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Once Upon an Island

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  105 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Once Upon An Island is the true story of a young couple who 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.
Paperback, 207 pages
Published November 1st 2003 by San Juan Publishing (first published 1969)
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  105 ratings  ·  21 reviews

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Jun 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
When we come home from a trip to Canada I never want it to be over. So I always try to buy a book written about the locality. This is one of the best.

It is about a couple who bought their dream island on the east coast of Vancouver Island. It all began in 1946 when they decided to sell, pack up and drive 1,200 miles from Los Angeles to British Columbia. All the ins and outs of this decision are gone into in detail. Had I been the woman it would never have happened. The story of their life and su
Kathy Davie
Nov 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homey
This story I never get tired of. I've been reading and rereading it since it first came out. Robinson Crusoe for the 20th century.
Jan 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating autobiography by the famous photographer David Conover who discovered Marilyn Monroe when she was still working at an airplane factory in the mid forties.
Shortly after his wife and Conover bought Wallace Island in the San Juan Islands close to Vancouver Island and turned into a resort.

They escaped every day life and the regular 9 to 5 office jobs, but had to work a lot harder and longer every day in order to make a living.

So everybody who dreams of escaping life's demands and stress
Jennifer Morefield
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I think this is a great story about a young, married couple who lived their dream when they risked everything and purchased an island. Their difficulties were great and I didn't know if they would make it or not. There were times when everything went well and other times when nothing went right. They made in through the first yr. by the skin of their teeth and turned one yr. into twenty making the island a simple vacation resort. Just a very interesting story.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love reading stories about places I have traveled to and this is my favorite true story about an island paradise that I love and visit as often as I can. My only wish is that more of the buildings featured in the story had been preserved so that others can almost re-live the wonderful experiences described in the book.
Jaynie Zakibe
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
I actually only read the reader's digest condensed version of this book, but it was really good, especially as a glance into another time. If I didn't have a million books on my "to-read" list already, I'd put this one on there too.
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such a great book!
Jul 19, 2016 rated it liked it
When I read this as a kid in one of my grandmother's Readers Digest Condensed Books, I never thought I'd live so close to the San Juans / BC gulf islands; in fact, i probably couldn't have told you where the book's events took place. I only remember being fascinated by the young couple's story. I picked this up off the library free table, and it was a joy to reread as an adult. I've always been drawn to tales of survival and self-sufficiency--Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Cay, Z for Zachariah ...more
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
An easy, compelling, and very enjoyable read. The force of will it took Dave and Jeanne to accomplish all of the work described is deeply impressive, and the reward for that work is told beautifully and simply. What stands out is the honesty of this story, as Dave details each of their struggles, especially through the winter when even their marriage was at stake. Dave's deep love for Jeanne is also quite clear and moving, and the way they undertake this adventure together and complement one ano ...more
Stephanie A.
Aug 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
The sections about fighting the sea in the little boat were tedious and mundane, but once they got to the island I really liked reading about the tenacious amateurs (and later, their fearless kitty) carving a homestead out of near total wilderness. Particularly from the comfort of my snug bed in a house with electricity and city water. I also got a chuckle out of the fact that even in 1946, people were longing to escape the "hectic" consumerist nature of modern life and get back to basics.
Jul 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
What a delightful story about a young couple from LA who buy a small island in BC, with dreams of running a resort. The account focuses on their perilous first year, when they go out on a limb, financially, and try to live off the land with pocket change for resources and library books for guidance. The story includes both the beauty and danger of island life.
Feb 05, 2016 rated it liked it
A couple with a fresh vision for life goes to find a new life on an island, with little help from outside if any, and have to find their own strength and their own resources, refreshing their inner lives in the process. Refreshing read for the reader too.
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this while on vacation in the San Juan islands, highly recommend reading it there! :) I really enjoyed this book, though got frustrated with the husband...a little bull headed for my taste; but really enjoyed the story and am looking forward to finding out more about this true life couple.
Dav Id
Aug 12, 2010 added it
Young couple dream that did come true. What hard work bring and love between two people.View Davey Conover facebook
Lee Yahnker
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Interesting story of a young couple who purchase an island in the 1930's and their struggle to create a vacation resort. Nicely written for a quick read.
Dec 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Sweet and amusing at times. Good, gentle read.
Mar 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2012
Shoshanna Zesati
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
cute quick read
Jan 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star
In the 1940's a young Los Angelos couple escape the rat race to beautiful British Columbia where they buy Wallace Island, just off Saltspring Island and build their home and a summer resort.
Apr 13, 2013 rated it liked it
A dream takes hard work and determination!
Kalen Lees
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book.. it was especially exciting to learn in the first chapter that the story took place about an hour from my home.
Nancy Branagh
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May 26, 2020
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Oct 30, 2013
Darrell Hart
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Jul 26, 2019
Tom Allan
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Mar 17, 2018
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