Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Island of Doves” as Want to Read:
The Island of Doves
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Island of Doves

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  273 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
Vivid and enthralling, Island of the Doves tells the story of a courageous woman who is desperate for freedom and of those who will risk everything to help her…

Susannah Fraser lives in one of Buffalo’s finest mansions, but her monstrous husband makes the home a terrible prison. When a local nun offers to help her escape, Susannah boards a steamship headed for Mackinac Isl
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Berkley
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Island of Doves, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Island of Doves

Community Reviews

(showing 1-48)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edelweiss
Original review found at

I received a copy of this ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

This was a haunting story of two women who are trying to cope with the cards dealt to them. One trying to find a new life and one who did not know she was in need of healing and how when brought together they teach each other how to heal.

Susannah's journey was particularly interesting as you see how she learns to grow and find independen
Deanne Patterson
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Susannah has no one except her abusive husband to care for her. She is rescued by a nun and a priest and sets sail for Mackinac Island. Once there she is taken in by Magdelaine Fonteneau a woman who has suffered great tragedy in her life. Their friendship brings healing to them both and changes both women in unexpected ways. The setting of the story and the description of the island and it's people make for a fascinating read that I hope you will enjoy as well.
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I don't usually read historic novels but I am so glad I picked up this one. Set in the 1820's, you get a unique history of Mackinac Island. You also get a view of spousal abuse where there were no laws to protect the victims and the husband's word was not questioned. Suzanne is abused and thinks he will eventually kill her when a nun and a priest give her the opportunity to escape Buffalo, New York and hide. She starts a new life on this remote frontier where the fur traders, loggers and trading ...more
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was a quick easy read. It moved along pretty good and kept my interest. Personally the best part of the book was the setting of Mackinac Island in Michigan. Being from MI I've spent plenty of time there and found the descriptions of the island very accurate. It's not changed a great deal from when this book was set in the mid 1800's. Still today there are no motorized vehicles allowed on the island for most of the year. There is a fire truck, ambulance, and a police car and in the wint ...more
Susan Beuerlein
Nov 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
McNees transports readers to early 19th-century America, a time of immense change for men and women. Susannah Fraser is the wife of a wealthy Buffalo, New York, businessman, but her home is a prison as Edward becomes increasingly abusive. With the help of a mysterious nun, Susannah undertakes a journey fraught with danger to Mackinac Island, a wilderness outpost that is home to a thriving fur trade.

The power of The Island of Doves lies not just in its snapshots of time and place, but in the char
Ellen Brown
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be thought-provoking and beautifully written. McNees is a wonderful writer with an appreciation for historical detail that I really enjoy.
The Island of Doves suffers heavily from predictability. While one should never trivialize spousal abuse or a woman’s flight from an abusive husband, it appears as if all such stories follow certain patterns. The wife fakes her own death and flees, with or without the help of others. The husband cannot believe his wife would leave him until one simple mistake confirms his suspicions. Just when the wife begins to feel herself safe, there is one final confrontation between husband and wife except ...more
Janette Mcmahon
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Powerful historical fiction dealing spousal abuse. McNees uses beautiful descriptions of Upper Michigan in the early 1800s as the setting for Island of the Doves, perfect for the harsh reality of some women's lives. Would recommend to historical fiction readers as well as those of women's fiction. Arc copy review.
Lori Spielman
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Another beautiful novel by Kelly O'Connor McNees. Well-defined characters, interesting setting, gripping plot, and a fascinating glimpse of American life in the early 1800's.
Jul 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Nice light read. Fun because it is set on Mackinaw Island.
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book and couldn't put it down! Growing up in Michigan, like the author, I loved to visit Mackinac Island. This story takes place in the 1830's. It's a story about a Odawa Indian woman who lives on the island, provides shelter and a new identity for abused women. A rich woman from Buffalo escapes her abusive husband and travels on a ship all the way to the island with the help of many people. Her new name is "Miss Dove." Will her husband try to find her or believe she is d ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Magdelaine thought about how there were so many things in this life that humans could not accept, but how the earth accepted everything, every husk of a beetle, every spent blossom, ever dead man and woman, with complete indifference." I LOVED this book. There was so much to it, so many emotions. Beautifully written, it touched me deeply. Knowing betrayal and brutally firsthand I could relate with the character. Loving the beauty of the western great lakes and how it feels to plant seeds and th ...more
Judith Teggelaar
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Susannah flees from her home because of an abusive husband. With the help of a kind nun, she finds refuge on Mackinac Island at the home of Magdelaine who has helped other women in the same situation. The two become good friends and help each other with their pasts. Will this be a permanent home for Susannah and will she in time learn to love again?

