plot is Rachel, an organic chemist who is obsessed, hoping to find an answer to her physical pain in the luminescent animals. She is probably the best developed character although it took nearly half the book to find out the source of her physical pain. Other characters help provide a subplot that I thought was a little far fetched.
I was disappointed in the ending of the novel – not what happened to whom but how it all came to be. I felt the plot was moving forward but then it all seemed to spread out and just end.
I recommend this novel to those who would like to get a flavor of life in the Pacific Northwest and the San Juan Islands. You'll learn some about sailing and boat repair too.
My rating: 3/5/stars.
Ashley Ream got her first job writing for a newspaper when she was sixteen. This is her second book. She and her husband live in Seattle. You can find out more at http://ahream.com/.
Flatiron Books, 320 pages.
Author photo by Eric Stone.