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Island Apart

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  434 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
From the celebrated author of Planet Barbecue and How to Grill comes a surprising story of love, loss, redemption, and really good food.

Claire Doheney, recovering from a serious illness, agrees to house-sit in an oceanfront mansion on Chappaquiddick island in Martha's Vineyard. The New York book editor hopes to find solace, strength, and sufficient calm to finish her biogr
ebook, 288 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Forge Books (first published June 1st 2012)
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Jun 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Island Apart
Steven Raichlen

My " in a nutshell" summary...

Claire goes to Martha's Vineyard to recover from a very serious illness...she meets the Chappaquiddick  hermit...entanglements ensue!

My thoughts after reading this book...

Heaven on earth...that describes this one.  Who knew the barbecue king...this author...had this kind of story telling in him?
I loved every single lovely sentence.  The island descriptions, daily life on the island, the food, the books, the pleas
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2012
4.5. This book is amazing! Let me just give you a little taste of what you're in for with this book:

"We're all wounded in some way," he said. "It's not what you have that makes you beautiful. It's what you've lost and still managed to go on living without."

How perfect is that quote? You may want to read it right now and that's okay. But there's more! This book really has a little bit of something for everyone. There's great characters (the two main characters, Claire and the Hermit, are heartbr
Jul 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
Island Apart is a love story, cookbook, history lesson, gazetteer, and visit to the psychologist all rolled together. Add a dash of the literary publishing world and read slowly. This isn't a fast-paced book, but I read it in an evening. All the bits of and pieces Raichlen throws in tend to slow down the narrative which follows Claire and the Hermit.

Claire's getting a divorce from a philandering professor. Her daughter's an angry young adult with hair issues. Her mother's an Irish Catholic from
May 29, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written; I think "poignant" is the word. My problem was, I will never be able to afford any of those wines, and will never have any (ANY!) of the foods the author goes on about, and I hate shellfish. A lot of local history about the vinyard and island (cheers for Raichlen for his pointed comments on the politics involved in Kennedy skating on the death of Mary Jo Kopechne). I felt all the extra stuff, as well done as it was, got in the way of the story and the character development. A very ...more
Bonnie Brody
May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book really surprised me. I found myself enjoying it a lot despite its being the type of book I don't usually read. It reads like a combination of the best of Nicholas Sparks, Jodi Picoult, Susan Shreve and Elizabeth Berg. it is a love story and a tragedy, a perfect beach or airplane read. It goes fast and catches the reader in its highly emotive telling.

The novel begins, "This is the story of a man who suffered great hurt and came to the island to find safety, seclusion and solace. It's al
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book so much more than I actually did. There are enough detailed reviews of the plot that I won't do it again here, I'll just summarize my main issues:

- The author really has an awkward narrative style. It jumps from essentially lecturing about historical facts to a paragraph about the book's protagonists, and back to history again. This could happen for half a dozen paragraphs -- back and forth, with seemingly no correlation between the two. Eventually it would become clea
Julie Barrett
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ISLAND APART by Steven Raichlen
ISBN: 9780765332387
Story of Ed and Claire. He lives on the island and everything he eats and uses is from the island. Nobody knows much about him as the tale goes on so he's known as the hermit.
Claire and her friend are summering at Sheilas house when Claire informs her that divorce from her husband and police charges against him make her not want to go back to NY. It's agreed she will stay on into the fall months to catch up on her reading for her publishing job
Book of Secrets
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ISLAND APART has been on my wish list since last year, and when I saw the audiobook at the library, I snatched it up. The cover screams “light beach read,” but I was thrilled to discover that it went much deeper. Colorful characters, a magnificent setting, and an unusual love story made this book a memorable read. Oh, and the food! I can’t forget the delectable descriptions of dishes that kept me drooling page after page.

