Review: Islands by Peggy Frew

Islands is a story of a family that is fragmented and in distress. Weaving between time and eras and characters it tells the story of how fifteen year old Anna disappears one night, never to be seen again, the mystery of her disappearance never to be resolved. How did it happen? Why? These are the questions that each character asks as they blame themselves and each other for the loss of Anna. After all, things have never been quite right for the family. According to John's mother, he and Helen were never a perfect match. John could never properly get over the fact that Helen cheated on him and left. Their daughter, June, considers Helen to be selfish, holding her mother totally responsible for her parent's divorce and for Anna's disappearance. And Helen ... well, Helen just wants to be loved. 

This is a novel that I found to be sad, well written and testimony to the fact that there is always more than one side to a story or situation. Readers focused looking for answers about what happened to Anna will be disappointed--that's not the point of this story, which focuses on the loss, loneliness and the lack of communication experienced by each of the characters. Everyone has a different experience and response to what happened and, perhaps, the most heartbreaking story of all is Helen's. Although the character is irresponsible and far from perfect, it is clear that she loves others more than what she is loved. 

I enjoyed reading Islands and it has left me keen to read more from Australian author Peggy Frew.

Highly recommended.


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