Silver, Josie. One Night on the Island. Ballantine, 2022. ISBN 978-1984820631 368 pp. $17
No one does longing like Josie Silver. Missing a deceased finance? Check. In love with someone you saw in passing who your BFF later dates (and marries?) Check. Silver is all about the slow build, the angst, and the thank god–a satisfying resolution. One Night on the Island is another novel that you’ll read with a lump in your throat, wondering will they or won’t they.
Londoner and dating columnist Cleo Wilder has been searching for her flamingo (they mate for life) for a long time, and writing about the journey instead of writing a novel. Inspired by Emma Watson’s committee to herself, decides to mark her thirtieth birthday with a matrimonial style ceremony to commit to herself; her buddy/boss is on board, provided she documents it, and sends off to a remote Irish island. When it turns out the only rental is double-booked to Boston photographer Mack Sullivan who is struggling through a now-over-a-year-long separation (uninitiated by him) from his wife, sparks–of anger!–fly: both and are convinced they have claim to Otter Lodge and since the boat only comes once a week (except for medical emergencies), they are stuck with one another and need to form a truce, fast.
Part of getting to know and trust one another is a conversation introduced by Cleo: they can each share three truths. Never has the “just one bed” trope been used so effectively. Cleo takes the lumpy couch, and they connect across the single room with warmth, humor, and honesty. Mack finds a million images to capture as he explores his and his family’s roots to the island, while Cleo finds warm and welcoming friendships. The whole island speculates about the true nature of their relationship, and Star Wars references abound.
The island, it’s beauty, and it’s inhabitants slowly grow on both Cleo and Mack. They become friends, confidantes, are (of course) attracted, and just as Cleo is ready to do her ceremony, decides that a micro-affair with Mack after which they will release one another, will be healing–and without heartbreak–for both of them. They say goodbye, but are unable to forget one another…
I received an advance reader’s review copy of #OneNightOnTheIsland through #NetGalley