The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley
Berkley (May 25, 2021)
Sometimes all you need is one person to really see you.
Piper Parrish’s life on Frick Island—a tiny, remote town smack in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay—is nearly perfect. Well, aside from one pesky detail: Her darling husband, Tom, is dead. When Tom’s crab boat capsized and his body wasn’t recovered, Piper, rocked to the core, did a most peculiar thing: carried on as if her husband was not only still alive, but right there beside her, cooking him breakfast, walking him to the docks each morning, meeting him for their standard Friday night dinner date at the One-Eyed Crab. And what were the townspeople to do but go along with their beloved widowed Piper?
Anders Caldwell’s career is not going well. A young ambitious journalist, he’d rather hoped he’d be a national award-winning podcaster by now, rather than writing fluff pieces for a small town newspaper. But when he gets an assignment to travel to the remote Frick Island and cover their boring annual Cake Walk fundraiser, he stumbles upon a much more fascinating tale: an entire town pretending to see and interact with a man who does not actually exist. Determined it’s the career-making story he’s been needing for his podcast, Anders returns to the island to begin covert research and spend more time with the enigmatic Piper—but he has no idea out of all the lives he’s about to upend, it’s his that will change the most.
USA Today bestselling author Colleen Oakley delivers an unforgettable love story about an eccentric community, a grieving widow, and an outsider who slowly learns that sometimes faith is more important than the facts.
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Piper Parrish is a woman thinking her dead husband is alive. The small town pretends along with her. She lives on a very small and unique island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. Anders is a reporter/podcaster who comes to the island on an assignment. He finds the lifestyle very peculiar as well as Piper behavior regarding her deceased husband. He decides to make Piper’s story a part of his podcast and returns each weekend and discovers many buried secrets as well as tries to comprehend the lifestyle of the people on this unique island.
I found this story charming and quirky. The characters are unique as is the tiny island they live on. They live simply, do not take to change, and do not necessary like outsiders except for the tourist who visit and then leave. What stood out was the wonderful bond of the community and the protectiveness of each other.
I really enjoyed it because it is based loosely on Smith Island which I have visited (in 2019) and many of my thoughts of the island are portrayed on the pages. I took a ferry for a day trip. I’m not sure what one would do for a longer stay. We rented a golf cart to explore the island which did not take long at all. There’s one restaurant, a church, a museum, a general store, and I’m not sure what else. Most of the houses & buildings are battered and in rough shape. You do not see many cars on the island at all.
Overall, a satisfying read.
NOTE: Frick Island is based on an actual island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay called Smith Island. Most people know of Smith Island by the cake – Smith Island Cake which is 8-10 thin layers tall, each one spread with frosting, traditionally chocolate. It is Maryland’s official dessert. I’ve attached some pictures from my visit to Smith Island in 2019.
Reviewed by Comfy Chair Books/Lisa Reigel (January 28, 2022)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A former magazine editor for Marie Claire and Women’s Health & Fitness, Colleen’s articles and essays have been featured in The New York Times, Ladies’ Home Journal, Women’s Health, Redbook, Parade, Woman’s Day, Fitness, Health, Marie Claire and Martha Stewart Weddings. A proud graduate of the University of Georgia’s school of journalism, Colleen currently lives in Atlanta with her husband, four kids, four chickens, and a terrier mutt named Baxter.
SMITH ISLAND, MARYLAND
Below are a few pictures I took in May 2019 of Smith Island which Frick Island is based on.
I wished I had taken more of the island itself.