This was an exceptionally good story and you will like the main characters.
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another great story by this author! Having just gotten back from a third trip to Mackinac, I especially enjoyed reading about the early days on the island. I liked the characters, the plot and the ending.
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked the book. Interesting read all the way through. Not a dramatic page turner that will keep you up all night, but captivating enough that I looked forward to picking the book up when I had a few minutes to read. My first book by this author. I will read others.
Margaret Bell
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
I thought this book was too predictable and was a little disappointing. Just ok. More like 2.5
Shelly Zamora
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lisa Feustel
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very good book! A little wanting in the way the author ended her book though
Aug 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Nice easy read despite the serious topic of abuse. Trigger would be domestic violence. Author has talent and I hope she will keep improving. The ending wasn't as satisfying as I would like.
Viviane Crystal
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Susannah Frazer has no one but Edward, her husband. He’s a strict man, refusing to allow her friends or acquaintances. The only comfort she finds is working in her greenhouse, a warm, fragrant place where she can bury her hands in pots of rich earth and assist in allowing numerous flowers and plants to grow in beauty and fragrance beyond one’s imagination. Nurturing plants is salvation for Susannah against her physically abusive husband, that is until one night when he goes too far.
Susannah’s es
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kim

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kim

the-island-of-doves-kelly-o-connor-mcneesThe reason I gave this 5 stars because it was well written and the complexity of the story with so many lives and people and emotions involved. This may be a work of fiction but there are so many truths in most every line of this story that I could actually feel the pain and the losses these people felt.

This kinda hit home for me being raised in an abusive environment and I am sure
Apr 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
THE ISLAND OF DOVES has already received praise from author Kristina Riggle who states it was "unforgettable" and author Susan Gregg Gilmore states, "It was simply gorgeous." I will have to agree with them and include words like captivating and impassioned.

THE ISLAND OF DOVES shares the story of two women in the early 1800's. Magdelaine Fonteneau defies all ideas of what a woman should be by doing the job of a fur trader after her husband died much too soon. After suffering the loss of her husb
Jan 14, 2004 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, arc
McNees places the reader on the isolated, tucked away Mackinac Island, Michigan. The small island and its inhabitants, harsh weather conditions create a stark and quaint location. Accessible by water transport only, inaccessible during the winter season realizing this is the epitome of remoteness.

McNees scores high with a narrative addressing domestic abuse and the lack of rights for women during the 1800's. Pointing out the fact women had very little means to escape violence, with the communit
Apr 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is an inspiring story about the rebirth of two damaged women that begins in 1835.

Susannah Fraser, 23, is a woman living in wealthy circumstances in Buffalo, New York with a cruel husband who beats her. After the fingers in her hand are broken, a nun in the area, Sister Mary Genevieve, offers to help her escape. The sister knows of a refuge on Mackinac Island in the Michigan Territory, and arranges for Susannah to sneak out and be transported there.

Once in Mackinac, Susannah, going by the
My Book Addiction and More MBA
THE ISLAND OF DOVES by Kelly O'Connor McNees is an interesting Inspirational Historical Fiction/Romance set in 1816-1835 Buffalo and Mackinac Island. Follow these extraordinary women,Susannah,Magdelaine, Therese, Esmee, Josette, and Noelle, on a journey of faith, healing, forgiveness,grief and love.

Susannah Fraser, is a courageous woman desperate for freedom from her abusive husband, Edward.

THE ISLAND OF DOVES is the tale of extraordinary women with secrets, seeking redemption, healing, freedom,
Apr 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wow... “The Island of Doves” may hold the record for the fastest read for me, about 24 hours! I really enjoyed it.

Author Kelly O’Connor McNees certainly knows how to place readers in the time and setting of her story and make them feel a part of the characters’ lives. Two of the characters are based on 1800s historical figures. One was Magdelaine LaFramboise, who, like the fictional Magdelaine, took over her husband’s fur-trading business after his death and became very successful. The second wa
When the warm spring air cracked the ice on Lake Huron, a sleepy fog began to curl across the water.

Susannah is a young wife, terrified by her husband's violent mood swings. A local nun helps her escape to the remote Mackinac Island. Magdelaine has lost her husband, and both of her sisters to violence. She sees giving Susannah a home as a way of atoning for her regrets. Both women will grow and begin to make peace with the past over a year spent on the wild island.

