Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Yet I was intrigued by the cover art of San Miguel. The haunting, slightly out-of-focus image of a lone woman in an old-fashioned dress, her head turned away, searching for her purpose.
Two stories take place in this book, one in 1888, the other in 1930.
In 1888- Marantha joins her husband, along with their adopted teenage daughter, on San Miguel to be sheep owners. She gives her last $10,000 from the estate of her first husband to help in this adventure. The weather hampers her fragile health and ability to survive on the island. She wants her daughter Edith to grow up a proper young woman not in the island wilds. Marantha demands of Will, her second husband, that they go back to San Francisco. There they stay until Marantha dies. Against her will, Edith is taken back to the island to cook for the men. She never gives up on her dream to leave.
Elise and Herbie come to the island as newlyweds. They are delighted in their options and dreams of their future as sheep owners, the King and Queen of their island kingdom.
Advances in technology and transportation help their life develop further on the island. It’s good and bad to have the outside world intrude upon their paradise. Herbie is haunted by his World War I memories as Elise tries to keep their family going through the Depression and the start of World War II. She feels the pressure as they make news as the “Swiss Family Lester” but for all that she does; Elise cannot help Herbie battle his ghosts.
Interesting island history at the end. I love the generational-type story telling. A worthwhile title to take with you to the beach this summer.