Blog Tour/Book Review: Island on Fire by Sophie Schiller

Island on Fire_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

I’m delighted to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for Island on Fire by Sophie Schiller, set in the Caribbean island of Martinique.  Having been lucky enough to visit Martinique, albeit only for a day as a port of call on a Caribbean cruise, I simply couldn’t resist the invitation from Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours to read and review the book.  You can find my review below.

On the tour page, you can check out the other great book bloggers taking part in the tour with links to their reviews of Island on Fire.  For example, Stacie at Pursuing Stacie described it as ‘an enjoyable, fast-paced historical fiction’, praising the author’s ‘impeccable research’.  Ashley at Oh, October described the book as ‘unique, well researched historical fiction’ and Briennai at Bri’s Book Nook loved the beautiful setting.

WinIf those comments have piqued your interest and you’re a US resident then, good news, as there’s a giveaway with a chance for one lucky person to win their very own copy of Island on Fire. Enter via the Gleam form at the bottom of the tour page.  Don’t hang about though as entries close on 14th August 2018.

Island on FireAbout the Book

In the lush, tropical world of Martinique where slavery is a distant memory and voodoo holds sway, Emilie Dujon discovers that her fiancé, a rich sugar planter, has been unfaithful. Desperate to leave him, she elicits the aid of a voodoo witch doctor and is lured into a shadowy world of black magic and extortion. When the volcano known as Mount Pelée begins to rumble and spew ash, she joins a scientific committee sent to investigate the crater. During the journey she meets Lt. Denis Rémy, an army officer with a mysterious past.

At the summit, the explorers discover that a second crater has formed and the volcano appears to be on the verge of eruption. But when they try to warn the governor, he orders them to bury the evidence for fear of upsetting the upcoming election. As the pressure builds, a deadly mudslide inundates Emilie’s plantation and she disappears. With ash and cinders raining down, chaos ensues. Left with no choice, Lt. Rémy deserts his post and sets off on a desperate quest to rescue Emilie. But with all roads blocked, can they escape the doomed city of St. Pierre before it’s too late?

Format: ebook, paperback (270 pp.)    Publisher:
Published: 15th March 2018          Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

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My Review

In Island on Fire the author creates a picture of a society where, much like the volcano, a lot is going on underneath the surface, whether that is commercial and political machinations or continued belief in voodoo practices in an age of modern science and rationality.

Despite evidence to the contrary, those in authority choose to believe that there is no threat from the volcano, having more regard to the consequences of panic by the population than the possible risk to life and property. This will prove to have disastrous consequences.

The book’s heroine, Emilie, whilst in all other respects an intelligent, independent-minded young woman, reflects the dichotomy in Martinique society. As a result she acts in a way that seems out of character but which reflects the desperation she feels at the situation in which she finds herself.

Whilst the book description reveals much of the story (a little too much to my mind), the author creates a credible sense of melodrama as events unfold in dramatic fashion.

I really enjoyed the evocative portrayal of the island’s lush landscape, vegetation and wildlife. ‘Everywhere he looked, the island was teeming with life. Mango trees, sprawling bougainvillea, flaming flamboyant, majestic palm trees, and endless plantations dotting the hillsides like a parchwork quilt of sumptuous beauty.’ Plus, as regular followers of this blog will know, I can’t resist delicious descriptions of food and there are plenty of the local cuisine in the book.

Island on Fire reveals a fascinating aspect of the history of Martinique that was new to me as well as being an entertaining, if slightly melodramatic, story of betrayal, honour and love

I received a review copy courtesy of the author and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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In three words: Romance, melodrama, adventure

Try something similar…Fireburn by Apple Gidley

Sophie SchillerAbout the Author

Sophie Schiller was born in Paterson, NJ and grew up in the West Indies. She loves stories that carry the reader back in time to exotic and far-flung locations. Kirkus Reviews called her “an accomplished thriller and historical adventure writer”. Her latest novel is Island on Fire, a thriller about the worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century. She was educated at American University, Washington, DC and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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