Though this book is quite pre
Nancy Reynolds
Jul 09, 2015 rated it liked it
I really wish I could say I liked this book more. There are some positive sides to it - but, overall, I was left really frustrated at the end of the book. I love Mack Island and was thrilled to see that this book took place there. I liked the history shared about Mack Island; I liked the message that Magdelaine tried to impart to the girls she taught, that women (everyone) is worthy of a great life. I liked the idea that Susannah escaped from her brute of a husband. But the ending ... well, I wo ...more
Kristin (Kritters Ramblings)
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings

Susannah left her parents to cling to her husband and a sudden death of both of her parents and a husband who isn't living up to the marriage vows plunge her into a place that she doesn't find the hope. A woman in 1835 doesn't have many options and through an interesting avenue is able to find a way out of her situation, but will her past come and get her. . .

Without this book set in 1835, the women's issues would be different, so the time was vital
Linda Smatzny
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of Susannah Fraser, an abused wife, who escapes to Mackinac Island in the Michigan territory in 1835. Susannah is the wife of a wealthy man in Buffalo who beats her. The beatings continue until Susannah in fear of her life runs to a small Catholic church where the nun helps her. Her journey takes her by boat to Mackinac Island which is a very rural island that is just being discovered for its natural beauty. On the island she is helped by Magdelaine Fonteneau who in turn is hel ...more
Janet Noonan
Nov 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Was a little let down by portrayal of catholic priest and the catholic faith . It was mentioned often enough but it wasn't embraced by the characters . It almost felt like the author was more concerned about accuracy in describing the fur trade and island details than in presenting a sincere view of the catholic faith. I also felt like the last confrontation with Edward and Susannah was not in keeping with the theme of Susannah's redemption . The transformation in all the main characters was too ...more
Dec 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Set in the 1830s, this book is about Magdelaine Fonteneau, an aging métis woman on Mackinac who holds the world - even her son, at bay. The loss of her husband, and sisters have made her fear holding anyone close, for fear of losing them. At the same time, Susannah Fraser lives a miserable life at the mercy of her brutal husband. A nun brings the two together when Susannah flees her husband and hides with Magdelaine. A solid piece of historical fiction, made more interesting for its setting on M ...more
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book's setting was historic Mackinac Island with characters based on real people. I liked the story about the Island and the setting, the short season of summer and the life on the Island along with the story of Suannah's escape from a terrible marriage. There was a sense of history in the telling of this story in the stories of the French and the Odawa Indians and how life was on the island before the tourists began arriving.
Jul 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
I bought this book from the Island Bookstore on Mackinac Island since the book itself is set on Mackinac. As a visitor to the island each year it was fun to read about Mackinac in the 1800's. The alternating points-of-view quickly warmed my heart to the main characters, and it was fun reading about these two strong women.
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Had to skim through book as plot and writing were not compelling or successful. It seemed to be a beefed-up pamphlet on wife abuse and emotional denial involving a large number of characters that were not fully developed rather than a novel.
Oct 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved how O'Connor dealt with the deep needs of women who had been hurt by violent men, yet still showed that there are men who can be kind, understanding and a blessing. Beautifully tough story of hope and healing!
Sep 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm really looking forward to the book club discussion on this one. The vivid descriptions of the book locale really brought it to life for me. All of the characters and their interactions were so well written.
May 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
2.5 stars: good, clear writing, but the plot constructs are predictable, and the end is unsatisfying. The symbolism is also rather heavy-handed.
Apr 07, 2014 rated it liked it
While the story was well written, it was too predictable; the bow was put just a bit too neatly on this story.
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Nina by: Online reviewers
I enjoyed this book very much. I don't have too much to say other than it has a very happy ending w/a few surprises thrown at you.
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Island of Doves is the story of two women, both with secrets, who live on Mackinac Island, Michigan, in the 1830s. As in her two previous books, McNees has a flair for historical detail. She really gives the reader of sense of what life was like on Mackinac at that time, when it seemed like it was far away from civilization. She is also a wonderfully descriptive writer; she describes two police officers as "two men in blue coats, one fat, one thin, like twins who had not divided evenly in th ...more
Lynnette Pierce
May 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Well written. Interesting characters. But, too predictable.
Heather Stevens
Apr 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Good story, parts of it were predictable, but still good.
Jan 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Extraordinary historical fiction.
Peggy Eckhold
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Interesting read about Mackinaw Island.
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
interesting story revolving around an escapee from spousal abuse and her remade life in the 1800s
Diana Green
Aug 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
This was a nice heartfelt story. I especially enjoyed the setting and historical detail. The ending came off too quick and easy, the final conflict being too neatly resolved without believable struggle. But the writing was smooth and clear, the characters likable, and the message worthwhile. I will definitely try another book by this author.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Dec 17, 2014 07:26AM  
  • London Belles (Article Row, #1)
  • The Rebel Pirate (Renegades of the Revolution)
  • The Major's Daughter
  • Rancher at Risk
  • Seven Locks
  • Ishtar's Redemption: Trial by Fire (Deliverance Trilogy #2)
  • Clearwater
  • Daughter of Jerusalem
  • Benedict Hall
  • City of God: A Novel of Passion and Wonder in Old New York (Old New York, #3)
  • Swimming in the Moon
  • The Secret Sense of Wildflower
  • Redemption (Ladies of Larkspur #3)
  • Laceys of Liverpool
  • The Lion and the Rose (The Borgias, #2)
  • A Home at Trail's End (Homeward on the Oregon Trail, #3)
  • The Memory of Lost Senses
  • This Side of Glory (Plantation Trilogy, #3)
Kelly O’Connor McNees grew up in Lansing, Michigan, and holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Michigan and a master’s in English education from DePaul University. A former seventh-grade teacher and editorial assistant, Kelly runs a busy editorial business called Word Bird Editorial Services, through which she helps authors of all stripes improve their craft and pre ...more
More about Kelly O'Connor McNees

