The best novels set on atmospheric fictional islands

Kerry Anne King Author Of Improbably Yours
By Kerry Anne King

Who am I?

I grew up in the interior of British Columbia, hours from the water, but my father loved the ocean. Every summer we’d take a vacation on the coast and sometimes we’d take the ferry to Vancouver Island. Oh, how I loved those ferry rides! The wind, the smell of the sea, the waves, the smaller islands we passed. When the idea came to me to set Improbably Yours on my very own fictional island, I was over the moon! My resident Viking and I took a research trip to the San Juans to help me in my creation of Vinland, and I was utterly charmed and delighted by island life.

I wrote...

Improbably Yours

By Kerry Anne King,

Book cover of Improbably Yours

What is my book about?

An unusual inheritance leads to a life-changing journey in a novel of romance, secrets, and the treasure of found family.

Blythe Harmon is on the fast track to a life she never wanted. On her thirtieth birthday, just as she’s about to lock herself into a high-powered job and accept a marriage proposal to match, an unusual bequest from her beloved late grandmother, Nomi, offers an escape and an invitation to adventure on Vinland Island—a place Blythe never even knew existed. She sets out on the treasure hunt of a lifetime where she discovers, clue by clue, that the treasure she is really seeking is not something that can be buried in the ground.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Keepers of Metsan Valo

Why did I love this book?

I adore the wild, untamed island where this novel is set and the way the spirits of earth and water and forest make themselves known in eerie ways. Plus there’s the mysterious old house, Metsan Valo, the enigmatic caretaker, and his wife and the questions raised as to who (or what!) exactly they were. I’m also a total sucker for stories about characters who are faced with the challenge of accepting gifts and powers they didn’t know they had and aren’t sure they want to wield, so I was rooting for Anni. Plus there’s mystery and family drama and a touch of basically everything I love in a book is represented here.

By Wendy Webb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Keepers of Metsan Valo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The spirits of Nordic folklore come calling in this entrancing tale of family secrets and ancient mysteries by the #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author of The Haunting of Brynn Wilder.

In Metsan Valo, her family home on Lake Superior, Anni Halla's beloved grandmother has died. Among her fond memories, what Anni remembers most vividly is her grandmother's eerie yet enchanting storytelling. By firelight she spun tall tales of spirits in the nearby forest and waters who could heal-or harm-on a whim. But of course those were only stories...

The reading of the will now occasions a family reunion. Anni and…

The Family Plot

By Megan Collins,

Book cover of The Family Plot

Why did I love this book?

This book—set again on a remote island in an eerie old family home (are you seeing a trend here?)absolutely immersed me in delightful creepiness. Family has been called home for their father’s funeralonly to discover that the grave is already occupied. I was already totally in at the premise, but then the author added in a group of damaged siblings raised by parents obsessed with true crime, mystery, psychological drama, and some absolutely gorgeous and lyrical writing, and I’m head over heels in love. I practically inhaled this one.

By Megan Collins,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Family Plot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Exceedingly entertaining." -The New York Times
"Umbrella Academy meets Tana French. Dark, claustrophobic, and beautifully written." -Andrea Bartz, author of We Were Never Here

From the author of The Winter Sister and Behind the Red Door, a family obsessed with true crime gathers to bury their patriarch-only to find another body already in his grave.

At twenty-six, Dahlia Lighthouse is haunted by her upbringing. Raised in a secluded island mansion deep in the woods and kept isolated by her true crime-obsessed parents, she is unable to move beyond the disappearance of her twin brother, Andy, when they were sixteen.


The Scent Keeper

By Erica Bauermeister,

Book cover of The Scent Keeper

Why did I love this book?

This is such a gorgeous and immersive book. Emmeline’s love for both her father and the remote island they live on called up for me my adoration of my own father and the farm of my childhood. But what’s particularly glorious about this book is the way the author explores the way fragrance has the power to call up memories—and turns it into magic. The Scent Keeper has all the other essential elements of books that I love as well—beautiful writing, a touch of romance, flawed characters growing into themselves and a deeper understanding of the world, and, of course, a good mystery to solve.

By Erica Bauermeister,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Scent Keeper as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Emmeline lives an enchanted childhood on a remote island with her father, who teaches her about the natural world through her senses. What he won't explain are the mysterious scents stored in the drawers that line the walls of their cabin, or the origin of the machine that creates them. As Emmeline grows, however, so too does her curiosity, until one day the unforeseen happens, and Emmeline is vaulted out into the real world - a place of love, betrayal, ambition, and revenge. To understand her past, Emmeline must unlock the clues to her identity, a quest that challenges the…

Book cover of The House in the Cerulean Sea

Why did I love this book?

This is an utterly magical book, and not just because it’s a fantasy. In addition to the fabulous world building and the engrossing plot, it’s a beautiful and thoughtful exploration of human nature and personal growth and is incredibly and gloriously hopeful about the people we could all become. I read it on the recommendation of my agent, Deidre Knight, who said something like, “I think it’s done so well because at its heart it’s a book about kindness.” And it is! It’s also about the transformative power of believing in people, of giving the best of yourself and expecting the same from others, of forgiveness, and of courage. It’s also funny and wise and quirky and utterly enthrallingand has a mystery that needs to be solved!

By TJ Klune,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The House in the Cerulean Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he's given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not…

Summer at Hideaway Key

By Barbara Davis,

Book cover of Summer at Hideaway Key

Why did I love this book?

Something was wrong. Bad wrong.” The book begins with a prologue that sets up the plight of two small girls, abandoned by their mother, and it immediately tugged at my heartstrings. I’m not always a dual timeline fan, but I love the way Davis weaves two stories together into this novel, that of present-day Lily, who has just inherited a beach house on Hideaway Key from her recently deceased father, and the tragic history of her aunt Lily Mae, told through a series of journal entries. I love (of course!) the mystery element in this book.

Due to a rift between her mother and her aunt, Lily knows absolutely nothing about her aunt Lily May. When she finds Lily May’s journal in the beach house she begins to uncover the long-kept secrets between her aunt, her mother, and her father—a tale of star-crossed lovers, sibling rivalry, and the heroic sacrifices of a loving heart. Meanwhile, as Lily begins to understand the past, she begins to open up to change in her own life. I loved that even though this book broke my heart in places, it also re-affirmed that there are good people in the world, and it left me smiling at the end.

By Barbara Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Summer at Hideaway Key as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of The Wishing Tide comes a stunning new novel about two summers, one journal, and the secrets that can break and open our hearts....
Pragmatic, independent Lily St. Claire has never been a beachgoer. But when her late father leaves her a small house on Hideaway Key—one neither her mother nor she knew he owned—she’s determined to visit the sleepy spit of land along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Expecting a quaint cottage, Lily instead finds a bungalow with peeling shutters and mountains of memorabilia. She also catches a glimpse of the architect who lives down the beach….

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