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The Island of Doves

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  312 ratings  ·  64 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
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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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.
Andrea Selaty
Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Best fiction book I’ve read in awhile. I was completely captivated by the first chapter which never happens! The story held my attention from start to finish, a total page turner - the author painted a picture of the scenery and characters perfectly and the story was just wonderful. I wish there was a sequel, I came to love the characters so much.
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
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.
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
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
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.
Kathy Roling
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book with its description of Mackinac Island in the 1800's. This was a well written book about abuse, fear, greed, family and faith. Would be a good choice for book club discussion.
Robin Auten
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! I could not stop reading it.
Joan Horkey
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional! A story of two very different women who change each other's lives.
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
Jan 14, 2004 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, 2014
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 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
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 p
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Dec 17, 2014 07:26AM  

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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

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