cover image Alice’s Island

Alice’s Island

Daniel Sánchez Arévalo, trans. from the Spanish by the author. Atria, $26 (400p) ISBN 978-1-5011-7195-6

Spanish author Arévalo makes his English-language debut with this moving, fairy-dusted novel. Elementary school teacher Alice Williams is devastated when her young husband, Chris, dies from a brain aneurysm while driving back from a business trip, but she can’t help but wonder what Chris was doing 40 miles east of their Providence, R.I., home instead of west, where he would have been if he were really returning from New Haven, Conn., as he’d told her. In many mysteries, the heroine’s subsequent sleuthing would lead somewhere dark and dangerous. But Alice’s quest eventually brings her and her two daughters—precocious six-year-old Olivia and infant Ruby—to Robin Island, a whimsical invention off Cape Cod, where she becomes involved in a string of increasingly madcap covert ops to find out what her husband was doing on the island and with whom. As the widow gradually inches closer to Chris’s secrets, she starts to realize the new neighbors she’s been spying on have become friends—and that her true discovery is the road to the rest of her life. Like its endearingly quirky protagonist, readers won’t want to leave Robin Island. (Apr.)