Claire is a likable character and easy to sympathize with. She’s a smart, s
Virginia Campbell
Author Steven Raichlen offers a delicious slice of the pie that is Martha's Vineyard in "Island Apart". Both touching and tempting, with a poignant romance which celebrates the love of food and the fact that food is love, this book is a treat for the senses. Claire Doheney is a New York book editor whose life implodes with a series of devastating events--just as she learns she has breast cancer, her marriage ends through her husband's infidelity (which also cost him his career), and her relation ...more
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The break-up of her marriage and a diagnosis of breast cancer send Claire Doheney to Martha's Vineyard to try to figure out how to move on with her life. Her friends have left her alone in their house on Chappaquiddick Island at the end of the summer. She continues her editing work, a biography of an eccentric inventor which is being written by an eccentric writer, and wonders how to fix the broken relationship between herself and her only daughter. Though the tiny island is all but deserted, Cl ...more
This book resonated with me perhaps more than any other novel I have ever read. I'll still always have works like "Lord of the Rings" at the top of my favorites list, but LotR is more of a "I want to be there" and "this journey is important to me" kind of experience, "Island Apart" feels like the author got in to my head while he was writing and concocted a tale just for me. The setting, Martha's Vinyard, is an East Coast version of where I live in the Pacific Northwest. The male lead in the sto ...more
Jalynn Patterson
Wow, who knew that the author of the Barbeque Bible could write a novel. This is Steven Raichlen's first novel. And it was a page turner. I really enjoyed my advanced copy. A short summary of the book:
Claire Doheney,recovering from a serious illness, agrees to house-sit in an oceanfront mansion on Chappaquiddick Island, off Martha's Vineyard. The New York book editor hopes to find solace, strength, and sufficient calm to finish her biography of the iconoclastic psychotherapist, Wilhelm Reich.
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I probably would have enjoyed this book more if I'd read it at the beach.(what isn't more likeable at the beach?) Book mixes serious issues (protagonist is a cancer patient, mixed with sappy romance, book editing and detailed cooking experiences. The author manages to make a happy ending even after the narrator dies.
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book! The subtle, down to earth humor, the vivid imagery, and the wonderful descriptions of the food, the town, and the people made me feel like a fly on the wall watching the story unfold. I would like to see this made into a movie, although I think a lot of my favorite parts were feelings based on detailed descriptions, which might not translate well onto the big screen. Highly recommended!
It was a decent book overall, but it went in and out of time in the latter part of the book. It held my interest but I also found that I kept having to go back to earlier parts of the book to remember who the characters were. Quite a lot about cooking and wines, which was okay, but I didn't overly enjoy them. It was sad that Claire died of cancer at the end.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the food descriptions throughout the book. Made me want to learn more difficult recipes in the kitchen. Story was realistic, pulled in tough emotions, but good.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very unusual and well-written book. only fiction book he's ever done and I wish he would do more. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Margaret Marshall
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great reading with a wonderful storyline.

New York City book editor Claire Doheny's life is crumbling as she simultaneously tries to survive an ugly, embarrassing divorce and a battle with breast cancer. She retreats to Chappaquiddick Island in Martha's Vineyard to find solace in the barren landscape. There she meets The Hermit, another of life's survivors, but of a completely different kind of battle . . .

If you are willing to suspend disbelief (and at times you will really need to suspend disbelief), Island Apart is a delightful stor
Jun 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"No man is an island..."

The famous quote is a reminder of the connections between people, no matter what their circumstances, and no matter how much they may isolate themselves.

In "Island Apart," Claire, a book editor, stays in the cottage owned by her friends after her husband leaves her. She is already struggling with cancer treatment and needs the time away. Time to heal.

The island of Chappaquiddick seems like the perfect spot.

Meanwhile, a mysterious "hermit" moves around the perimeter of the
JoAnne Pulcino

By Steven Raichlen

ISLAND APART is a magical debut fiction novel about a magical place from the New York Times bestselling author and chef of books such as Planet Barbecue and How to Grill. Who knew a chef could write such a touching love story?

