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Island Legacy

Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

“Innisfree binds us.” A new generation attempts to define where home is. When Lydia Hammond encourages her grieving granddaughter, Elizabeth Innocenti, to spend the summer at Innisfree, the family’s compound on Chappaquiddick Island, Elizabeth undertakes the journey from her home in Italy with her fourteen-year-old son, hoping to heal from the devastating loss of her husband after a long illness. Innisfree holds cherished memories of an idyllic childhood for Elizabeth. But when she arrives, she finds the place abandoned, derelict and as needy as she is. A reluctant steward, Elizabeth undertakes the task of making the cottage habitable until a hurricane forces her to take shelter with the Monroes, the Wampanoag family who once owned Innisfree. The fraught and tangled history between her grandmother and the Monroes pulls Elizabeth into a passionate search for Innisfree’s meaning for both families. At the same time, her challenging relationship with Caleb Monroe, the grandson of Mae and Tobias, forces her to confront her perception of who she is and what she wants. The final book in the award-winning First Light series.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 9.00 out of 10


Plot: This quietly moving novel explores the power of family bonds, nostalgic memories, and the wounds of trauma.  

Prose: Cardillo's prose is clean and eloquent. Poetic reminiscence  centers on life changing moments and intricate family histories, with wise and memorable reflections from the novel’s central matriarch and patriarch.

Originality: Underlying Cardillo’s focus on particular family histories, is a more universal exploration of how genealogy defines individuality, as well as the potential healing powers of home. While the story’s themes are archetypal, Cardillo’s approach is emotional and engrossing.

Character Development: Cardillo’s cast of strong central characters drive the novel forward; the author describes their individual struggles and collective pasts with astute awareness.

Blurb: Cardillo’s poignant novel is a winding, intriguing story of relatable suffering—the sorrow of losing loved ones, traversing long distances to visit those dear to us, and the pain (and growth) that arises through profound life changes.

Date Submitted: April 28, 2018