Island In The Sea
by Anita Hughes
Juliet Lyman is a senior executive at Yesterday Records. Music is her passion and she’s very good at her job. That’s why her famously philanthropic boss Gideon sends her to Majorca, Spain to work with a very tortured, but talented client. Lionel Harding is one of the best song writers of the 20th century, the multi-Grammy award-winning lyricist of the third most recorded song in history. But now he’s 42 and six months overdue on the his latest paid assignment. Juliet is not leaving Majorca without either new lyrics or a very large check.
To Juliet, business comes first. Emotions are secondary, and love isn’t even on the menu. But to Lionel, love is everything, and he blames Gideon for his broken heart. He’s determined to show Juliet that nothing is more important than love, but Juliet is just as determined to get Lionel to create the music that made him famous. If she can sign up local talent, even better. Her new friend Gabriella has a voice like an angel, but she’s not interested in fame. Her grandmother, Lydia, wants the world for Gabriella, and she wants Juliet’s help to give it to her.
As her professional and personal lives start to mix for the first time, Juliet is forced to reevaluate her priorities. Gideon hasn’t been totally honest, and love may be the only thing that gives them all what they need.
Island in the Sea is Anita Hughes’ captivating sixth novel, filled with exotic descriptions of food, fashion, and romance.
“You’ve had eighteen months to complete twenty-four songs and you sent Gideon a haiku and a limerick.”
“That’s what’s wonderful about children; they can be mischievous and innocent at the same time. Yesterday I discovered Abigail wearing her mother’s Prada suit; she said she was tired of being eight and wanted to get an important job.”
“Being in love is like drinking absinthe, your mind clears and you think you can achieve anything. I remember my first proper date with Samantha, I felt like Clark Kent becoming Superman.”
“Do you know why people can tell you the name of the song they listened to when they fell in love? Because music is more seductive than girlie magazines and X-rated movies. Girls hear a song on a jukebox and think they’re in love with the boy with the bad haircut sitting opposite them. They get married and play ‘their song’ at the reception. It’s not until their first anniversary when the guy can’t get up to turn off the telly and the garbage never gets taken out she realized she was never in love, she just got swept away by George Michael crooning ‘Careless Whisper.’”
“How I miss the first bud of a romance, when you’re sure you are going to spend the rest of your life rappelling on the Amalfi coast or motoring through Provence. Then you realize hanging off a cliff is bad for your knees and the butter they use in French restaurants will give you heart disease.”
Island in the Sea is my initial read from this talented author, but I have since added her entire Goodreads listing to my TBR. I greedily want to consume ever word ever penned by this clever woman. It is an understatement to say that I am in total awe of her word craft. The story weaves back and forth over an eighteen-year period as a despondent and washed-up songwriter relates his history to the record company employee who was dispatched to prod him along. His story is rife with melancholia, yet swings back and forth through the emotional scale as he imparts his memories.
The writing is lushly detailed with beautifully chosen words that depict richly appointed scenes. I was right there. I could feel the Mediterranean sun on my face, hear the cathedral bells, smell the flowers, and taste the food. Her depictions of the characters, their dialogue, the scenery, and their elegant wardrobes; played like colorful and crisp movie scenes in my head. I felt as if I had experienced an expensive luxury vacation and had shopped in the boutiques, eaten at the iron tables under striped awnings in the little outdoor cafes, and walked the narrow cobblestone streets of the village. Ms. Hughes expertly pens an absorbing tale with fascinating characters, clever banter, and a sly and smart sense of humor. I could happily read her words all day, every day. Sigh.
Anita Hughes was born in Sydney, Australia. At the age of eight, she won first prize in a nationwide writing contest sponsored by THE AUSTRALIAN, Australia’s most prestigious newspaper. She graduated from Bard College with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Creative Writing, and attended UC Berkeley’s Masters in Creative Writing Program. She lives at The St. Regis Monarch Beach, where she is at work on her next novel. For more information please go to www.anitahughesbooks.com.