Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Book Review - Island in the Sea by Anita Hughes

Amazon UK
Title: Island in the Sea: A Majorca love story
Author: Anita Hughes
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: St Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: 12th April 2016
Rating:  3 Stars

Juliet Lyman is a senior executive at Yesterday Records. Music is her passion and she's very good at her job. That's why her famously philanthropic boss Gideon sends her to Majorca, Spain to work with a very tortured, but talented client. Lionel Harding is one of the best song writers of the 20th century, the multi-Grammy award-winning lyricist of the third most recorded song in history. But now he's 42 and six months overdue on the his latest paid assignment. Juliet is not leaving Majorca without either new lyrics or a very large check.

To Juliet, business comes first. Emotions are secondary, and love isn't even on the menu. But to Lionel, love is everything, and he blames Gideon for his broken heart. He's determined to show Juliet that nothing is more important than love, but Juliet is just as determined to get Lionel to create the music that made him famous. If she can sign up local talent, even better. Her new friend Gabriella has a voice like an angel, but she's not interested in fame. Her grandmother, Lydia, wants the world for Gabriella, and she wants Juliet's help to give it to her.

As her professional and personal lives start to mix for the first time, Juliet is forced to reevaluate her priorities. Gideon hasn't been totally honest, and love may be the only thing that gives them all what they need.

I had been really looking forward to returning to Majorca a country where I lived for 2 summers, in the pages of this book, but unfortunately Island in the Sea didn't really live up to my expectations. Please don't get me wrong I liked the book, thought it was a good story, but just lacked the spark in all directions to make me really want to rave about it. 

I love the island of Majorca but with the exception of the specific town names and the mention of the Tramuntana Mountains, I didn't get a proper feel that the book was set there, and could have arguably been on any Spanish island. Well until one place Juliet visited right near the end which did resonate with me, but by then my overall impression had already been formed. 

There was definitely a sense of Spain in the story, and loved all the descriptions of meals that the characters ate, in the small tavernas and restaurants. Part of the book was also set in Los Angeles but again I didn't really get a proper sense of the place, which is disappointing. 

When a country is named in the subtitle of a book, I would have hoped to have felt transported there, and Anita Hughes just didn't achieve that for me with this story. 

There are three main love stories being told in Island in the Sea. There is the one Juliet is having with someone she meets on the island. There is songwriter Lionel's first love being recounted in segments to Juliet, and also Gabriella's with her love of her life. 

All the love stories were lovely, but at no point during the book did I feel a proper connection to any character. I liked reading about them all, and could imagine all the scenes in my mind, but found I didn't really care about them as well rounded people, or if any of them would get a happy ending or not. 

Island in the Sea was easy enough to read, a pleasant way to spend some time, and as a story I did like it, but felt that it could have been so much more improved that it was. I have a couple of other books to read by Anita Hughes, and I'm still wanting to read them, to get a more rounded view of what to expect from the author. 

Thank you to St Martin's Griffin and Netgalley for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 


  1. Ah, we have this on our TBR list, specifically for locale... !

  2. Oddly enough it was the locale that most drew me to the book. Its an enjoyable story, but a few weeks after writing that review I still think it could predominantly be any Spanish location.


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