After a serious illness and a traumatic break up book editor, Clair Doheney agrees to house sit a friend’s oceanfront mansion on Chappaquiddick island in Martha’s Vineyard. She has an accident while riding her bicycle, and is rescued by the mys
Sep 22, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Food can be some pretty powerful stuff. We know it can help heal our bodies from injury and illness. Can it also heal relationships?

Claire Doheny is a New York book editor recovering from a serious illness. To help with her recovery, she agrees to house-sit a sprawling estate on Chappaquiddick Island, the famous vacation playground for the New England wealthy. Bustling during the months of July and August, the island is a sleepy fishing village the rest of the year.

Hoping to spend her time regai
May 13, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Goodreads Giveaway.

An interesting first novel from Steven Raichlen. Island Apart is the story of Cancer stricken Claire who moves to Martha's Vineyard to escape the rat race and have time to herself to try and recover from chemotherapy. She meets 'The Hermit' and a surprising friendship is formed. This quickly turns to romance. (And I mean quickly)

I enjoyed reading this novel, with a certainly interesting storyline. The way that the characters interacted was good. I was a little disappointed w
Sep 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great beach book. Part love story, part survivor story and just plain good. Claire, a breast cancer survivor recovers on Chappaquiddick Island on Martha's Vinyard where she strikes up an unusual friendship and layer romance with the local hermit. His story slowly unfolds over a series if delicious and sumptuous meals they cook for one another. All is wonderful until Claire accidentally stumbles on the Hermit's story. The narrative is wonderfully detailed and you get a real sense of life on tha ...more
Apr 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The food descriptions in this novel are lush and exciting, and I would love to eat each and every one of them! Even the doctored-up oat bran insisted upon by a food faddist sounds tasty.

The rest of the novel was not as good. The characters are flat at best, and the plot melodramatic and very coincidence-driven, rather than feeling like it emanates naturally from the characters in the set-up. I also very much dislike the trope where one of the people in a romantic relationship does all the changi
Actual Rating: ***1/2
With no disrespect to either author, Island Apart could easily have been mistaken for a Nicholas Sparks novel but with one major difference. Raichlen very skillfully weaves stories of the history and lore of Chappaquiddick Island (yes, that Chappaquiddick) in Martha's Vineyard along with absolutely mouth watering descriptions of food, both procuring and preparing, into this story of a survivor of life woman and a lost recluse of a man. This was an "it caught my eye" library
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK, this is the barbecue guy -- I think I own some of his licensed BBQ accessories. I saw the book in the library, and thought "it's like if Bobby Flay decided to write a novel." But it's kind of like chick lit. Imagine a male Elin Hilderbrand. Pretty photo on cover -- check. Massachusetts island -- check. Romance with its twists and turns -- check. So, the description of the meals the couple has in the book are amazing. The food porn is better than the sex they have. Anyway, not terrible, not t ...more
Jun 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-fiction
When I started this book that involved a woman recovering from cancer, a hermit with what was most likely a tragic past, and cooking, along with a bit history of Chappaquiddick and interesting tidbits about the life of Wilhelm Reich, I thought I had found a good read-a-like for Anne Rivers Siddons and Diane Chamberlain. But, alas, it was not to be. Even though I cared about the characters and what happened to them, about halfway through the book I got bogged down (probably because of the continu ...more
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food, science
I was quite disappointed in this book. Having read so many people raving about the combination of food and human interest on Chappaquiddick Island, it seemed like a sure winner.

Well, that is why they run horseraces. There is no such thing as a sure winner. Mr. Raichlen's fiction style is awkward, and his characters are undeveloped cardboard. He reserves his best prose for writing lyrically and incessantly about the food that the couple cooks.

To top it off, I didn't even get a good sense of the i
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got this book about three months ago..I read it after reading about the Wampanoag tribe on Martha's Vineyard. This book is well written and has all the mysteries of the Vineyard...along with the urban myth of " The Hermit". Anyone who has spent time on the Vineyard will really appreciate the story. The background of the Vineyard looms large in the story. I liked it because it was almost a continuation of the previous book I read which dealt with the Wampanoag 's. I really do recommend that you ...more
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