Ellie O’Neill’s sophomore novel, The Enchanted Island shares a few things in common with Marian Keyes’ work. The two writers are both Irish and they pen engaging chick literature that is easy to read and fun to immerse yourself in. The Enchanted Island also manages to combine some quirky Irish magic and humour into its oddball, verdant mix.
The book is a first person narrative starring Maeve O’Brien. She’s a modern woman and trainee lawyer who can often be found posting on social media, getting Botox and posing for selfies. She’s a little vapid and self-obsessed but she’s also very real. I think there’s a little bit of Maeve in all of us.
O’Brien’s workplace is a battleground and the threat of redundancy is looming. She’s also committed a terrible act, she’s stolen her friend’s credit card in order to pay for her beauty treatments. So when the opportunity arises to go to the remote and mysterious island of Hy Brasil (a real place found to the West of Ireland), Maeve jumps at the chance because all she really needs to do is get a certain man’s signature.
But all is not as it seems on this particular island. The inhabitants are resistant to change and Sean Fitzpatrick (the man Maeve needs to meet in order to sign a contract) is proving elusive. This novel is like Hy Brasil itself, there is more to it than meets the eye. It will remind readers of what it’s like to get back to basics and to appreciate the simpler things in life. The lead character goes through a huge transformation and certainly becomes more likeable as one gets deeper into the story.
In all, The Enchanted Island is an engaging and beautiful tale with a dark undercurrent. It’s also a humble story that will resonate with readers because the island is resplendent and cloaked in an infectious and seductive mystery. In short, this is one whimsical, modern romance and love letter to Ireland. Recommended.
***Please note: a free copy of this book was given to the writer through a Beauty & Lace giveaway. To read the original review on that website please visit: http://bookgirl.beautyandlace.net/book-club-the-enchanted-island