Islands of Time by Barbara Kent Lawrence. I really like it. The story, about a girl from away spending her summer in Maine, then coming back to Maine to reclaim herself, resonates with me. It’s also a love song to the people and landscape of Maine.
Linda Greenlaw, New York Times best-selling author and swordfishing captain. Her most recent book is Seaworthy.
Barbara Kent Lawrence has written a page turner of a novel about first love, its loss and the near hopeless pursuit of recapturing that for which one was unprepared.
Some of us never recover or recapture its tenderness, vulnerability and our surrender to its poignancy. But few of us are able to articulate with Lawrence’s unsparing clarity how it marks us for life, and how we yearn to recover what was lost due to an unwillingness to trust its power.
Rebecca Granger returns us to a time that is past but an emotion that lives on. Hers is a character so deftly drawn that you will sympathize, empathize and possibly fall in love with her. Prepare for a day or night of non-stop reading because you won’t put Islands of Time down. Barbara Lazear Ascher, Author most recently of Dancing in the Dark; Romance, Yearning, and a Search for the Sublime. Barbara Lawrence draws us into a steadily deepening engagement with a passionate, self-demanding character who is determined to create a new existence out of a broken past. The reader shares her growing freedom and empathy as she returns to a Maine island to revisit the site of a passionate encounter that has colored her whole existence. Over the course of the novel her errors and vulnerabilities become a source of strength. Her brave encounters with solitude and uncertainty take her beyond herself into unknown emotional territory. Islands of Time provides an amazing insight into the longstanding cultural divisions of the Maine coast and the possibility of transcending them through human compassion and understanding.William Carpenter: Author, A Keeper of Sheep, The Wooden Nickel.
Islands of Time is a deeply sensitive and revealing work. ...I read it ...in three furious days - I couldn't put it down! It is masterful the way Lawrence has woven the narrative so that it moves throughout time with such fluidity, while still pulling us forward into a better place. She captures something really true about our lives; the way past pain is like a current in us and must be exorcised from us before we can restore the 'house' (literal and metaphorical) and occupy it with love and openness. It feels like that for the reader and that is probably the highest compliment one can pay to a work of art, that there is a vein of truth in it that can only come from someone being brave enough to show us their guts; the good, the bad, and the hopeful. Caitlin FitzGerald, Actress: It’s Complicated, Like the Water, Masters of Sex.
“For those who love Maine island life and enjoy a story that draws from the love of Maine, populated by real Maine characters, Islands of Time is a perfect read.”Goodarticles Penned by Barbara Kent Lawrence, a former Maine resident who treasures the state and its people, Islands of Time is a multi-layered love story, rich in emotion and introspection....Lawrence moves effortlessly between the 1950s and the present day as Becky’s memories surface....people of all ages can relate to Becky’s journey — her struggle to understand how past events, tragic and wonderful, have shaped her life, and how to move forward in the best way possible. Aislinn Sarnacki: The Bangor Daily News http://bangordailynews.com/2013/08/06/living/10-new-maine-books-to-read-before-summers-out/ “A good book is food for the soul, and for those who love Maine island life and wish for a novel that draws from the love of Maine coupled wih a story rich in love, romance and passion, Islands of Time can be the perfect summer read....It’s clear that Ms. Lawrence has used real life experiences of her Maine island life to give the book such depth, and the years she has spent undestanding the cultural divisions of this island have been put to great use through the intricate characters she has built and brought to life. SCOOPASIA Lawrence...has achieved an absorbing story of an archetypal ‘awkward’ teenage girl in a sensitive study of one woman’s life. Unlike may contemporary romances, the lowvers do on live ‘happily ever after’ at the age of 20 or 30, at which pint the book ends. Lawrence’s book describes two characters experiencing love and life in all its variety - family, friends, lovers; joys, sorrows and losses - well into their sixties, creating a much richer perspective.
Lucy R. Sprague Fredericksen, The Hamilton-Wenham Chronicle.
