This is one of those atmospheric portraits of a place and its idiosyncrasies that wannabe travel buffs like me love to sigh over. It is, in fact, a love letter to a place that, given that this edition was published in 1976, probably doesn’t exist any more. But it the portrait is painted so lovingly and with such detail that, even though I live just 70 miles away from Anderson Island (as the crow flies) I became homesick for my own region.
The people, flora, fauna, history, boats, pets, and buildings of Anderson Island, from its settling to the author’s present day are poetically detailed. We get a strong image of the fog-shrouded little evergreen island with its rocky shores and oddball characters rowing about in the choppy sound or hacking their way through the dense underbrush of bramble, huckleberry, and swamp. It’s cold and it’s damp and it’s a little backward – and the locals aren’t thrilled about visitors – but it sure sounds scenic. And as someone who recently spent a day neck-deep in the huckleberry bushes of the Key Peninsula, just across Drayton Passage, only about a mile away from Anderson Island (as the rowboat plies), I can attest to the accuracy of her physical descriptions of the land.
Not a fast-paced book, but colorful and quietly engaging. A good book to tote on a vacation or to read over coffee or tea on a slow day. A book that has earned itself a permanent home on my bookshelf.