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Island Time


Island Time

Georgia Clark, author of THE BUCKET LIST and IT HAD TO BE YOU, takes her signature talent for exploring love, relationship dynamics and personal growth to the Australian island of Mun’dai in ISLAND TIME, a moonlit romantic comedy perfect for readers of Emily Henry, Casey McQuiston and Christina Lauren.

Situated 63 miles off the coast of Queensland, Mun’dai is not only remote but mostly untouched by humans and their often destructive tourism. This traditional land of the Butchulla people is home to and frequented by mainly Indigenous folks, but allows limited groups of tourists to visit in an effort to boost and maintain the island and its economy. With its gorgeous array of flora and fauna, sun-kissed beaches and watercolor sunsets, Mun’dai is the perfect place for newlyweds Matty Kelly and Parker Lee to spend some quality time together before embarking on the path to parenthood. And who better to accompany them than both sets of their parents, Matty’s matrimony-obsessed sister, Amelia, and her boyfriend?

"ISLAND TIME is yet another heartfelt and love-filled contribution from Georgia Clark, an author who can make any love story, no matter how small or fleeting, a showstopper."

On the first night of their trip, the Kellys and Lees are awakened and effectively traumatized by a volcano eruption and subsequent tsunami that not only destroys and sweeps away most of their belongings, but forces all seven of them into one home, with only two island employees to keep them occupied from one another (and intoxicated, as necessary). Now the fun-loving, loud and often crass Australian Kellys must share close quarters with the buttoned-up, classy Lees. Clark writes through each character’s point of view to expose not only their innermost worries and desires, but how their time in paradise (or hell, I’ll let you be the judge) forces them out of their comfort zones and shapes them.

On the Kelly side, we have matriarch Jules and her husband, Glen, who have separated recently and are headed for a divorce. Jules is tired of her decidedly “oatmeal” sexless marriage, and although Glen is shocked by the turn his life has taken, he lacks the emotional vocabulary to confide in his wife about what he really wants. With Matty recently moved back to Australia and well on the way to giving them grandchildren, Jules is adamant that their children do not need to know what is going on with them. The truth can wait until after Matty becomes pregnant and Amelia gets engaged (which she claims is happening any day now; after all, her boyfriend said she’d be the "perfect wife").

Meanwhile, Matty, long eager to become a parent, is struggling with the knowledge of what she’ll have to give up to be a mother. Amelia, who always sees the good in people, is obsessed to the point of delusion with her smarmy boyfriend, but she cannot help but feel an innate attraction to Liss, the island’s caretaker.

On the Lee side, we meet ambitious Ludmila and fitness-obsessed Randall. The couple still enjoys a satisfying marriage, but they struggle to come around to the Kellys, and their open disappointment in Parker’s partnership with Matty (her personality, not her gender, thank goodness!) exposes some of the rifts in their own relationship. At the same time, while Parker has been raised to be independent and resourceful, this logical approach to life does not always lend itself to warmth or approachability, despite how much her marriage with Matty has opened her up and softened her.

With both families trapped on the island for six weeks, Clark highlights stories of queer romance, the ebbs and flows of long-term relationships, the power of emotional intelligence, and, of course, love in its myriad shapes and forms. While she essentially has written her narrative into a “locked room” of a remote island, the limited (but no less beautifully and vividly described) setting allows her room to really dig deep into her characters’ psyches and push them into transcendent moments of growth.

Often in these sorts of emotion-driven stories, there is the sense that the author is pushing her characters forward to shock, upend or traumatize them. However, Clark’s handling is deft, her mastery nearly invisible. She is more interested in emotional growth than action, but the plot is no less propulsive or fast-paced. What I love most is that she never approaches a dynamic (be it millennial queers or disillusioned boomers) without compassion and empathy, which allows her to unpack even the most insignificant of moments --- the grazing of a hand, the nuance of a text --- to its full potential.

ISLAND TIME is yet another heartfelt and love-filled contribution from Georgia Clark, an author who can make any love story, no matter how small or fleeting, a showstopper.

Reviewed by Rebecca Munro on June 17, 2022

Island Time
by Georgia Clark

  • Publication Date: June 14, 2022
  • Genres: Comedy, Fiction, Humor, Romance
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
  • ISBN-10: 1668001241
  • ISBN-13: 9781668001240