The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley
Colleen Oakley’s latest novel, titled The Invisible Husband of Frick Island, tells the story of Piper Parrish, a young woman living on a small island off the coast of Maryland. Piper’s life is turned upside down when her husband, Tom, is lost at sea and presumed dead. However, Piper refuses to accept this and instead believes that Tom is still alive, somewhere out there in the vast expanse of the ocean.
As Piper navigates the difficult grief of losing her husband, she decides to create a make-believe world where Tom is still alive and present on the island. She goes to great lengths to maintain the illusion, crafting elaborate conversations with Tom and even setting a place for him at the dinner table every night. Despite the oddness of this behavior, the residents of Frick Island accept Piper’s quirkiness and even come to rely on it in their own ways.
But when a journalist named Brody arrives on Frick Island to interview Piper about her unique situation, things start to unravel. Piper’s make-believe world is exposed, and she is forced to confront the reality of Tom’s death.
Themes and Ideas
The Invisible Husband of Frick Island deals with themes of love, loss, and the power of imagination. Oakley does an excellent job of exploring the grief that Piper experiences after losing her husband, and how that grief manifests itself in unusual and sometimes unsettling ways. The book also examines the importance of community and human connection, as the residents of Frick Island come together to support Piper through her difficult times.
Furthermore, Oakley offers an interesting commentary on the idea of truth and perception. Piper’s make-believe world is of course not based in reality, but it is real to her in the sense that it helps her to cope with her husband’s absence. The other islanders also perceive Piper’s behavior as strange, but they ultimately value her presence in their community for the comfort and joy it brings them.
Writing Style and Execution
The writing style in The Invisible Husband of Frick Island is engaging and easy to follow. Oakley does a great job of capturing the small-town feel of Frick Island and its quirky residents. The dialogue between characters is natural and believable, and the pacing is just right, with enough suspense to keep the reader hooked but also plenty of quiet moments of introspection and character development.
Additionally, Oakley’s use of the first-person narrative from Piper’s perspective is effective in drawing the reader into her world and empathizing with her struggles. There are also intermittent chapters from Tom’s perspective, which adds some depth to his character and provides some insight into his relationship with Piper.
Strengths and Weaknesses
One of the biggest strengths of The Invisible Husband of Frick Island is its unique premise. The idea of a woman on a small island believing that her husband is still alive despite all evidence to the contrary is intriguing and provides a lot of opportunity for character development and exploration of themes. Oakley’s execution of this premise is well done, and she expertly balances the book’s serious themes with moments of humor and lightness.
However, one possible weakness of the book is that it does have a somewhat predictable ending. While the journey of getting there is enjoyable, readers who are looking for a big twist or surprise might be disappointed. Additionally, some readers might find some of Piper’s behavior a bit over-the-top or unrealistic, although this is subjective and largely depends on the individual reader’s interpretation.
Comparison to Other Works in the Genre
The Invisible Husband of Frick Island stands out in the romance/drama genre for its originality and fresh perspective. While there are certainly other books that deal with the subject of grief and loss, few delve into it in quite the same way that Oakley does in this book. Furthermore, the setting of a small island and the supporting cast of eccentric characters give the book a unique flavor that sets it apart from others in the genre.
Overall Impressions and Recommendation
The Invisible Husband of Frick Island is a charming and touching novel that fans of romance and drama will surely enjoy. The book is well-written and engaging, with memorable characters and thought-provoking themes. While it may not be for everyone, those who are willing to suspend their disbelief and go along for the ride will be rewarded with a rich and rewarding reading experience.
What inspired Colleen Oakley to write The Invisible Husband of Frick Island?
According to interviews with the author, she was inspired by the idea of a woman who refuses to believe that her husband is dead, even when everyone else around her has given up hope. Oakley was intrigued by the idea of a character who invents a make-believe world to cope with her grief, and wanted to explore how that coping mechanism might impact the people around her.
How does The Invisible Husband of Frick Island compare to Colleen Oakley’s other works?
The Invisible Husband of Frick Island is similar to Oakley’s other works in that it deals with themes of love and loss, but it stands out in its use of a unique premise and setting. Furthermore, unlike some of her other books which feature multiple points of view or more complex plotlines, The Invisible Husband of Frick Island is a relatively straightforward and character-driven story.
Is The Invisible Husband of Frick Island appropriate for all ages?
The book deals with some heavy themes, including death and grief, so it may not be suitable for very young or sensitive readers. However, there is no explicit content, violence, or language, so it is generally considered to be appropriate for a wide audience.