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.

The books I picked & why

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The Keepers of Metsan Valo

By Wendy Webb,

Book cover of The Keepers of Metsan Valo

Why 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.

The Family Plot

By Megan Collins,

Book cover of The Family Plot

Why 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.

The Scent Keeper

By Erica Bauermeister,

Book cover of The Scent Keeper

Why 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.

The House in the Cerulean Sea

By TJ Klune,

Book cover of The House in the Cerulean Sea

Why 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!

Summer at Hideaway Key

By Barbara Davis,

Book cover of Summer at Hideaway Key

Why 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.

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