From Amazon Readers:
A wonderful travel through time and love By S. MacDonald on May 18, 2013
My highest praise for a book is that I don't want it to end, and I found myself reluctant to finish Islands of Time for that very reason. I looked forward to the end of the day as I crawled into bed with this book to see what was going to happen. A page turner doesn't quite do it justice; I thought of it more as a gift to myself each night as I traveled through time and joined the characters and the island and the emotions that were so well painted that I felt immersed in the story, not just an observer. The author has an incredible way of connecting to that first love memory in each of us, and then expanding that emotion through decades. The island life and class system was an electric undercurrent that brought an added dimension to the story. I gave this book to my 17 year old daughter to read and she loved it too. I am now sharing it with my book group for our next read, and I hope that people discover this treasure and then pass it on as a gift to others. I'm eagerly looking forward to the next book from Barbara Kent Lawrence!
A gentle and nostalgic read, a perfect title By FH on August 5, 2013
Islands of Time flows perfectly between past and present, between adolescent yearning and adult experience, between class distinctions of the 1950's and our blessedly more open-minded era. Older readers will resonate with it and younger readers will learn from it. Take it at a leisurely and reflective pace. All the characters grow on you, and they themselves grow in interesting ways. Lovers of Maine will love this book, and so will summer lovers.
A Solid New Novel By C C-T on May 28, 2013
"Islands of Time" is a compelling book.It is not a page-turner, but it focuses your attention, and draws you in.If you slow down, and dig deep, you will find things. It especially rings true if you are a contemporary of the author, and have some familiarity with the social milieu the author so meticulously describes.It's one of the best novels-new or old-I've read in a long time.
By Donna W. Michaud on August 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Amazon Verified Purchase
This is a lovely book...captivating from the very beginning. Being a Maine girl myself, it was easy to visualize Becky's world and become lost in the story. Truly a book worth reading!
By Howard on September 12, 2013
I have been meaning to review this wonderful book for weeks but have not been able to find the words. Words have been my business for almost 40 years and I would bet I have read this novel more times than anyone but the author. Disclosure: I was the first editor. Editing books can be both a puzzle and chore. Working on this book was sometimes a puzzle but never a chore. This book engaged me from the first and has not yet let me go. Becky and Ben and the rest of the cast of characters live in me, and always will. Part of the reason is that "Islands of Time" is not just a compelling story with wonderfully described scenery and finely observed class distinctions not to mention romance and sex. It is more than that. It is an authentic narrative of personal growth and redemption and hope. Not hope and redemption from external agencies or the hand of God, but hope created by hard internal work and painful insights. It reminds me of a line from a Kunitz poem: The heart breaks and breaks and lives by breaking. The point of that line, taken out of context from a wonderful poem, is the word "lives." Becky lives with her heart breaking from the moment she decides not to be numb anymore, as we all must. Lots of lessons for living honestly in our own "murderous time" in this book. I highly recommend it.
Young Love that Haunts Itself Real
By PMG on September 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I read Islands of Time some time ago, and find that it haunts me in a way that compelled me to come back here to post a review. I was drawn to the novel for its premise of a love story between mature characters. While much of the "romance" is accomplished via flashback to youth, the devotion continues into the characters' adulthood, even while other life journeys have intervened. It brings one back to that first love, and the great "what if?" Well, here's one answer to "what if?" I found that the characters and their stories stayed with me in the months since I first encountered them, and I might have to go back for another look.
The picturesque setting in Maine, the interplay between the locals and the summer residents, the life of a fisherman, the life of a girl who never grabbed for the brass ring - it all comes together in a pleasing, nostalgic tale. Will there be a sequel?
A book to spend time with...
By Anthony Grimshaw on September 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Amazon Verified Purchase
Reviewed by Grace Belfiore, wife of account owner AG. This is a lovely novel about loss and strong connection, self-imposed isolation and love. Barbara Kent Lawrence has captured the complex social and cultural world that both bound together and separated Downeast locals and "summer folk" in Maine through generations. I visited some summmering friends enough to know that Lawrence's sensibilities on this are spot-on. Worth reading for this, but ultimately the novel's fascination stems from the inner journey that Becky, the main character, makes through a lifetime of choices made and losses navigated. I will admit that the plot eventually moved in a direction I expected to be unhappy with - only to find that I was, after all, surprisingly content. This is a tribute to Lawrence's writing, and the level of engagement she builds with the characters, especially Becky. A book to spend time with...