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Darkness There: Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe [Kindle in Motion]
    $1.99 $0.99
  • An Empty Cup
    $3.99 $1.99
  • I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Abby's Journey
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Underground River
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Word Game
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Fraulein M.
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Sister of Mine
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Bury What We Cannot Take
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Chomp
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Searching for Grace Kelly
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Bricking It
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre (Great Episodes)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Starfish
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Thunder and Rain
    $9.99 $2.99
  • All Grown Up
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Light of Hidden Flowers
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Olive's Ocean
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Ecstasy
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Elephant Keeper's Daughter
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Virtues of Oxygen
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Home to Harmony (Harmony #1)
    $11.14 $1.99
  • Dog Crazy
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Towers of Tuscany
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Who We Were Before
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Reluctant Midwife (Hope River, #2)
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Sin No More (Reverend Curtis Black)
    $10.39 $1.99
  • The List
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Lost & Found
    $5.74 $1.99
  • A Watershed Year
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Savage
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Designer
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Novice: A Story of True Love
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Go Away Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Leaving of Things
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Train I Ride
    $6.99 $1.99
  • We'll Always Have Paris: Stories
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Hidden Flower
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Greyhound
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances
    $9.99 $1.99
  • This Burns My Heart
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Journeys of Socrates
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Annie on My Mind
    $9.99 $1.20
  • An Absent Mind
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Book of Ruth
    $18.99 $1.99
  • Smoke
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Covenant
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Digging In
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Confessions of Catherine de Medici
    $11.99 $12.99
  • The Traveling Vampire Show
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Long Way Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Going Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Girl in the Glass
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Super Sad True Love Story
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Prayers and Lies
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Go the F**k to Sleep
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Fat Chance
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Just a Couple of Days
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Boleyn Inheritance (The Tudor Court, #3)
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Daughter of Union County
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Fighting Ground
    $6.49 $1.99
  • The Sugar Men
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Last Storyteller: A Novel Of Ireland
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Vengeance Road
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Every Note Played
    $11.99 $3.99
  • Asymmetry
    $13.99 $3.99
  • The Rules of Magic
    $11.99 $4.99
  • Mrs. Fletcher
    $12.99 $3.99
  • The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go
    $11.99 $3.99
  • Ungifted
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Julie of the Wolves
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Mrs. Saint and the Defectives
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Stiltsville: A Novel
    $10.99 $1.99
  • To the Bright Edge of the World
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Patriots
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Flicker of Old Dreams
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All the Good Parts
    $3.99 $1.99
  • At Risk
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Food of Love
    $3.99 $1.99
  • So Long, See You Tomorrow
    $11.99 $2.99
  • A Scattered Life
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Every Ugly Word
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Desert God (Ancient Egypt, #5)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy (Bloody Jack, #1)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (Malayan #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • An Amish Buggy Ride
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Old Yeller
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Secret Healer (The Secret Healer #1)
    $3.49 $0.99
  • Elizabeth Street
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Gates of Rome (Emperor, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane
    $4.99 $1.99
  • It Is Well
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Sinful Calling (Reverend Curtis Black #13)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • On a Cold Dark Sea
    $4.99 $1.99
  • My Lady Viper (Tales from the Tudor Court #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Kings of Broken Things
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Edward Adrift
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Restaurant Critic's Wife
    $3.99 $1.99