cover image Whiskey Island

Whiskey Island

Emilie Richards / Author Mira Books $6.5 (512p) ISBN 978-1-551

A multifaceted charmer, Richards's latest family saga (after Beautiful Lies)intertwines two dramas, separated by a century and linked together by the 1880s journal of Father Patrick McSweeney. The book opens in the year 2000 when the Donaghue sisters reunite at the family-owned Whiskey Island Saloon near Lake Erie. Each sister has problems: Megan is single-handedly running the saloon while waiting for their alcoholic father to find his way home after a mysterious disappearance; Casey has returned after a 10-year absence with somebody's frightened toddler in tow; and Peggy has dropped her plans to enter medical school for reasons she cannot share with her sisters. Spiraling back 120 years in time, the reader is then dropped into the world of Irish immigrants Lena and Terence Tierney. After an accident leaves Terence deformed and jobless, Lena secures a position in a wealthy man's kitchen--but soon learns her employer wants more from her than cooking. Lena turns to Father McSweeney for help, a move that sets into motion a series of events that seamlessly knits together the two stories and reveals a long-buried secret. Though the dialogue can be overly dense, Richards's characters evince impressive depth, and her blend of old and modern makes for a pleasant deviation from the standard historical novel. (June)