While in the middle of writing my own island novel, I was given the opportunity to review Island Charm by Audrey Wick and snapped up the free review copy lickety-splickety! Okay, so I just put in my request and waited for the day to read it to arrive. Would I like it? Would I love it? Did I find a new, must-read author?
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Take a Romantic Vacation to Key West in This Compelling Book
Okay, going to be honest here. Then again, when am I not? Still, here’s the deal. Island Charm has several things that shouldn’t work for it. Conflict–almost none. Expected romance “misunderstanding?” Yep. Predictable and yet… not. Instant attraction? Absolutely. It’s all here. The good, what should be the bad, and… oh so much more.
Here’s the deal. I should be writing that this book was a miss for me. Seriously, as I got through the first few pages, I thought, “Oh, no…”
But something interesting happened as I read. Audrey Wick drew me into island life the characters’ lives and even the side characters’ lives. I wanted to be sure Jack was taken care of. I wanted to be mad at Anna (of the palindrome) for not just going over and talking to Gunnar.
Oh and I totally expected to be complaining about the sensuality in the book.
And yet here I am oddly satisfied with a perfect read for a day at the beach (or by the kiddie pool on the patio surrounded by cornfields. I’m flexible). What threatens to be a fluffy read oddly has a few deep roots that holds it firmly in place and just allows things to sway where they should go. Kind of like a palm tree. Interesting.
Even the one hold-out complaint that I had fell flat at the end of the story.
You see… there’s basically nothing in the story that made me see it as Christian fiction. It’s clean (unless mention of wine offends you). It has less sexual and sensual content than some of my favorite Christian authors, even. I expected to argue that this book is actually clean and wholesome or sweet and clean romance.
But then the book finishes off with scripture and discussion questions that when you read them, you see a thread through the whole thing–a thread I hadn’t expected.
Bravo, Ms. Wick.
Would I have preferred to see it play out in the lives of the charcters? Sure. But what she did there was a lovely bridge between my favorite kind of Christian fiction and general market… a way to open a conversation about Jesus and His Word whenever the reader is ready for it. I have to give kudos for that. And yeah, I’m grateful for the free review copy I received. I’m even more grateful that I ended up really liking it.
Best part of the book for me is the personality of Gunnar. Something about him is just crazy endearing.
Recommended for lovers of contemporary romance, clean reads, and beach reads. If you’re looking for deep, spiritual nuggets… well, you might like it anyway.
Island Charm is on tour with Celebrate Lit
Book: Island Charm
Author: Audrey Wick
Genre: Christian Contemporary Beach Read
Release date: May 14, 2021
An imposter in paradise.
When Anna Worthington’s twin sister gets jilted by her fiancé, Anna steps in with a plan for a girls’ Key West getaway instead of a honeymoon trip. Yet when her twin has her own crisis of commitment and doesn’t board the plane, Anna finds herself on a romantic getaway that she’s forced to navigate alone.
A vacation romance with an expiration date.
Gunnar Lockhart, whose specialty is island tourism, is the perfect match for helping Anna complete her vacation bucket list, but time together forges a connection more personal than either anticipates. As they make island memories, Anna has to untangle her mixed emotions. Are her feelings toward Gunnar real? Or like her sister’s wedding day, has this connection been doomed from the start.
About the Author
Audrey Wick is a full-time English professor at Blinn College and author of women’s fiction/romance. Her writing has also appeared in college textbooks, and she is a guest blog columnist with Writer’s Digest. Wick believes the secret to happiness includes lifelong learning and good stories. But travel and coffee help. She has journeyed to over twenty countries—and sipped coffee at every one. See photos on her website audreywick.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @WickWrites.
More from Audrey
“The Importance of Setting in Fiction Writing”
My favorite element in writing a novel is setting. Making places come alive through storytelling brings special joy, and I’m fortunate to be able to do that in the pages of Island Charm.
Island Charm is my first beach-read, a standalone contemporary novel set in Key West. Key West is a small island in the Florida Keys, an archipelago that stretches west from the southern peninsula of Florida. The Keys dangle into the Gulf of Mexico like a string of island pearls. Key West is the last on the strand.
I first experienced Key West in the summer, but years later, I traveled back in winter. Whether its July or January, Key West is beautiful anytime of year. What I like best about the island is its walkability. It’s roughly four miles long and one mile across, making it easy to explore on foot. The boardwalk, docks, piers, and public beaches means there is plenty to experience.
Fantastic views stretch in all directions.
Additionally, the island has an impressive literary history. Authors including Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Elizabeth Bishop, Shel Silverstein, Philip Burton, Judy Blume, and Meg Cabot have all called the island their home at one time or another. It’s easy to see why my heroine, Anna, is so taken with the scenery, just like these writers. I hope readers will be as well!
Follow Anna as she explores Key West in Island Charm. Thanks for traveling with me through the pages, and I hope readers enjoy their time on the island.
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To celebrate her tour, Audrey is giving away the grand prize package of a CD that includes a digital copy of Island Charm as well as multiple full-length novels also published by Pelican Book Group!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.