Once, Upon an Island by Laury A. Egan #BookReview #HeliotropeBooks #5*

A sixteen-year-old girl, Olivia, who feels guilty about her younger brother’s death.

Her mother, Evelyn, a glamorous artist. Travis, the charismatic owner of the Pink Fancy Hotel. A mysterious Czechoslovakian widow, Sofiya.

A sojourn on St. Croix, a tropical island. Two love affairs. Secrets. Nazis. Concentration camp. Conflict, jealousy, kindness, tenderness. A rescue and a resurrection.

All woven together in a haunting work of literary fiction set in 1966.

One to Relish – and Remember!

My second novel by this author, and another worthwhile read!

Accompanying her mother on a summer trip, sixteen year old Olivia is riddled with guilt from the death of her brother some years earlier. As they settle into their temporary home in the Pink Fancy Hotel, Olivia finds herself left to her own devices as her mother spends days on her art, and evenings in the company of the hotel owner, Travis. Olivia is not particularly close to her mother and misses her father. As time moves on, she makes the acquaintance of another resident, Sofia, and finds a friend and soulmate – much to her mother’s disapproval.

This is a novel which is bursting at the seams with emotions, memories, doubts and teenage angst. A beautifully written story on so many levels; mainly, the focus is on Olivia and the author really got under her skin – and mine. Despite her mother still treating her like a child, Olivia is becoming a young lady and misses nothing about her mother’s burgeoning relationship with Travis. There is a real holiday vibe with detailed descriptions of the many locations visited and I loved the confidences shared with her new friend Sofia. I’m not going to spoil things, but there are a few surprises along the way. Laury Egan writes with confidence and an enviable depth. One to relish and remember, and easily worth all five glowing stars.

My thanks to the author for my copy of her novel; this is – as always – my honest, original and unbiased review.

Tags: literary fiction

Author Details

Laury A. Egan is the author of two young adult/adult novels: The Outcast Oracle (listed as a Kirkus Reviews “Best Book of 2013”) and Turnabout; a literary work, The Swimmer; a literary suspense, Wave in D Minor; a comedy, Fabulous! An Opera BuffaFog and Other Stories; a psychological suspense, Jenny Kidd; and two mystery/romance titles: A Bittersweet Tale and The Ungodly Hour. Forthcoming in 2022: a suspense, Doublecrossed; a literary novel, Once, Upon an Island; and a romance, The Firefly. Her stories and poems have appeared in 40 literary journals and in several anthologies. Two full-length poetry volumes, Snow, Shadow, a Stranger and Beneath the Lion’s Paw, were issued by FootHills Publishing in limited edition, as were two chapbooks, Presence & Absence and The Sea & Beyond. Laury is also a fine arts photographer and a former book designer. She lives on the northern coast of New Jersey.


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