We all know that the San Juan Islands are truly a slice of heaven on earth – from the rolling grasses of American Camp to the rocky shores of Lime Kiln Point, and everywhere in between, this place inspires a feeling of connection with nature and certainly, of going back to a simpler time. Many authors seem to agree, as there are a surprising number of novels set in Friday Harbor or the San Juans, or written by islanders. Some of them focus on Friday Harbor as a central point to the story; others only mention it in passing as part of a larger setting. All are different, ranging from romance to murder mystery, and all offer a good read to anyone who would find San Juan Island interesting as the backdrop for a fictional story! Any of the books listed below would make great additions to your holiday shopping list, for yourself, your family or your island visitors! Check some of them out today. Many are available at Griffin Bay Bookstore in town, and all are available on Amazon.com, some even for your Kindle. The descriptions were taken directly from Amazon.com. I can’t wait to curl up in front of my wood stove with a few of these soon. Happy Holidays and happy reading!
Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor – Lisa Kleypas
This is the first of four novels in the “Friday Harbor series” by Lisa Kleypas, a New York Times best-selling romance author. This first one centers around a Christmas wish made by little Holly Nolan, who recently lost her mother, for a new mother. She won’t talk to anyone since her mother died, until she meets Maggie, a widow and toy store owner. The two develop a strong connection, as do Maggie and Holly’s uncle, Mark. Mark is a taken man, and Holly is still grieving the death of her husband. Despite these setbacks, their attraction is undeniable. The relationship between the three characters culminates on Christmas Eve.
Rainshadow Road – Lisa Kleypas
Lucy Marinn is a glass artist living in mystical, beautiful Friday Harbor, Washington. She is stunned and blindsided by the bitterest betrayal: her fiancé, Kevin, has left her for Lucy’s own sister. Lucy’s bitterness over being dumped is multiplied by the fact that she has constantly made the wrong choices in her romantic life. Facing the severe disapproval of Lucy’s parents, Kevin asks his friend Sam Nolan, a local vineyard owner on San Juan Island, to “romance” Lucy and hopefully loosen her up and get her over her anger. Complications ensue when Sam and Lucy begin to fall in love, Kevin has second thoughts, and Lucy discovers that the new relationship in her life began under false pretenses. Questions about love, loyalty, old patterns, mistakes, and new beginnings are explored as Lucy learns that some things in life—even after being broken—can be made into something new and beautiful.
Dream Lake – Lisa Kleypas
They say that opposites attract. But what happens when one of them has been devastated by betrayal and the other is so damaged and jaded that his heart is made of stone? In New York Times-bestselling author Lisa Kleypas’s Dream Lake, readers will enter the world of Friday Harbor, an enchanting town in the Pacific Northwest where things are not quite as they seem and where true love might just have a ghost of a chance. . . .Alex Nolan is about as bitter and cynical as they come. One of three Nolan brothers who call Friday Harbor home, he’s nothing like Sam or Mark. They actually believe in love; they think the risk of pain is worth the chance of happiness. But Alex battles his demons with the help of a whiskey bottle, and he lives in his own private hell. And then, a ghost shows up. Only Alex can see him. Has Alex finally crossed over the threshold to insanity? Zoë Hoffman is as gentle and romantic as they come. When she meets the startlingly gorgeous Alex Nolan, all her instincts tell her to run. Even Alex tells her to run. But something in him calls to Zoë, and she forces him to take a look at his life with a clear eye and to open his mind to the possibility that love isn’t for the foolish. The ghost has been existing in the half-light of this world for decades. He doesn’t know who he is, or why he is stuck in the Nolans’ Victorian house. All he knows is that he loved a girl once. And Alex and Zoë hold the key to unlocking a mystery that keeps him trapped here. Zoë and Alex are oil and water, fire and ice, sunshine and shadow. But sometimes it takes only a glimmer of light to chase away the dark, and sometimes love can reach beyond time, space, and reason to take hold of hearts that yearn for it. . . .
Crystal Cove – Lisa Kleypas
Justine Hoffman has made a comfortable life for herself on the island of Friday Harbor. She is the proprietor of a successful boutique hotel, and she has the safe, predictable life she has always wanted. Growing up with her flighty, nomadic mother, Marigold, has instilled in Justine a deep longing for stability. But in spite of everything she has achieved, there is still something missing – love. And after years of waiting and dreaming, she is willing to do whatever it takes to change her destiny. What Justine soon discovers is that someone cast a spell on her when she was born, with the result that she will never find her soul mate. Determined to change her fate, Justine finds a way to break the enchantment, never dreaming of the dangerous complications that will follow. And when Justine meets the mysterious Jason Black, she accidentally unleashes a storm of desire and danger that threaten everything she holds dear . . . because Jason has secrets of his own, and he wants more from her than fate will ever allow.
Callused Hands Hungry Heart – Jim Lawrence (Thirsty Goose Farm owner)
In the early 1970’s, Jim Lawrence unplugged from his well-fed, well-bred urban background, rejected the main staves of the American dream and wandered into the wilderness of adventure in search of a meaningful life. Callused Hands Hungry Heart is a journey across the working landscape of the country, from logging forests in the great Northwest, to commercial fishing and relentless hours in fish canneries; from life in a remote Aleutian island to hopping freights across the country. This book celebrates the romance, adventure, pitfalls and perseverance of a life on the bumpy road less traveled.
Once Upon An Island – David Conover
Once Upon An Island is the true story of a young couple that did buy their dream island! David and Jeanne Conover bought Wallace Island in the Canadian Gulf Islands in the 1940’s, with a dream of building a summer vacation resort. The book retells their adventures and misadventures, their comic failures and satisfying successes.
A Fine Mess of Things – L.A. Buday
It is 1985, and Laura Porento Bennett has left behind a husband and son, three younger sisters, her parents and a scatterbrained grandfather. Laura’s last wish was to have her Porento family all gather to watch a last will and testament on a videotape machine. However, while at the Bennetts’ Reef Net Inn on San Juan Island in Washington state, family members encounter a domino effect of terrifying mysteries, while their troubled inter-relationships are brought to a point of no return. Even the conditions surrounding Laura’s death become suspect. During this same weekend, Laura’s husband and son face off with their own set of demons, both above and below the unpredictable waters of Puget Sound. “Family is the glue that binds your book of life,” Laura’s father, Phil Porento, reminds everyone. But will all the members of the Porento and Bennett families survive the events that Laura has set in motion?
Lucky To Be Alive: A Love Story – Wendy E. Shephard
Inspired by true happenings, Lucky to Be Alive: A Love Story is a journey through the seasons of life as Lucky, a border collie, searches for a home on a Pacific Northwest island. His exuberant will to live, and a growing trust in his own power to turn his dreams into reality, become his best friends along the way.
Andrew Henry’s Meadow – Doris Burn
Andrew Henry has two younger brothers, who are always together, and two older sisters, who are always together. But Andrew Henry is in the middle–and he’s always with himself. He doesn’t mind this very much, because he’s an inventor. But when Andrew Henry’s family doesn’t appreciate him or his inventions, he decides it’s time to run away. Many children in the neighborhood feel the same way and follow him to his meadow, where he builds each of his friends a unique house of their very own. But in town the families miss their children and do everything they can to find them. And the kids realize that it feels a little lonely out in the meadow without their parents. Just as relevant today as it was in 1967, this is a heartwarming story about children who want to feel special and appreciated for who they are. With a new jacket and expanded trim size, Andrew Henry is ready to enchant the next generation of kids.
The Light on the Island – Helene Glidden
Readers can once again enjoy Helene Glidden’s classic, The Light on the Island, as this 50th Anniversary Edition retells the touching story of a young girl growing up on Patos Island in the San Juan Archipelago. Her parents raised thirteen children while her father served as the Patos Island lighthouse keeper from 1905 – 1913. Helene reminisces about the adventure and heartbreak experienced on a beautiful but remote island where smugglers, old timers, and “God” weave in and out of their lives.
Island Ebb & Flow – Francis K. Lovering
Island Ebb & Flow is a lively, honest account about pioneering on an island. For nearly 40 years, the author and her family homesteaded on Waldron Island, an island of approximately five square miles, in the San Juan Island chain of Washington State. Out of this experience comes a sense of the island’s spirit — the challenges, beauty, pain and pride involved in island living. Frances Lovering and the other intrepid inhabitants of their small community thrived on the fresh air and hard work. Their stories will thrill the hearts and tantalize the imagination of everyone who reads this stirring and evocative account.
The Accidental Hermit – Noel Murchie
An amusing account of a 50-something woman living alone for a year in a rural cabin on a Puget Sound island. During her adventure she finds out more than she bargained for about pesky raccoons, wacky plumbing, foot infections, capricious weather, the effects of loneliness…and knowing herself.
Rainshadow World: A Naturalist’s Year in the San Juan Islands – Susan Vernon
The San Juan Archipelago of Washington State is a wondrous place where the land meets the sea. In Rainshadow World, naturalist Susan Vernon explores the fascinating world of wildlife in one of the earth’s richest biological realms. From rocky shores and tall grass prairies, to forests draped with mosses and lichens and resonating to the drumbeat of pileated woodpeckers, she encounters the first wildflowers of spring, watches a bald eagle’s first flight, surveys rare island marble butterflies, and wonders at whales playing in the moonlight. Susan knows the secret places to explore and takes readers on a compelling journey through an island year.
Always Love A Villain on San Juan Island – Sandy Frances Duncan and George Szanto
In the fourth mystery in the Islands Investigations International series, Noel Franklin and Kyra Rachel are called to Moresby University on San Juan Island to investigate a case of possible plagiarism. As they look into the theft, the two get to know the small island’s university. They soon discover another, more menacing crime: the daughter of a professor engaged in highly sensitive research has been kidnapped. And her ransom is a piece of intellectual property far greater than any manuscript. While Noel and Kyra navigate the murky waters of university politics and come closer to discovering the origins of the crimes and their perpetrators, their lives are first threatened and then terrorized.